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engine warm up

toyoter1toyoter1 Posts: 1
edited March 2014 in Toyota
This is basically a general car maintenance question. I want to maximize the life of my 2001 corolla. When I start my car in the morning, what is the minimum idle time recommended to fully warm up the engine. Is it dependent on rpm or outside temperature or other factors?


  • That's a good question. My husband won't warm our car up. BUT i do,and when i start the car, it's rpm is at 1600 for a while, but when is the car ready to go? what RPM thanks.
    I want this Civic to last for over 150,000 miles.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    If you want to be totally cautious about it, you can wait until the temperature needle just starts to move; otherwise, it is probably prudent to wait 30 seconds and then drive conservatively until the temperature needle is in the normal operating range.
  • sgrd0qsgrd0q Posts: 398
    Waiting for the temperature needle to move may take unnecessarily long time. That is way too conservative IMO.

    I would wait 1 min. at the most no matter who cold it is outside. Typically I would wait 30 secs. Then drive conservatively until the temperature reaches normal operating range. That may be 2 - 5 miles for most cars.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 23,571
    ...when you start your car and let it warm up, it may take a long, long time for the temperature gauge to even register. Usually I just wait a few seconds and then take off and go gently on it until after a few minutes. The car's going to warm up quicker when you actually drive it too, as opposed to letting it sit and idle.
  • bburton1bburton1 Posts: 395
    The newer engines supposedly have superior oil systems but when it gets below 0, oil unless you use synthetic has the viscosity of molasses-really stiff. So when it is really cold, let my honda idle for a couple of minutes before driving. Also if you have a stick shift-do not lug or over rev the engine. When you really lug an engine, you are putting a lot of strain on the whole engine-ditto for high revs but I have heard some guys say that lugging is really bad. Only blew one engine and that was while lugging it.

    ALso I let my auto tranny fully engage before hitting the gas in really cold weather. Gives the ATF a chance to get where it wants to go and the clutches to fully engage.
  • brucer2brucer2 Posts: 157
    Most car makers do not suggest an extended warm up period. It takes takes much less time for the engine to warm up if it is being driven. My car idles at 1500-1600 RPM for 15 - 30 seconds and then drops to around 1000 RPM (750 RPM at normal operating temp). I wait for the engine to drop to 1000 RPM before putting the car in gear and driving off. This gives the oil pressure time to come up and flow through the engine, and puts less of a strain on the trans/drivetrain when first putting it into gear. Then drive it easy for the next 15 minutes (cold weather).
  • brorjacebrorjace Posts: 588
    Because my car sits outside and is often covered in frost, I feel compelled to let it idle a little longer than I'd like (30 seconds). I usually take a bag of stuff out to my car, start it, go in and get my cup of coffee off the counter, go back outside, quickly scrape the windows and THEN head down my driveway.

    So, the car warms up for about 2-4 minutes 5 months out of the year.

    In addition to the windows being scraped, the car still needs to be close to warmed up before I head out to keep my breath from freezing on the inside of the windshield.

    Visibility is very important and too often I've headed out quickly and was driving unsafely as I tried to navigate through teeny, tiny clear spots in the windshield.

    --- Bror Jace
  • gslevegsleve Posts: 183
    does it really matter due to the superior properties ie cold pumpability 10w-30 -60 below 0 would this not be sufficent to offset the need to warm up a car unduly ?
  • mrdetailermrdetailer Posts: 1,118
    I've been shot down on this issue before as being controversial, but my cars that are outside all of the time have engine block heaters. It costs about $100.00 to install. No rough running for the first few minutes. Starts just like a summers morning. Smooth and quiet. I often have REAL heat after starting the engines and scraping off the frost.

    One guy has it rigged to a timer so that it starts about 3 hours before he goes to work. I plug mine in late at night on the last trip outside with my German Shepherd.

    Truckdude1 If you want to maintain your Honda in peak condition I couldn't recommend a block heater more for temperatures below freezing.
  • mrdetailermrdetailer Posts: 1,118
    I would certainly recommend a full synthetic for engine protection and cold weather starts.

    The engine should be warmed up enough in those cold times to be driven down the street with enough heat in the engine to prevent frosting up the windshield again.
  • The 87 LeSabre is kept clean on the inside. I just put an inexpensive quartz heater in the drivers footwell, with the cord extending out the drivers door. It connects to a heavy gauge extension cord connected to a high amp rated timer.

    At about 5:00AM, the timer goes off and the heater turns on.

    The car is free of frost, and it is about 80+ inside.

    I start the engine and then open the gate, I play with the dog a bit too, until the engine slows.

    I then drive out and leave the gate open if my wife is leaving to take the kid to school or is off to work herself. If the gate is left open, the dog is returned to the inside of the house. Also, if it is really cold, the dog will not stay outside for long.

    I've been doing this for about 8 years now and have not burnt up a car yet. It can't be more dangerous running the heater in the car than it is on the floor of your home.

    Just keep that floorboard clear of paper and trash, and inspect the cord daily.

  • Remember it's not just the engine that needs to warm up, the automatic trans needs to warm up to.
  • jmsintxjmsintx Posts: 41
    That is a great idea, thanks.
  • daveqdaveq Posts: 20
    I have heard that it's best to drive away gently for the first 5 miles or so without much idling . However I live in a hilly area, and have to speed up to 45 mph right away due to traffic condition. Wondering if I should warm up my car for 3-4 minutes, or should I bring it up to 45mph quickly and then maintain constant speed for the next few miles? Thanks!
  • I agree with the frostplug heater guy-best thing u can do. I used to live in AK, and it was sin not to have a frostplug heater. Not just longevity, but just starting, period. I once read a really cold start is like 1-2K of wear on an engine. Not hard to believe when it shudders and shakes.
    For SB Chevy V8's, at least the old generation, letting it idle when cold actually trashes the cam, because the only oil the lobes get are slung off the crank. Taffy is unslingable at 800 RPM. I have seen this on teardowns of cold WX SBC's. Just keep RPM down until warm.
  • vwracervwracer Posts: 90
    It is my understanding that new fuel injected engines of today do not require a warm-up. It is critical that you don't over-rev the motor the first few minuets. Cold oil is thicker and harder to get into tight bearing clearances. I have seen race motors with high volume oil pumps produce enough oil pressure with cold oil to blow up a cheap oil filter.

    If its cold enough outside to need a coat but there's no frost on windows, I will start the truck, idle it about 30 sec. and drive easy the first few minuets until hot air is coming out the heater.

    If there is snow/ice on windows, I will start truck and let idle while scraping ice/frost off windows, then drive easy till heater is hot
This discussion has been closed.