Warming up your car in -40C

Discussion in 'General Motoring' started by My_Bloodless_Valentine, Jan 19, 2004.

  1. Just had a question regarding warming your car up in -40C weather before
    hitting the highway. I heard that the car heats up faster by going at a slow
    speed and just letting the oil warm up for about a minute before taking off
    but what if you're hitting the highway and the engine doesn't have time to
    warm up? Is it possible to crack the engine block or cause any other damage
    by going 100 km an hour on a cold engine? I'm also talking over the long

    Is it good to let your car warm up for 10 minutes? I know it's a waste of
    gas but what about the engine? Does it get used to it? What about in the
    summer? I usually let the car warm up for about 30 seconds before leaving
    but many folks just get in, start up and go. I have a 97 civic by the way so
    what would be the proper thing to do? I haven't even picked up a car starter
    because I always thought this was a bad thing to get used to and not just
    for the environment. Thanks in advance!
    My_Bloodless_Valentine, Jan 19, 2004
  2. I personally do not warm up my car unless my car sits outside the garage and
    I use my remote start on it. I only do this so that the heat will be
    available when I get in. Even then it is only for a couple minutes.

    Otherwise if I am pulling out of the garage or leaving work or something I
    just get in and take off freeway or not.

    If I had a car that was exposed to such extreme low temperature though I
    would be sure to warm it up for several minutes before taking off at highway
    speeds. I wouldn't allow it to run until the operating temperature was
    attained though. That is just overkill.

    Say what you want about the environment but if my testicles won't drop
    because the car is so damn cold I am using the remote starter and screw the
    spotted owls. I have a low emission vehicle.

    CaptainKrunch, Jan 19, 2004
  3. My_Bloodless_Valentine

    Andrew Smit Guest

    well in the summer time and winter in the plus temperatures i would
    suggest starting and going, but go nicely. dont over rev it. but 30
    seconds is no big deal. the reason for this is that an engine run with
    no load will wear out the beaings more quickly and over time it makes a
    differance. that said i recently moved to saskatchewan for school and
    although we have not reached -40 in my time here it has gotten to about
    -20c, i have a block heater but it is not on the oil pan, it is on the
    front of the block, when i start it up i let it warm for a little bit
    at idle but not for very long, to get it warmed up to go on the highway
    i go for a cruse around the neighborhood untill i am confident that the
    oil has made its way to all the bearings. maybe 5 minutes or so. in -40
    weather it is good to let it warm and if you want to let it warm for 10
    minutes i see no problem with that, it has to be done in weather like
    that. the point of letting it warm is so that the oil has a chance to
    warm up so it can make its wat through all the channels to the bearings
    and so a block heater on the oil pan helps speed that up. without it
    your oil is like honey ot thicker. the risk of ctacking the block is
    not that big of a deal in my mind unless you rev it to 5 or 6k
    consistantly. if i lives in a perfect world i would have 2 block
    heaters, one on the front of the engine and one on the oil pan, it
    would overkill but i would be happy.

    Andrew Smit, Jan 19, 2004
  4. I almost forgot. I really would only use full synthetic oil in such low
    temps. I use it all the time but most importantly in those temps.

    CaptainKrunch, Jan 19, 2004
  5. The 30 seconds you give it is good for cold weather. Cruise around the
    block or take city streets to the next onramp if it's not safe to get on
    the highway without racing the engine hard.
    Kevin McMurtrie, Jan 19, 2004
  6. My_Bloodless_Valentine

    Paul Bielec Guest

    It has been -30C here recently.
    It is pointless to just seat there and wait for it to warm up completely as
    it will take forever at idle.
    As result, it will run longer cold. Leave it at idle for 30 sec or a minute.
    Then, take it for a slow 5 minutes drive around the block. When your temp
    gauge starts to raise, you can hit the highway.
    Paul Bielec, Jan 19, 2004
  7. =============

    When it's -40, you should be plugging in the block heater. Even for an
    hour or so, it will make a tremendous difference in the way it starts
    (and sounds). The oil should be 5w-30 or synthetic too.

    If you don't want to install a Honda block heater, the in-line type are
    really easy because they go into the heater hose, giving the added
    benefit of slightly warm air in the heater.

    The suggestion of going 'around the block' is a great one. I have the
    perfect setup for warm-up: 300 foot driveway to the crescent (at
    crawling speed), half-mile to the secondary road (at 25 mph), three
    miles to the highway (at 50 mph) and then 25 minutes into the city,
    which helps dry out any condensation in the crankcase. I try not to idle
    it more that about 90 seconds. What my wife does with it when she's
    running late? Heaven knows. :-(

    'Curly Q. Links', Jan 19, 2004
  8. Thanks everyone for the pointers. Driving slowly for 5 minutes before
    hitting the highway is what I was basically doing. I was just wondering if
    hitting the highway with the needle on cold would damage the engine in the
    long run. I had heard it could crack the engine block. I guess I'll keep
    driving on the small streets before hitting the highway. The weather here in
    Montreal has been getting a little better so it won't take as long for the
    engine to warm up. I have been using a block heater and 5w30 oil (not
    synthetic). Thanks again.
    My_Bloodless_Valentine, Jan 19, 2004
  9. My_Bloodless_Valentine

    Pars Guest

    I got 155,000km on my 98 Civic. The highway ramp is just a couple of blocks
    from house, so I often hit the highway when the needle hasn't shown any life.
    Your 1 minute idle and 5 minutes of city seems like a sufficient prelude to the
    highway driving. The main thing to remember, is not to do any aggressive driving
    until the engine completely warms up.

    Note: My car still has yet to exhibit any of the dreaded piston slap that appear
    to be common to the Civic. However, I've been using Mobel-1 on my car since I
    bought it back in 1998.

    Pars, Jan 20, 2004
  10. Note: My car still has yet to exhibit any of the dreaded piston slap that
    What's "the dreaded piston slap"? Haven't heard anything about this.
    My_Bloodless_Valentine, Jan 20, 2004
  11. Only problem I've ever had with a cold engine is the rev limiter kicking in
    while accelerating onto a highway.

    The coolant won't circulate in the radiator until the engine is sufficiently
    hot. You should be able to cruise on the highway with a cold engine. But
    just stick to low engine RPMs (lesson learned in my case).

    George Elkins
    George Elkins, Jan 20, 2004
  12. My_Bloodless_Valentine

    Paul Bielec Guest

    There is another issue, the windshield.
    Until the car warms up, you cannot clean it because the winshield washer
    will freeze as soon as the alcohol evaporates.
    That means that if you get onto the highway with the cold car and your
    windshield gets dirty because of a passing truck or something, you are
    basically blind f#$%&d. This is not a very good idea at 100 km/h.
    You have to consider the sun too. In my case, I have to turn left and wait
    at a traffic light where the sun hits me straight in the face.
    On a sunny morning, there is nothing I can do, I have to wait until my
    windshield is completely clear before taking off.
    Paul Bielec, Jan 20, 2004
  13. That is a good point for having a garage, or cleaning out the garage and
    actually parking one's car in it. I am amazed how many people don't
    actually park in their garage.

    CaptainKrunch, Jan 21, 2004
  14. My_Bloodless_Valentine

    Pars Guest

    Piston slap occurs during startup when the engine is cold. Basically, the car
    sounds like a deasil engine with a metalic clinking sound which goes away once
    the engine has warmed up. The noise is probably caused by worn piston rings. The
    reason for the worn ring is not known. My guess is that it's caused by wear and
    tear induced by those individual who do not allow their engine to warm up
    properly before aggressive driving (or something to do with very little engine
    oil lubricating the rings on intial startup)... The good thing about the mobel-1
    oil (or other synthetic) is that it leaves a protective coating which helps with
    wear and tear during cold start-up and flows better in the extreme cold (which
    is important since the engine does not have any protection until the oil starts

    98 Hatch
    Pars, Jan 26, 2004
Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.