The truth about warming up a vehicle engine

In case you were misinformed
by Ferman Lao | Jan 11, 2010

Hi, Ferman!

I want to congratulate you for this very useful column on I would like to ask your help in helping set the record straight when it comes to the practice of warming up the engine before driving the car.

We used to enjoy fresh air in our place until our neighbor bought a brand-new AUV with diesel engine. Their driver used to drive a truck for a logging company. Their vehicle is more than five months old now, and they have the habit or ritual of running the engine idle for 10 minutes in their garage, which is about 30m from our home. The air becomes so bad it hurts your eyes and lungs every time the AUV's engine runs that long. I have told their driver about their practice, but he still continues to do it. I hope you can help preserve our environment through your column.

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Thanks and more power!



Hi, Trooper! Thanks for the kind words.

Unfortunately, your neighbor's driver is misinformed about modern engines. Modern manufacturing methods applied since the early '90s no longer require most engines a long amount of warm-up time. Any engine made after that time will automatically warm itself up upon startup (assuming it's a cold engine) at about 1,500rpm and normalize to the typical idle rpm of about 750-900rpm. This happens automatically, assuming there's nothing wrong with the cold-start mechanism of the vehicle.

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Keeping your engine running for warming-up purposes does nothing but unnecessarily pollute the environment and waste fuel and the car owner's money.

Too bad that most of the drivers on the road don't really get the proper know-how in using and maintaining their vehicles. Such knowledge would surely help save quite a bit of fuel as well as dramatically lessen the unnecessary vehicle emissions released to our environment.

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Ferman Lao
Technical Editor


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