Is it ok to drive car immediately after starting the engine?

I just noticed that my owner’s manual says “you are ready to drive after the engine runs for about 10 seconds”. However I’ve always been taking off immediately. Is this bad for the engine? I drive a 2002 Camry.

I doubt that it would be possible to get the thing into gear and take off before the oil pressure comes up. I think they just want you to wait for the lights, airbag diagnostic checks, etc…to clear before you go. Start it up, get your seatbelt on, and go. There is no need to warm the engine up unless it is extremely cold, and then you might want to give 30 sec. or a minute.

Today’s computer cars need 10 seconds to “boot up”…It needs this time for all the self-checks to complete and warning lights to go out…

At least half the folks start and drive. They get plenty of service life for their ownership period. Don’t worry.

It may make a difference at the 300k+ range of owning a vehicle.

I believe the owner’s manual instruction is intended for people who would normally give their cars a lengthy warm-up period, perhaps a minute or more. On modern cars, a warm-up is not necessary.

The 10-second suggestion is just that – a suggestion. That’s about how long it takes to fasten the seat belt and to adjust sound and air. Driving off in fewer than 10 seconds is of no consequence.

The outside temperature might require a slightly longer warm up period. It’s really how fast you drive that is more important. If you live next to a 70 moh highway you commute on, I would give it a little warm up time or drive slowly. If you live on a dirt road as I do, take off within a few seconds and drive under 20 for the next 10 minutes is ideal.

Most cars on the 1st start of the day on a cold morning will have a noticeably “faster” idle. If you delay putting the car in gear for a few seconds the idle speed may start to come down a bit and it won’t be as much of a jolt when you engage the transmission.

One of my cars has a very fast idle at start up, close to 1,200 rpm. It takes about 10-20 seconds of the motor running and then it settles back down to something more like 900 rpm. I wait for this to occur before I put it in drive and start off.

Perhaps this is why Toyota recommends the 10 sec. delay. Waiting these few seconds also gives the motor a chance to circulate some oil, for the transmission pump to build pressure, and stalling the motor is less likely. I doubt you’ve done any harm, but the 10 sec. delay is good general advice.

As long as you’r enot rushing, by the time you recognize that the engine has started, let the key return to ON, put your foot on the brake, and shift into gear, the oil prssure is up and the computers have run their self checks. If it’s a cold day out (below freezing) and the engine is high-idling, I like to let it run down from the high idle, but in an automatic the extra energy will be safely absorbed by the torque converter anyway.

The big thing to avoid is stepping on the gas as you shift into D, causing a shoch wave to travel through the powertrain. Keep your foot on the brake until the tranny has shifted. Let the torque converter do its job.

Its always best to let the car idle a few seconds before you take off, this ensures that the oil has cerculated around the motor. They say on a cold day you should take it easy on the motor and try to avoid highway speeds for the first few min, again giving the oil time to heat up and move around the motor. I usually start the car, and then put on my seat belt, and adjust the HVAC… Once that is done its been more then 10 seconds…

Letting it run for a few seconds as gsragtop said is good. No more then 10 seconds is needed. Usually just 3-5 seconds. On real cold days (below 0)…then I’ll let it idle for 10-20 seconds.

I read somewhere that waiting 15 seconds helps to make sure the oil is flowing to the bearings etc. in the engine. I think I do this automatically while I listen for any unusual engine noises for a few seconds, and do an instrument check before I take off.

As we have discussed many times before, many systems, not warmed by the motor which include transmissions on rwd cars, differentials, transfer cases, suspension systems etc. are warmed by use. Many of these are better off used at lower speeds and gradually increased.

A woman I once knew had a habit of starting the engine and immediately roaring out the driveway and accelerating hard on the rural road out front (she always backed into her carport). She mostly wore long skirts, so I took to telling her to “remember to fluff your skirt”, so that she’d pause long enough to have some oil in the engine before she launched herself on her high speed flight to work. Without that, by the time the engine had been spinning for 10 seconds, she was moving fast and out of sight.

Maybe a good idea, but certainly not a critical one.

I’m a start and drive off moderately until it warms up kinda guy. Most of my cars come off high idle after only a few seconds.

My old TB had an A.I.R. system that kept the idle high and ran a separate pump (that sounded like a weedwhacker) for about 20 seconds at each start. If you took off before the diagnostic cycle was completed, you risked setting codes. It seemed an excruciatingly long time to sit and let it idle.

The worst thing I ever witnessed was back when I was a teenager and working for a short time in a diner. In the dead of winter (-10F at least) at 4:30am, there was some woman who would start and rev her car engine every morning like clockwork. I’m talking close to redline for 30 seconds or so. The first time I heard it, I stood looking out the window wondering what the heck was going on. After a couple days, I figured- this won’t last long! After a couple weeks, it was just background noise you were used to hearing on a regular basis. She came in once or twice and I managed to ask what she was doing revving the engine in the morning. It warms up faster that way…I tried to be as polite as possible and mentioned it might not be good for the engine. She basically dismissed that notion with her hand and off she went.

This went on for so long I was questioning my own reasoning. Then one day there was a horrible clunk noise followed by silence…It caught my attention immediately as the routine was broken. I knew what that sound was. I never heard the morning engine revving again after that…

Well, letting it rrn for 15 seconds should not harm anything, or make you late for work.

I let the warning lights (brakes, airbags etc) go out before I crank over. I also give the fuel pump relay a few seconds (say 5 in total) then I crank it. then I put on the seatbelt, mirror, signal, wait for a few seconds, then into gear and practically no gas till i’m out on the main road (500 yards)

gentle is always good, but unless there is a hard frost, it gets less than 30 seconds.

I guess maybe some of us are more sensitive to it than others. That reminded me though when I was about 11 my neighbor got a new boat and new 90 horse Merc. We took it to the lake and he started it up and wide open immediately across the lake. He worked part time at the Merc repair shop too. I don’t know if it was ok to warm it up that way or not but even at 11 years old I couldn’t bear to do that to an engine. I even warm my lawn mower up before engaging the blade. I just can’t help it.

I’d be shocked if I could start and go in less than 10 seconds, but most of that is just my age. Start it, fasten seat belt, check mirror- it takes longer to warm me up to driving than the engine.

I start up and go as soon as the oil pressure is up. The road I live on has a stop sign about 0.4 mile from my house so I get the car going at a speed where I can then coast to the stop sign, that way I’m moving and not just sitting idle and this also allows a little warm up time, yet I’m going somewhere. My '88 Escort has over 500K miles on it and I’ve always took off immediately after start up just taking it easy for the first 0.5-1 mile while the engine gets warmed up.