To warm up...or not to warm up?

My co-worker and I each live about a mile and a half from work,living in Buffalo, N.Y. and not having the luxury of parking in a garage,I let my 2003 Dodge caravan warm up for at least 15 minuets…(I am a lazy bastered)who won’t scrape the ice and snow off and would rather let it melt. My co-worker on the other hand starts his 2002 Saturn, scrapes a one foot area off his windshield and takes right off to work,teeth chattering and body shaking all the way to work. My question to you is who is doing more harm to the engine? And yes, I have considered just buying some snowshoes but like I mentioned earlyer…I am a lazy bastered.

You are both harming your engine, but you are also harming the environment.

Your co-worker should let his engine run for about a minute to circulate the oil, then take off gently and safely.

Both of you should use an engine block heater with a timer to come on 2 hours before you start the car. You will win in several ways; save gas, save your battery, save your starter, as well as quick warmup. Like you, I’m sort of lazy, and using the block heater makes for painless starts and very quick warmups, with all the benefits of long engine life.

In relative terms you are actually doing more harm to the car with your 15 minute warmup! Cars warm up best with some load on the engine, i.e. driving off slowly. Racing off with a cold car is not good either!

Neither method does any measurable harm to the engine. A modern car does not need extensive warmup time. By the time your neighbor scrapes off his clear patch his car is ready to go.

Your method is less desirable since it wastes gas and contributes more than its share of air pollutants. But it is also undesirable to shut down a car that has not fully warmed up. So your method is a mixture of give and take.

Your coworker is lazy and driving dangerously not having a properly cleared vehicle making vision initially poor for them.

I would not worry about the engine in this case either way. Vehicles in your area and most cold regions do not fail due to engine problems they fail due to other things like rust, expensive other repairs(eg transmission failures) or accidents . If your coworker drives easy when car is cold and windows cleared its a great method of warming the car. Your method is fine too.

My father has a 160k/20 year old vehicle that he warms up in my opinion too long and it runs perfectly fine and never had an issue. The same is true of the rest of my family who warm up. Its a self choice nothing more.

Another thing to bear in mind is that, if you’re only driving a mile and a half to work (and back) each day, I’m not sure that’s a long enough drive to burn off the condensation that’s accumulating. Hopefully you’re changing your oil a little more frequently than you otherwise might, and/or you’re taking that car out on the weekends for longer drives at higher operating temperatures. One thing you might have over your neighbor is that, by warming your car up for 15 minutes, you may be allowing the car to achieve an operating temperature that’s high enough to burn off the condensate.

Actually, I don’t think that you are lazy at all. I would never think of doing any 18th Century dances prior to going to work, but you are taking the time to do the Minuet 15 times prior to going to work! That takes a lot of effort.

Seriously, however, while I believe that you are wasting an incredible amount of gas, you are probably not doing any real damage to the engine. However, since your daily drive is so short, I would suggest that you take the car out on weekends (whenever you aren’t doing the minuet), and drive it for at least 20 minutes on the highway, in order to evaporate the moisture that is accumulating in your crankcase and in your muffler.

As to your co-worker, his habit of clearing a one square foot area on the windshield is very dangerous and will likely lead to an accident, due to poor visibility.

In real cold weather your neighbors engine is most likely is never fully lubricated. In the bottom of his oil pan are hugh curls of metal the size of a rams horn. You may waste some gas but you are not harming the enviroment.

You are wasting a lot of gas doing that and while it is not terrible for the car, it is not good for it.

The ideal idle time is the time it takes to scrap the windows.

I would suggest making sure I got at least one long ride a week, it is good for the car.

Frankly for a a mile and a half, I would not drive. For years I walked about two and a half miles to work every day, including blizzards. Dress right and it is not at all bad.

Snow limits you to very low transit speeds. Driving only 30 miles per hour means your engine is delivering only a small amount of horsepower to the wheels. Your lawn mower engine can probably propel you car 25-30 mph on level ground. So, for all practical purposes, driving off is almost the same as a fast idle only you are getting somewhere.
Now, if your house is 100 ft from a freeway on ramp that you take to get to work, you might want to consider a short warm up or staying on the access road to the next on ramp while your car warms up.

Did I mention that I was a lazy bastered?

Man, is this ever a perfect application for an electric car.

Required range well within current EV technology. No need to warm up the engine. Immediate cabin heat from an electric heater.

Would an NEV be street legal?

I doubt it makes much difference to the engine either way. If you’re cold and willing to pay for a little extra gas, let it warm up. The other driver should make sure he clears the windows enough to be safe, and you should both take it easy on the car until it’s completely up to temperature. If my car is out in the cold all night, I usually plug in the block heater or let it warm up a bit while I have a coffee (or two). It’s your car, your comfort, and your money.

How many years would it take an electric car to pay for itself in this application?

IMHO, we will not see widespread use of electrics until/unless the economics work.

What are you basting yourself with?


No need to. :slight_smile:

Doesn’t it make sense to give the oil, sitting way down in the sump, a bit of time to slosh over all the engine parts before using/abusing the engine on the road. Warming up to me is a matter of lubricating engine parts throughly…I’m in the southwest
with no cold to worry about before driving off.Sixty secs to warmup is my vote here.

You may waste some gas but you are not harming the enviroment.

??? How is that? Wasting gas in not harming the environment? How is idling the engine when cold causing less wear than driving it?

You are wasting gas, your friend is wasting his engine. As Dornick said, a block heater would be appropriate for both of you.

I’ve got a solution for BOTH of you. Go to WAL-MART or JC Whitney online and order/buy an electric heater . . . they plug into the cigarette lighter outlet and provice INSTANT heat. Point it at your windshield (inside) if you’re too lazy to clean the snow away . . . and then oint it at yourself to warm you as you drive. Who is doing more harm to the engine? I doubt that either of you will ever notice . . . your warm-up might be better in circulating the engine oil, but you are leaving a great deal of condensation in the crankcase too. Your neighbor starts the Saturn, gets out and scrapes the one foot area, then gets back in, buckles up and drives off. Maybe HIS 30 second warm-up is enough . . . but still both of you are not burning off the condensation in the crankcase, not bringing the exhaust system to temp to get rid of the moisture, and so forth. Why don’t you guys carpool or bike to work or take the metro? Rocketman

You are not lazy, you’re smart. What your coworker is doing by driving off with a 1 foot area cleared is dangerous and, in my home state of NH, illegal. He’d receive a citation here. Deservedly.

The engine will survive either way. The driver may not. Lack of visability = a potential wreck.