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Analysis of common opinions, myths and misconceptions about whether to warm up the engine. Unverified arguments. Some sound advice on the topic.

Discussions around the question - whether to warm up the engine - will never end. And all because every motorist has his own personal experience, a set of knowledge and a subjective opinion. Cars are different. The conditions for their use are the same. Sofa "experts" also add fuel to the fire. These are those who, out of nowhere, know for sure that each trip on an unheated engine reduces its resource by 100 km. I wonder where they get these numbers from.

The purpose of this material is to analyze the issue of engine warm-up in as much detail as possible from different points of view. Winter, summer, ecology, carburetors, injectors, diesel engines, manuals and so on. Separate unsubstantiated "expert" opinions from proven facts. Let's look at common misconceptions. Here are some really worthwhile tips that you can focus on.

Let's start with terms

To speed up the process, not to repeat the mistakes of others, and not to mislead the reader with vague concepts, let's define the terminology. After all, the phrases “warm up the engine” and “warm up the engine to operating temperature” are not quite the same thing. What is a modern car? For example, released 5 years ago - is it outdated? Etc.

A cold engine is a motor that has stood idle for at least 5-6 hours. During this time, all parts and working fluids are cooled to ambient temperature. Moreover, the specified time does not depend on the time of year. In winter, in summer, the engine cools down to the ambient temperature (and not to some specific one) in the same way.

A warm engine is a very vague concept, practically speaking nothing specific. A motor that has been running for a few seconds can already be called warm, since it is not cold (see the previous definition).

An engine warmed up to operating temperature is also not a very universal phrase, since different motors have their own range of operating temperatures supported by the cooling system. In addition, metal parts and, for example, engine oil reach the same operating temperature at different times. Which one to focus on is again unclear.

A stable engine is one that does not junk, does not twitch, does not stall, pulls at full power. Not all motors can do this when they are cold. This is a proven fact. And now it makes sense to focus on this.

A modern car - despite the rapid development of technology, engines do not change drastically very quickly. Therefore, even a 10-year-old car in this regard can be safely considered modern.

To warm up the engine to stable operation means to wait after its start exactly as long as it needs to enter a stable mode. We emphasize that for different motors this moment does not occur in a minute, not in three, or even in five. Everyone is different. For the same notorious modern engines, such a moment is achieved both in winter and in summer, a few seconds after starting.

It is the last term that is key in answering the question - whether to warm up the engine. After all, no one has yet redefined the main purpose of the machine. She needs to go. Yes, of course there are other factors. For example, wear, resource, ecology, frozen glass, stove, and so on. But these are all secondary factors, since the car was invented for driving, and not for environmental conservation or other purposes. Do you get the idea?

The most stupid myth about engine warm-up

On the Internet, the words of an unknown “expert” are still quite often quoted, who named the exact figure for reducing the resource of a cold engine. Like, he started moving to a cold one - minus 100 km. Where this figure was taken from is by no means a mystery. From the ceiling, that's where. If this information were true, then the following picture would be observed everywhere. The man went on business in the morning. Not warming up. Returned home in the evening. Too lazy to warm up again. As a result, twice minus 100 km per day. For the year it turns out already minus 36,500 km. In five years - almost 200 thousand. In fact, that's the way it is. But a motor with such a mileage is wasting its resource not because it was not warmed up.

Even if someone got confused and conducted a real experiment in this area, its results would also not be worth a damn. And all because the resource of the motor depends on a billion factors, among which cold driving is far from the most significant. It is important to understand that this author is not trying to convince you not to warm up the engine. The task is simply to show the stupidity of this myth.

Do you warm up the engine in winter?

Firstly, it is necessary to focus not on the name of the period of the year, but on the ambient temperature. Second, consider other factors. Including what kind of car and in what conditions it was. And also, everything mentioned above. The following is also worth adding. As a result, it turns out that not everyone needs to warm up the engine in winter.

For example, if you have a so-called not modern car, and even with a carburetor power system, it stood all night on the street, and it was cold there, you will definitely have to warm it up. Otherwise, you simply will not be able to drive normally. And this already contradicts the main purpose of the machine.

Again, in winter, snow and ice on windows, headlights, lanterns, and mirrors are a common problem. If all this is there, then the question of warming up the engine is rhetorical. It will warm up while you free all of the above from snow and ice. It is also worth adding that on many machines, warming up the interior to an adequate temperature is also not an easy task. Warm up again, it turns out.

Do not warm up the engine in winter only under the following conditions:

  1. The car was not long.
  2. Was in a heated garage.
  3. The engine, in principle, is able to work stably without warming up.
  4. There is no snow or ice on the glass and other transparent elements.
  5. You have an emergency situation - you have to go, and every minute (or even second) counts.

In all other cases, regardless of the make, model and year of manufacture of the car, in winter the engine, nevertheless, should be warmed up at least a little. How little - many have already understood. Who does not understand, read on.

Do you warm up the engine in summer?

In summer, this question is easier to answer, since there are much fewer factors than in winter. No frost, no snow and ice. Salon does not need to be heated. All that remains is our key criterion, which is called the output of the motor to a stable operating mode. That is, in the summer, if you warm up the engine, then exactly as much as it needs in order to work normally. The pattern works perfectly here - the newer and more modern the car, the less time it takes to achieve the specified goal.

Whether to warm up the engine on a modern car

It is often said that manufacturers explicitly categorically prohibit warming up the engines of modern cars. Like, they write so in the instruction manuals. OK. We are not lazy, download and open three official manuals for the cars of the latest year of release. We study carefully. We are surprised. There is not a single word that it is impossible to warm up. In fairness, we note that the recommendation to warm up was also not found.

Perhaps, for the reason that there are no direct instructions for action, some have invented a myth that the manufacturer, directly, prohibits. Also, we will not exclude the possibility that in some manuals for some models of cars such prohibitions were encountered. All the instructions are unrealistic to go through. Although it's hard to believe.

What to do if the lazy manufacturer did not write anything about warming up the engine in the manual for your modern car. He neither allowed, nor forbade, nor gave any advice. It's simple - we use our key definition, which says about the main purpose of the car. That is, if he cannot normally go to the cold, then he, nevertheless, should be warmed up. If it's running, it's not necessary to warm it up.


Actually, this point has already been partially considered. If the instruction manual for your particular car says in black and white - warm up, that the issue has been resolved for you. If suddenly it is said that this should not be done, we look to see if there is a justification. Also make sure you're referring to the official manual and not to some owner of the same car who claims to have seen it.

Psychological moment or sixth sense

Many motorists fundamentally never start moving without warming up the engine. In spite of everything - neither the season of the year, nor the ambient temperature, nor anything else. They simply cannot, on a psychological level, start driving on a cold engine, even if it works fine. These have only one problem. It lies in the fear that excessive heating harms the engine, which "experts" on sofas often do not hesitate to talk about.

If you haven't heard of this, here's the information. "Experts" say that while the engine is warming up at idle, it wears out many times more intensively than when driving in a cold one. This is justified by the fact that, supposedly, at idle, insufficient pressure is created by the oil pump, which means that the lubricant does not reach the upper parts of the motor. In fact, this is nonsense, and you should not believe in this.

If idling were as detrimental to the engine as they say, manufacturers would have somehow solved this problem a hundred years ago. They either single more would have done. Or the pump could be improved somehow. By the way, this is what happened with the pumps. But not because of this. In general, engine oil pressure should be judged not by the statements of couch "experts", but by the control lamp that glows when you turn on the ignition and goes out after the engine starts. So, if this lamp goes out, then the pressure is already sufficient to lubricate the entire motor. The lubrication system is not a fountain, and the oil does not reach the upper parts in the same way.

The second point is oil mist, which is created by a rotating crankshaft. Who did not know, then this part, rotating, spreads the lubricant in all directions, and most importantly, on the parts of the cylinder-piston group. And these same “experts” argue that at idle the crankshaft does not rotate fast enough to “throw” oil to the right places. This is also nonsense. If this were the case, automotive engine designers would solve this problem. Moreover, it is possible to deliver lubricant in a mass of ways already known today.

Turbocharged engines

Turbocharged engine
Turbocharged engine

In the case of the so-called turbocharged engines, as a rule, almost everyone agrees on a common denominator. However, here it is necessary to warm up not only the motor itself, but the turbine. Again, you need to focus on the original purpose of the car. That is, if it drives normally even with a cold turbine, then it is possible not to warm it up. If you need it from the start with full dedication, it is obvious that you will have to wait a bit with the start of the movement.

Diesel engines

Diesel engine
Diesel engine

With diesel engines, too, not everything is simple. And all because, due to the nature of the fuel used in them, trying to warm them up to any temperature visible on the dashboard at idle is a pointless exercise. However, this does not mean at all that it is necessary to start on a diesel engine immediately after starting. Don't forget other factors as well.

In addition, warming up correctly does not mean that you need to reach operating temperature. The purpose of this operation is to bring the motor to such a temperature regime at which it can fully perform its immediate functions. That is, if it does not go, junk and puffs - warm up. How do users of more modern diesel engines respond, that without warming up, that with it - there is not much difference. So, what's the question then? In a resource? But this has already been said.

Fuel consumption

Thanks to the hyperactive bloggers of the infamous video posting site, we have the proven facts on this point. The fuel consumption of a cold engine is higher than that of a warm one. Another question, of course, is how much higher it is, and whether it is worth saving in this way. If your goal is to save every drop of fuel, then you definitely need to warm up a little before the trip. If you are one of the people who bought a car in order to drive, and not save money, then be guided by our main criterion. It is discussed above.


Dynamics, roughly speaking, is the ability of the engine to respond to the accelerator pedal. As a rule, relatively old motors do this reluctantly until they warm up. Modern units are less demanding in this regard, and calmly give off almost all the available power at any temperature conditions (within reason, of course).

Accordingly, if you need full return from the start, and the engine of your car cannot do this when it is cold, the solution is obvious. By the way, they often say that we, they say, are not racers, therefore, we do not need full return of power. In fact, this is not always the case. Here a lot depends on where you live or from what location you start moving. Some have the opportunity to leisurely ride in first or second gear, warming up the engine along the way without loads. Yes, by the way, it is also possible. Others are forced to immediately go to a busy road, where they simply will not be allowed to drizzle at a speed of 20 km/h.

If warming up - how much

No one answers this question. Someone gives the exact time in minutes. More sophisticated "experts" associate these minutes with air temperature. Even more “literate” advise focusing on the readings of a standard thermometer on the instrument panel. All this is bullshit on New Year's Eve. There is no universal engine warm-up time for all, either in minutes, or in degrees, or in parrots.

Normal piston and overheated
Normal piston and overheated

It is always necessary to focus only on specific conditions and a car. And most importantly, on the main task that it allows you to solve. If your car drives normally without warming up, then it makes no sense to warm it up for the sake of some unconfirmed increase in resource. The same applies to other criteria - fuel economy and others.

And if you drive cold - what will happen

What will happen - no one can tell you for sure. But fictitious conjectures about a reduced resource (sometimes even frightening) are thrown over by a wagon and a small cart. All you need to know about it is this: no one has ever tested how warming up or ignoring it affects engine life.

To be honest, it's impossible to check this. To do this, you need to take two identical cars, with the same workmanship and assembly quality. This is no longer possible. Then one of them must not be constantly warmed up, the second must be warmed up. To operate them for several hundred thousand kilometers in identical, almost laboratory conditions. And only then draw conclusions about how warming up affects the resource. Who will do this? Right. None. But everyone is much more likely to wag their tongues.


Oh yes! They completely forgot about environmentalists. The point here is that while the engine is warming up, the car pollutes the environment for 3-5 extra minutes. It seems to be nonsense. But if you extrapolate these minutes to the total number of all cars on the planet, the figure is not so harmless. However, this "medal" has another side. Perhaps many do not know, but compared to industry, all cars in the world pollute the environment, combined with warm-ups and driving, about 500,000 times less.

Car and ecology
Car and ecology

Perhaps, we will not say anything about electric vehicles and their “environmental friendliness”. For now.

VIDEO: should I let my car warm up before driving off


So, to sum up, is it possible to warm up the engine after all? We discard all secondary and very dubious factors - resource, economy, ecology and others - we leave only the most important criterion. Namely, the purpose of the car. It is meant to be driven. And if it drives normally without warming up, then there is no need to warm it up. If you have, as in the proverb “you won’t warm up, you won’t go,” then warm up and don’t listen to anyone.