Let my Honda Civic warmup before driving?

Hi Cartalk Community,

I have a 1998 Honda Civic with about 68K miles. I need the car to last for the next few years as I am a still in the midst of school and have an unreliable income. Does letting my engine warm up to the bottom line of my temperature gauge before driving the car prolong the life of the vehicle? Thank you

Yes, let it warm up. That’s true of all modern cars.
VW bugs are the only cars I know of where one was encouraged to drive them immediately after starting.

It depends. If you are planing on getting on the freeway on block from your home, let it warm up, but if you are going to drive it around town I would not worry. Not a really big problem either way, However, if it is below 0º F then I would go along with the let it warm up idea.

Just don’t push it until it gets up to a reasonable operating temperature.

Driving a car that is really cold is hard on the car, but idling a cold car is also hard on a car.

If you live where the temperature regularly drops below ten degrees F, there may be some benefit of letting it idle for 30 seconds or so before taking off. The best way in this area to prolong the life of your vehicle is to not drive it hard until it is up to operating temperature. In reality, the only reason to let it sit and idle is to allow the cabin to warm up and windows to clear so you don’t have to scrape windows or drive an uncomfortably cold car. The tradeoff is additional fuel consumption. The only exception is if you are going to jump directly onto the Interstate, in which case it is best to let a stone cold car warm up for a couple or few minutes before doing that to avoid turning it into an oil burner. Other than that, it doesn’t matter. If it gives you peace of mind, there’s no harm in letting it warm up as long as you don’t mind burning a little extra fuel.

There are better ways to prevent breakdowns if you really need to rely on this car. One often overlooked procedure that needs to be done on this car is a timing belt replacement. If this has not been done in recent memory, now is the time to do it, especially if it gets cold where you live. Replacement is somewhat expensive ($400-500 is common), but the alternative is gambling your engine on the belt’s continued service. When the timing belt fails, the engine will stop running immediately with no warning, and the damage done will cost well over a thousand bucks to correct, as the valves will collide with the pistons, causing severe damage.

I agree with Josepe’ . Driving a car in frigid temps is hard on it, but diving slowly when it runs well is the best. IMO, autos can get better results by idling as the close proximity low viscosity transmission fluid seems to respond to idling better then the manual fluids. Other then the motor oil and coolent, other fluids only warm sufficiently while driving…SLOWLY.

Warming up a vehicle by idling is worse on the engine than driving it slowly after startup. In really cold weather let it run a minute or two and go. Slowly.

A brief warmup period is OK, but it is really unnecessary to wait until the temperature gauge nudges off the mark.

In mild weather you are good to go as soon as you fasten your seat belt, adjust the music and temperature controls. In frigid weather a minute of idling is all you need. Additional warmup time will do nothing to prolong the life of the car.

YES…What Remco said…

It doesn’t have to warm all-all the way…but give it a break it has a LOT of work to do for you still…you don’t need to wake it up and immediately start whupping on it…at 65K that Honda is still just a baby

Thank you for all the comments. I live in Los Angeles so I rarely have to worry about the temperature. Thanks again to everyone who chipped in.

In LA just drive away. Just go easier until that temp needle goes up.

My old commuter 94 Civic used to go from startup(work lot off highway) till 80mph(highway) in less <2mins. I accelerated relatively gently on really cold days(0-10F). I sold it running perfectly to a teen ager I know with 200k miles. They graduated from college and now still drive it problem free in terms of engine with close to 300k miles.