Winter car care

What is the optimum amount of time necessary to “warm up” a car engine? My husband will let his vehicle run 30-40 minutes while I think 10 minutes is sufficient. Who is right?

It seems like a long time and I admire patience in people. I can’t wait that long to get in and drive because I want that store-bought coffee in a paper cup. I pay for that gasoline and my truck gets 13 miles per gallon in town, so I’m not getting its true value by letting it burn off. To me, ten minutes is nine minutes and forty-five seconds too long. I park in a garage so I don’t have to warm it up at all. It gets warmed up enough when I let it idle while backing down the 120 foot driveway.

The most value is squeezed out of a car by not crashing it anyway, so warm up time doesn’t matter one bit, or not.

10-15 mins has worked for me, even with the zero degree and colder weather. 40 is major overkill.

If I don’t have a frozen up windshield, I wear a heavy parka, start the car, let it idle for 1-2 minutes, then drive slowly for a while to let the transmission warm up.

If I need to get the windshield/windows, thawed, I might have it idle for 10 minutes.

Idling your car for 30 - 40 minutes only succeeds in burning gas.

Are you asking about optimum for the car or for the people? For the car, it’s only a minute or so, followed by gentle driving until the car is at full temperature.

30-40 is not good, it could lead to more water and gas collecting in the oil. 10 min, max. I wouldn’t do it more than a minute or two.

30-40 minutes is hard on a car. Cars like to run not idle. Today’s cars don’t need to be brought up to normal operating temperature to drive properly.

I suggest that you would be best off for all concerned if you and your husband both understand that the car may not need to warm up that long, but maybe he wants it warmed up for his comfort (does he sit in the car or does he wait inside you home?   Generally two or three minutes are plenty.  Frankly I don't bother letting my car idle until the temperature is below zero. well below.  If it drives properly and I don't need to rev the engine, I just drive normally.

I live in Minnesota, and I’ve never even warmed my car up as long as 10 minutes. I just drive it gently those first few minutes.

Unless you want to use the heat to clean the windshield, I’d just hop in and drive off. Just drive gently for 5 minutes.

If it is “wicked cold” which for me is 0 to 10 degrees F, then I will start the car and give it about 2 min. before starting off. Then I drive it slowly and don’t race the motor (keep rpm’s at about 3K or lower) until the temp gauge starts moving off the bottom.

Getting the car moving helps warm up the motor faster. Keeping the rpm’s and speed down make it easy for the motor and transmission to reach operating temps. I feel it is better for car to get it moving to help it warm up.

I don’t think your 10 and 30 min. warm ups are hurting the car, but you are using fuel with no benefit. To me it is just wasteful and both warm up techniques are excessive.

Just start the car…and go…drive gently for the first couple of miles…Never had a problem…even at -20.

Let it idle for a couple minutes, then drive it gently, as others have said.

Something interesting I’ve noticed: My new to me vehicle that I got a few months ago has an oil temp gauge and a coolant temp gauge that can be accessed through the digital display on the dash. The coolant begins warming immediately even in sub-zero weather, and will be at 100+ degrees within a couple of minutes. The oil however takes much longer to warm–it will barely have budged a degree when the coolant is at 100. After a couple of miles, the oil is over 100, which I consider warm enough to let the engine rev a little higher. Both warm much faster when driving instead of idling.