Warming up the engine - new cars?
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  1. #1
    1000+ Posts okalford's Avatar
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    Icon3 Warming up the engine - new cars?

    Someone told me recently that new cars don't need the engine to be warmed up before driving. Is this true? I am so much in the habit of doing this with all my older Peugeots so I find it feels a bit odd not to. Any info on this would be appreciated. Car is petrol, if that info matters.

    Kaye

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  2. #2
    1000+ Posts robmac's Avatar
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    I don't warm up the engine but do drive gently, keeping the revs low and acceleration gentle, until the temperature gauge reaches normal.

    The theory of "warming up" is to allow all the engine components heat up to temperature and therefore establish correct clearance. Warming up also heats the oil and water to operating temperature. Once the oil is warm and less viscous it lubricates better.

    Whilst a brief warm up might not be "necessary", it will have no negative consequence and may increase the life of the engine.

  3. #3
    1000+ Posts gezza's Avatar
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    I always do just out of respect for my engine and like has been said drive them gently til the oil has warmed up, dont go off water gauge, but if you have no choice (no oil gauge) wait til its at running temp, then wait a few more minutes before opening it up/giving it some.....

  4. #4
    1000+ Posts jo proffi's Avatar
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    Hi Kaye.

    I dont know if a car needs to be warmed up and by how much and how long etc, but I can share a few observations of my moms 2 year old i30 2.0L auto at start up.
    Maybe there are some similarities you can observe in yours.

    Upon cold start up it takes a while for the oil to circulate so the motor chatters a little bit.
    Its subtle but a good indication that the motor is in no state to be revved.

    The engine computer has an interesting way of controling cold start too, possibly to minimise emission.
    For the firs 10-20 seconds or so it holds the revs up uncomfortably high, maybe 1300 rpm???, and this is a crap time to change into a drive gear unless you like loading up the gearbox.
    I also find the throttle a little twitchy when its in that warm up mode and mum sometimes cuts up a bit of turf taking off.

    Why not take note of your car's behaviour on cold start one time when you have a few minutes.
    You could lift the bonnet, start her up and standing next to the engine bay listen to the warm up and observe the changes in the sound of things for the first minute or so.

    Jo

  5. #5
    Contented Peugeot Driver addo's Avatar
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    Yes, agreed with the idea - especially on autoboxes. The fluid is much thicker cold than warm, and this forces the engine management to do things like rev higher. When towing heavy loads from a "cold start" I will often let the car run for more than five minutes before pulling away.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by addo View Post
    Yes, agreed with the idea - especially on autoboxes. The fluid is much thicker cold than warm, and this forces the engine management to do things like rev higher. When towing heavy loads from a "cold start" I will often let the car run for more than five minutes before pulling away.
    A bit late with this reply, but the reason for modern cars not "needing" a warm up is for two reasons; it wastes fuel, and the catalytic converter heats up more quickly and starts working earlier if you drive the car. So, both are for environmental reasons, I guess...

    Combined with generally thinner oils, so the wear issues are lesser, and engine management being good enough so cold driveability is good, it involves a change in the designer's priorities. They never used to care too much about fuel and smog!


    2003 PEUGEOT 206 GTi

  7. #7
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    Modern engines and their electronic controls and lubrication systems are designed to be driven immediately. Several reasons for that. One is that to meet emissions requirements the time on choke has to be minimised and the engine warms up much more quickly if it is working under load. Second wear typically is greatest when the engine is cold. So get your engine to working temperature as quickly as possible without thrashing it. Third, modern metallurgy, manufacturing tolerances and lubricants enable engines to better cope with the cold start. Modern engines with low viscosity oils flow fully at full low temperature and so carry heat away and spread it round the engine quickly. In the old days of thick oils this did not happen until the oils had warmed up. And finally, as mentioned earlier the catalytic converter needs to get to working temperature as quickly as possible and it will not do this at idle.

    So letting your engine idle for 5 minutes to warm up is not only no longer required but can have negative effects on the engine and the environment.

    So the question is how far do you plan to drive in the car? And for how long? Modern Peugeots can regularly do over 200,000 Km without the need for major engine work with normal driving and servicing and without any special care. At least here in country Australia. Probably different in the cut and thrust of city driving. My '95 405 Mi16 has 240,000 Km on the clock and Is still mechanically fine. My problem is finding non mechanical parts like replacement hoses and seals. So are you planning to keep the car for 15-20 years and do over 15,000 Km / year?

    At the other end of the spectrum are some competition engines which cannot even be turned over till they have had heated oil and water circulated through them for some time to warm them up.

  8. #8
    Fellow Frogger! ving's Avatar
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    Default Re: Warming up the engine - new cars?

    Bought my astra New in 02. It now has over 330,000 on the clock. I have only had to replace a coil pack. When I start it I just wait for the revs to drop, I figure it can't do any harm.
    Current frogmobile: '02 Renault Clio Expression.
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  9. #9
    con
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    I can only speak from personal experience. My wife's RAV 4 which has covered only 132,000 kms is already showing ring wear because as soon as she starts the engine she plants her foot... It has been serviced regulalrly with oil and oil filter changed at each service. All attempts to change her habits have been futile.

    con....

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    Contented Peugeot Driver addo's Avatar
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    I feel the need to point out that when temperatures are at or below freezing, and the engine cold - you have SFA demisting abilities on the glass. Driving off immediately after starting is plain silly as your field of vision is so compromised.

    It's not part of the "oil experts" debate winding about elsewhere on this thread, but again - ATF is not the happiest of bedfellows with its geartrain when dead cold. It can be over four times harder to smear around the geartrain, courtesy of the trans pump. Naturally, this is going to compromise its abilities to do what it's supposed to. This also loads up the engine.

    Many peoples' place of departure (eg driveway) is not that far from a road proper and they may have to - upon entering that road - keep pace with other traffic. So the handbook recommended option of driving gently for the first few kilometres is not one that's always there.

    If it feels "wrong" by the way a cold vehicle responds to its prompting, then the car probably is being overtaxed!

  11. #11
    con
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    Quote Originally Posted by addo View Post
    ..... ATF is not the happiest of bedfellows with its geartrain when dead cold.

    Oh, and did I forget to mention how noisy the auto. transmisison is? How careless of me!

    con....

  12. #12
    Gone Fishin' Haakon's Avatar
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    10-20 seconds max. Just don't thrash it for the first 2kms.

    Then drive as normal.

    The high idle thing is I think to get the catalytic converter up to temperature faster. The torque converters don't seem to mind it...

    My neighbour in Hobart used to start her MkV Flog oil burner in gear with the clutch in - and floored as soon as it fired. She must have had the timing of turning the key and letting the clutch out down to a fine art. It made some pretty horrible noises as she roared away (more horrible than usual for a diesel anyway).

    One should at least let the oil pressure stabilise...
    Last edited by Haakon; 19th September 2012 at 05:52 PM.

  13. #13
    1000+ Posts N5GTi6's Avatar
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    The GTi6 never gets revved over 3.5K revs or more than 1/2 throttle until the oil reaches temp - don't really care about the water so much.

    Drive off from cold after a few seconds, but use light loads and only about 1/2 potential revs. Good for the engine - good for the environment. Certainly don't let the engine sit and idle up to temp as the enrichened fuel mix will thin the engine oil quick smart.

    Cheers

    Justin
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