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In the summer i don't let my car warm up and usually drive it really slow for 5min. But in winter when its really cold out, is it a good idea to warm up the car until the blue coolent ligth goes off? The manual says to drive it as soon as you start it. But when its below ZERO that doesn't seem like a good idea
 

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In a word: No!

The best way to warm it up is to drive it gently untill that blue light goes off. It's not just the engine that needs to be warmed up but your CV joints, the transmission, the shocks, the brakes, the wheel bearings.. etc. The best way to do that is to simply drive it.

In the old days of carberators it you would have to idle them untill the choke clicked off because they would often stall or run really crudy untill it warmed up but those days have long since past.

Tom aka Fowvay
 

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If you're worried you can do a two step warm up. After starting the car on a really cold morning the revs are above 1000 RPM. Idle until the revs drop and you can start driving gently until the blue light turns off.
 

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jesse said:
In the summer i don't let my car warm up and usually drive it really slow for 5min. But in winter when its really cold out, is it a good idea to warm up the car until the blue coolent ligth goes off? The manual says to drive it as soon as you start it. But when its below ZERO that doesn't seem like a good idea
I usually wait until fast idle drops to normal idle but if you are using synthetic oil as I do, a minute or so should be enough time for warm up in good weather but in colder temperatures you should extend the warm time.

I always recommend reasonably warming up an engine before driving the car.
 

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Too Cold NB1.8T said:
I usually wait until fast idle drops to normal idle but if you are using synthetic oil as I do, a minute or so should be enough time for warm up in good weather but in colder temperatures you should extend the warm time.

I always recommend reasonably warming up an engine before driving the car.
hmmm.. Why?

With modern fuel injection systems, modern piston seals, and with modern oil... there is no benifit to warming an engine up by letting it idle. In fact that is one of the worst things you can do because of the extremly slow manner in which the engine warms up.

As soon as the oil pressure light goes off (should be immediatly after starting up) it is preferred that the car is driven gently to allow even warming up of all the components at once. When they get to proper operating temp you can pretty much run them as hard as you want and then allow them to cool down in an even manner before shutting down. This will give your vehicles engine and components the longest life possible.

Hey, but what do I know.. I have only been working on cars for 20+ years, went to school for it and have several million miles under my belt (1.2 million of those out on 3 VWs[which were still running great when I retired them]).

Tom aka Fowvay
 

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Fowvay said:
hmmm.. Why?

With modern fuel injection systems, modern piston seals, and with modern oil... there is no benifit to warming an engine up by letting it idle. In fact that is one of the worst things you can do because of the extremly slow manner in which the engine warms up.

As soon as the oil pressure light goes off (should be immediatly after starting up) it is preferred that the car is driven gently to allow even warming up of all the components at once. When they get to proper operating temp you can pretty much run them as hard as you want and then allow them to cool down in an even manner before shutting down. This will give your vehicles engine and components the longest life possible.

Hey, but what do I know.. I have only been working on cars for 20+ years, went to school for it and have several million miles under my belt (1.2 million of those out on 3 VWs[which were still running great when I retired them]).

Tom aka Fowvay
The reasons are simple and they have little to do With modern fuel injection systems and modern pistons, when a car is idling there is minimal load (stress) on the engine, when an engine is first started cold is when there is the least amount of oil in key places which is why this is considered to be the point of greatest engine wear.

To idle an engine following first cold starts for a couple of minutes allows oil to circulate and reach necessary areas, it allows systems to begin stabilizing and it brings the engine closer to it's normal operating temperature, a temperature where superior performance is achieved.

Regardless of engine make up, damage causing friction is always at hand but especially during and following the first few minutes of that first cold start, driving the car immediately at this point can only compound this situation.

Any negative effects that may arise driving immediately after first cold starts would not likely show up rightaway, they would reveal themselves down the road once the engine gets up in mileage.

I have spent more years working on a variety of cars and working in the Automotive industry than I care to mention, however I'm not going to get into a pissing patch with you about who has the most experience or automotive knowledge.

Jesse posted some thoughts and I replied to his post with an answer based on my experience and knowledge of fact on the subject, I'm not trying tell anyone how to proceed in this matter, I'm just stating my personal position and recommendations on the subject.

Whats a minute or two of warm time if you can eliminate the question mark on possible long term damage.

Jesse, you are right that it is not a good idea to drive a car immediately on a cold day following a cold start, this is a show of good common sense on your part.
 

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Curious, Too Cold.

So... why does VW, most other auto manufacturers, and most of the guys and Car & Driver recommend that you don't idle to warm up the engine?

It seems you're in the minority. Not that that's a bad thing.
 

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No need to warm your beetle before driving off...just keep the rpm's below 2k until after the blue light goes out (as others and the manual point out). Heck even the manual for my 1968 bug says to crank and drive off unless it is really cold outside and even then, to let it idle for about 1 minute and not much longer.
 

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I've dealt with a lot of different mechanics and tuners over the years and I've read a countless number of automotive books and magazines, I've never come across any negative remarks or frowns from any of these sources regarding the age old practise of warming up a cold engine for a couple minutes or so before driving, as a matter of fact it's been quite the contrary.

The agenda's of the car manufacturing powers that be and their associates, aren't always in the consumers best interest, they are in the business of selling and servicing cars and these two things take priority over everything else, including us.

Now days with all the emission standards, mileage/economy concerns, EPA etc., much in the Automotive Industry has changed and not necessarily for the better of the consumer.

I feel that in many cases a car manufacturers recommendations should be adhered to and looked upon as a guide but not a bible, as in many instances in life there are times when an individuals discretion and common sense needs to take over.

Everyone has an opinion, however few of them are based on facts.

Each person has to do what they think is best in a given situation, they just need to be prepared to except any consequences that "may" arise from their decision(s) without whining about it, but few are.

I don't understand why this is such a big deal anyway, it ony takes approximately 2 minutes or so at idle for the blue coolant light to turn off on a cold engine, are people in that much of a hurry?
 

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If it makes you feel better to let you car idle before taking off then do it. I however will continue to warm my car up the proper way, bringing all the components of the engine, transmission and drivetrain up to operating temp at the same time. This has worked for me, is the recommended method by the industry as a whole and by the Automotive manufacturers.

There are arguments for both sides of this coin just as there are for many things but I will continue to recommend this method and will continue to use it untill such time as a better method arises.

Tom aka Fowvay
 

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The original engine cold start and warm up procedure that was initiated by the Automotive Industry as a whole from the begining and long before this recent "change" by "some", is to idle the engine for a few minutes or so before driving and this was highly recommend for the purpose of optimum car care.

There is no concern for warming up the transmission or differential(s) because they are in a wet sump system and oil doen't have to travel distances to dozens of locations in order to do it's job, so unlike an engine, warm up here is not an issue, axle warm up is also not an issue for much the same reason.

The reason "some" manufacturers have revised their recommendations on this is NOT due to concern that it will damage your engine because it won't, they say this for "other" than mechanical reasons.

Anyway, this thread has grown very ragged and old but here is a thought, it's your car so do what makes you happy and enjoy.

Good luck! ;)
 

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Fowvay said:
For the Turbo owners that are reading this... STAY OUT OF THE BOOST UNTILL THAT LIGHT GOES OFF!!!! :p
I usually warm my car up only until it's at the normal idle speed, and then take off gently until the light goes out. My question is, why is it necessary to stay out of the turbo boost until it is fully warmed up. When I pull out of my neighborhood, it's uphill either direction, and there's virtually no way of staying out of turbo without getting run over by someone speeding down one of the hills?
 

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I don't. I run it lightly until the lights off.

Lightly means differnt things to different people; since I have a boost gauge, it appers 'lightly' means about 5psi for me.

Of course, I've only got 130K miles so far; your milage may vary.
 

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Yes, vibe. It's the same light only in 2 different colors.
It's normal to see blue every time you start up the car, until it reaches operating temp.
 
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