Warming Up Your Car

courtesy of Bob, The Auto Answer Man

How do you know when your car is warmed up? In a previous tip, some months ago, you mentioned the importance of warming up your car. I own a 1990 Toyota Tercel and have been trying to leave time in the mornings for warmup. I notice, however, that my temperature gauge doesn't go up past Cold until the car has been on the road for some five to ten minutes. I know that the car is warmed up before then, so how do I tell when it's ready to go? Does the sound change? Also, when you warm up the car, do you let it run on its own, or do you give it gas?

On most fuel injected vehicles the on board computer will keep the idle at a higher rate than normal. You can tell when it is okay to drive by one of 3 things. First, if your car has a tachometer, then just watch it until it hits a "normal" idle level. Second, if you do not have a tachometer, then you could listen for the engine to "slow" down a little. And finally, if either of the above points can not be achieved then 2-3 minutes and you should be on your way. The whole purpose of this excersie is to ensure that there is lubrication throughout the entire engine before putting extra "load" on the vehicle. There are some products out on the market that say they "KEEP THE OIL IN THE TOP OF THE ENGINE". Well, this may be true by one chemical reason or another, but my concern is the long term effect that this (or simial products) can do. To date, I have not seen any independent test results as to the prolonged effects of such a additive. So without the wondering or the questions, just start your car, then get yourself situated. Tune in to your favorite radio station, adjust your seat, your mirror, your hair, whatever. Then by the time you areset to go, it should have been 2 minutes or so. Now, dont confues "warmed up" with making heat! You have to let your car sit a looonnngggg time at idle before it will make heat. That is because at idle, there is very little load on the engine. It is this load, that makes the engine work harder and make heat.
Good Luck!
Drive Safely!
Bob, The Auto Answer Man

Have a car care question? Visit our automotive center and see if we've already answered it or a similar question.

Stay Connected with TDS

Subscribe to TDS Newsletters

All subscribers receive Dollar Stretcher member perks!

The Dollar Stretcher
Dollar Stretcher Parents
Dollar Stretcher Tips
After 50 Finances
Surviving Tough Times
Financial Independence
The Computer Lady
Computer Lady Lessons

Join over 250,000 other subscribers
to get your member perks!

Your Email:

View the TDS Privacy Policy.