Warming up the car

#1

Is it important to warm up your car before you drive it?

#2

No, it is only important to make sure the oil has circulated through the engine to lubricate all the parts. That takes about 15 to 30 seconds in normal weather, a little longer when cold.

Warming the engine thoroughly is only important when your windows are frozen over, and you need the heat to defrost them.

The most importatnt item is the right viscosity oil in the engine. Generally in the US 5W30 oil will do for all weather. Using 15W40 in a cold climate will certainly cause excessive engine wear during startup.

Years ago when cars had chokes, some warmoup time was needed to make the engine run smoothly. Those days are long gone!

#3

You are going to get ump-teen different opinions, some good, some bad.

I warm my car up but one or two minutes max. Right now it’s about twenty below so it is my belief that liquid oil circulating throughout the engine is better than a slow moving glob.
But when warm I do not warm up as much.

If you choose to warm your engine it will not make you less of a good person and you will not be destroying the entire Milky Way galaxy.

#4

It is important to warm it so that the engine can run reliably. That normally is less that a minute.

Engines warm up more quickly under normal load.

For safe driving, you want to warm up more than just the engine. When you are driving you are using the transmission (manual or auto) as well as the shocks/struts, tyres etc. They all perform better and are less subject to damage when warmed up while you are driving at less than highway speeds.

My suggestion, and likely the recommendation you will find in your owner's manual, is to drive off at local street speeds until the mechanical parts are warm, a couple of miles should do fine.  I drive all as soon as the engine will run something close to normal, usually about 20 -30 seconds. 

That said, you are not likely to cause any damage driving right onto the freeway or by warming it up for five minutes.
#5

"Time to read the Owner’s Manual!

Your Owner’s Manual undoubtedly has a statement about warming up the engine prior to driving the car.

Hint: Modern, fuel-injected vehicles require either no warm-up or–at the most–30 seconds of “warm-up” prior to driving. Follow the specific advice in the manual.

As with most other car-related issues, the Owner’s Manual is the ultimate authority on this topic.
It should be sitting in your glove compartment.