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2013 Toyota Tacoma - To Warm up or not to warm up?

Gorge, if you lived in a cols climate you would know that an idling engine takes a LOT longer to warm up than an engine that is working to move your car.

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I usually start it and drive after a few seconds. I also don’t accelerate too much until the engine comes up to normal temp.

I used to live in Colorado, which has some pretty cold winter temperatures, but can’t say I ever noticed that effect w/ either my truck or my VW Rabbit. Idling seemed to warm both engines up pretty fast. Driving did too, but didn’t seem to be any faster than idling. I didn’t do a comparison test between idling and driving though. I guess driving uses more engine power, more gasoline, so more engine heat produced, but more cold air flowing over the engine and through the radiator too. Not saying you are incorrect, just saying even in Colorado I didn’t notice that effect myself.

The cold air through the radiator has no effect on the engine until the thermostat opens up.


Minneapolis isn’t exactly tropical, I too would let my car warm up to the point that my defroster could keep the front windshield clear.

Maybe somebody here living in a cold climate with one of those scan tools that will plot coolant temperature vs time will do a comparison to see how much difference there is in warm-up time, idling vs driving.

Get a block heater if you would like better protection in cold weather. I use mine at 15 degrees and below. For the same as a 100 watt light bulb keeps engine at 35 degrees.

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Aren’t dump trucks required to tarp their loads in your area . . . ?!

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The biggest reason not to warm up your car is that it wastes fuel. The engine will warm up faster if you drive than if you let it idle.

The air-fuel mixture on an idling cold engine will be richer than it would be otherwise. Maybe that is what your article referred to, but believing that will harm the engine is wrong. The computer controls the air-fuel mixture to prevent that from happening.

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If you like to get into a warm car, then warm it up for as long as you wish.
Sure it will cost a little bit more in gas, but you will never notice any negative effect on engine life.

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In Maryland, tarps are required. Still, some of the load often escapes the bucket and there is no way to corral the caked dirt that falls off the undercarriage. When I’m following a dump truck, I try to keep traffic between us or pass him quickly to avoid the “fallout”.

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And it might also cost a person a fine because many cities have ’ puffing laws '. That is the term they use for running vehicles warming up in the winter.

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And it might also cost a person a fine because many cities have ’ puffing laws

Fair point.
Though when I scan through the compilation of those laws, most (or all) states allow exemptions for warming up a vehicle. Some do place a 5 minute time limit when warming a car.

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They are, same as drivers are required to turn their headlights down around other drivers, yet both rules are routinely violated around here in Northern VA.