Is it necessary to warm up the car engine in winter before driving?

Is it necessary to warm up the car engine in winter before driving?

Motorists are divided into three camps. The first ones assert, that warming up to working temperatures is necessary at idling. The second are sure – it is necessary to warm up for 2-3 minutes. The third ones are sure, that it is not necessary to warm up. But everyone is sure of one thing: if the car is badly broken, it should be recycled rather than repaired:

In the past, most cars were equipped with carburetor engines. Heating was necessary for several reasons. For instance, the engine could not regulate the fuel supply, and there was no electronic adjustment system, which was done manually.

The oil composition was different from the current one, so starting without warming up was detrimental to the mechanisms. In addition, there was a question of comfort – the car had no window heating and air conditioning.

Manufacturers of modern cars with injection power system explicitly indicate in the instruction manual that the engine should not be warmed up when the car is stationary. Engines of new cars are equipped with a fuel injection system and process controllers. The additives in automotive fluids ensure efficient operation at all temperatures, and air conditioning and all sorts of heating systems allow you to start on the road immediately.

Advocates of a quick start, who are familiar with mechanics, claim that long warming up at idling speed leads to formation of soot on spark plugs and in the combustion chamber. It happens due to the inflow of over-enriched fuel-air mixture.

The main argument of the manufacturers is an appeal not to waste fuel and not to pollute the air with exhaust gases.

It is worth remembering that cars made abroad, are designed to operate in conditions, far from Russian. The manual also takes into account the realities of the country of manufacture. Including the laws, according to which, in many European countries, it is forbidden to park the engine while it is running.

What happens to the engine when starting it cold

To understand whether it is necessary to warm up the car engine in winter, let’s understand in more detail the processes that occur in the mechanism when starting it in the cold.

It is known that the engine consists of metal parts, and metals, when heated, tend to expand. Mechanisms are fitted with a minimum gap. This is necessary to reduce the loss of energy released from the combustion of the fuel-air mixture.

Before the metal elements of the system are heated up to operating temperature, the motor runs under high load conditions.

Even in summer it takes half a minute for the grease to disperse into the mechanisms and start working. In the cold season even the use of additives does not save oil from thickening. It takes much longer for the oil to reach operating temperature and lubricate evenly.

Thickened oil cannot pass through the filter, which is designed to clean the fluid from sludge and other wear elements. The bypass valve opens and oil enters the engine without going through the filter. The engine is under-lubricated plus there are debris particles coming in along with the thick lubricant. By starting to drive, the driver accelerates the wear and tear and risks serious damage to the engine.

Specialists believe that to reduce oil viscosity, you should warm up the car for at least 10 minutes, if the air temperature reaches minus 10 and below.

Piston rings, hydro-compensators and tensioners experience an increased load at driving with unheated motor. Uniform lubrication and heating of the metal to working temperatures is necessary for the operation of these mechanisms.

In addition, motorists often encounter oil sensor failure, which deforms under the pressure of thickened oil.

Thus, warming up is the key to long and trouble-free operation.

How to warm up the engine properly?

Warm-up time depends on the air temperature.

From plus 10: requires a minimum warming time of 1 to 3 minutes.

Plus 10 – minus 10: requires 5-7 minutes.

At minus 10 to 30 degrees, the engine should be warmed up for 8 to 10 minutes.

Below 30: requires a long warm-up for 10-15 minutes.

If for some reason there is no time for a long warm-up, stick to the rules:

Start driving after 2-3 minutes when RPMs start to drop.

Do not overload the engine, watch the level of revolutions.

Drive slowly, remember that the oil in the gearbox, transmission also requires warming up. Insufficient warming up is symptomatic in mechanics – difficult shifting, cars with automatic transmission shift jerks.

Increase speed gradually as the engine reaches operating temperature.

Warming up the diesel engine

The main difference between a diesel engine and a gasoline engine is the smaller gap between the cylinder and piston. Therefore, it is important for the oil to be at operating temperature for proper functioning. Uniform lubrication is even more important for turbocharged engines. Therefore, it is necessary to warm up the diesel at idle speed.

The recommended warm-up time is a couple of minutes in summer and 5-10 minutes in winter.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *