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What sort of routines have people tried for their start up and drive off when it gets cold? Certainly cold is relative, but anything in the almost freezing area is cold enough for my interest. Feel free to elaborate for super cold temperatures if they get even more extreme.

My question comes from a random time when I left the car running while I scraped the frost off my windshield, and then drove to work. I had reset the trip meter before starting the car, as always. The process only took a few minutes, but when I got to work, I had seemingly much better mileage than was usual, maybe even better than some warm days. I only have a 5.2 mile commute, and certainly the daily condition can have a huge range of results depending on temperature, traffic, and the traffic signals. I have a mostly suburban street commute with speeds only approaching 50 mph on a mile stretch, the rest is 35 mph zones, with scattered stop lights that many times don't work in my favor. I can see trip mileage anywhere between 35 and 55 mpg, usually averaging 42 or so. Because of the rage, I mainly have difficulty guaranteeing that things aren't trip specific. Somebody with a more predictable commute may be able to learn more.

I have experimented a bit more about just stalling for a few minutes and then driving off, but I was hoping to hear if anybody had done any other comparisons. The auto stop function would certainly engage sooner, but I almost feel is that there is something more to it than that. My idle RPM starts at 1500 RPM cold, and I tried waiting until it had dropped to 1300 and then drive off, and that's about the only other deep testing I have done. Don't know if I should wait less or more? Something about the fact that you aren't trying to accelerate the car for the first few minutes, and are using less fuel just idling for just a little bit longer and then can use less fuel when you finally start off? Using a OBD scanner, it appears that the car goes into closed loop VERY fast. Brief inspection was kind of interesting to see what the spark timing does. It is ALL over the place, nothing like I've seen on much more "traditional" spark curves. The advance may be doing things to warm up the car even faster, but I couldn't log it.

My car is a 2007 Civic Hybrid, CVT (they all are, right?). I certainly understand that the engine control logic could be significantly different from the Insight's, but has anyone found repeatable techniques that work better? On any model? Thoughts, data, or other theories? Try it on your next drive, and help me figure out if it is just a placebo effect.

John
 

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Most likely it was just a combination of the car being more warmed up than normal combined with a few variables you didn't even realize. I would strongly recommend you turn the temp dial all the way to cold. It will warm up MUCH faster. The downside is that you may need a supplementary heater to keep your windshield defrosted. If it is that cold consistently, block the air flow to the radiator. It is also a big help. Check tire pressures, too. Leaving it running will help your trip mileage only because you are not counting the fuel you burned leaving it running. In reality, that fuel would be better used propelling you down the road and the engine will reach normal operating temperature sooner under load than idling, saving wear on the engine.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Not counting the fuel while not moving, just because I hadn't driven yet, would only happen if the program had a flaw to not calculate it because mileage was already zero. It counts/measures the fuel any other time you stop and the engine still runs, but in those cases you can watch the MPG drop. In this case only, you can't see any MPG listed until you drive away. I did try once to do it without resetting it, and use two trips so you didn't have this zero MPG situation, but I end up with twice the variables of the second trip. This makes it hard to isolate, but I believe that it DOES still account for the fuel used before driving away.

I fully understand all the other ways to heat up faster and improve economy by overinflating tires, etc, but I'm only trying to consider this variable. I normally just drive away as mildly as possible without waiting, and it truly takes restraint or doing something else for a few minutes to wait for the fast idle to slow after a couple minutes.

I tried again this morning since I hadn't done it for a while, and I got over 48 mpg this morning, which is pretty much unattainable normally on my morning commute, when cold (40°F or less in CA). I have been leaving the heat off in the mornings lately just because of reading the threads on that subject. It does help, but not to this same extreme. Again, there are always daily variables, but normally I struggle to get 42 or 43 on cold mornings, and getting up to 48 is usually only a warm weather luxury. I'd just like to hear other people try it and see what they think.

John
 

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I have always started my cold cars this way (after the era of manual chokes), and in the following order:

If car is outside, clear windows of ice/snow.
Enter car.
Start engine.
Fasten seat belt.
Drive away gently the first few blocks (no jackrabbit starts, etc.) and then normally.

With today's computerized vehicles and fuel injected engines, no need to pre-warm a car for the engine's or drivetrain's sake, and if you're in inclement weather, you should be wearing a coat and gloves anyhow, so your personal discomfort is only temporary.
 

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..... and if you're in inclement weather, you should be wearing a coat and gloves anyhow, so your personal discomfort is only temporary.
I use this same approach, however when the ambient temp is close to or less than 10F, I put on a pair of snow pants for extra warmth.

My drive is mostly rural country roads, and having the snow pants on gives extra piece of mind if something were to happen.

Jim.
 

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I turn the heater off and down to 18C until water hits 90C then quickly go to 22 and back to 18. Temp drops to 85C due to the chill of the heater matrix, then I wait too its back to 90 before going to 22.

Seems to warm up much faster that way.


Sent from AutoGuide.com Free App
 

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Engine block heater… At least one study has shown that using an engine block heater at any temperature below 10ºC (50ºF) will save energy (more energy saved from less gasoline burned than electrical energy consumed by the block heater). However, there is an optimal time interval during which to use a block heater which depends on the block heater's wattage, the ambient temperature, and the rate of heat loss from the engine block (the Insight's small aluminum engine block probably loses heat at a higher rate than a larger cast iron engine block). Between 5ºC (41ºF) and 10ºC, I run my block heater for no more than 1 hour.

Besides using less gasoline because the engine's idle speed and enrichment will quickly drop to normal, the heater is functional almost immediately.
 

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I turn the heater off and down to 18C until water hits 90C then quickly go to 22 and back to 18. Temp drops to 85C due to the chill of the heater matrix, then I wait too its back to 90 before going to 22.

Seems to warm up much faster that way.


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Same here, up to temp much quicker with the heater matrix out of the loop, although as soon as it hits 85 I turn temps up. It drops down to 76 which is still in lean burn territory.
 

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Sorry, I got the impression that you were resetting the trip meter right before you pulled out, and thus after idling. Isolating it from other variables is pretty hard sometimes. If you hit a few more lights right than usual it will help. If you have a tail wind can be worth a lot more than you think. Less traffic always helps. My commute is 13 miles, but I can always up my FE average unless traffic won't allow, and traffic is usually light.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I'd just like to see somebody give a similar test and see what they get. Everybody will have a different commute that might help change the daily variables somewhat, and I'd just be interested in some comparisons. People have such different results with the radiator/grill block, I was curious to hear others try to "wait" a few minutes before doing their regular drive routine and see what happens. My daily traffic can be SO different, but I've had a lot of drives to see the range. Something about the slight wait just seemed to make more difference than most of my other daily variables. There are people that seem to really keep their mileage consistent, so those people would be interesting candidates to just try this pause before take-off technique and see what happens. That was all I'm after for this thread. The other heater use topics and tire pressures, and radiator blocks, all have their own threads, and so I thought this was mildly worthy of a separate topic.

Thanks,
John
 

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I think I understand, now. How long are we supposed to wait?

One issue I thought you were asking about is the impact of different warm-up strategies. For example, Does one get better fuel economy by warming up as quickly as possible, such as by limiting assist and driving harder, and then driving normally, or, Does one get better fuel economy by driving lightly even when cold until the car warms up at its own pace, and then driving normally? I think the former might be better, at least under cold temps, mostly because you can drive lightly for miles and miles and never see above about 170F, the threshold at which lean burn kicks in (maybe it's 168F)...
 

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Discussion Starter #12
The actual time is part of what I'm curious about as well. Waiting too long ends up being an obvious waste of gas, and most say that waiting any amount of time is a waste, but that is what I was interested in hearing some other test conclusions about waiting a little bit.

I've been playing in about the 2-3 minute range. That would be about how long I had been clearing ice in a morning, but in the evenings I've just tried watching the RPM and waiting for it to descend from 1500 to 1300 as part of the warm up logic of the car. I'll try to time a test next time. I don't know how the idle speed drops on the Insights, but I just used that as a time reference to make me wait a little bit.

John
 

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Theoretically keeping it at idle to worm up should be better than just driving it. However how much better is the question ... I do not wait for warm up, Just start it and drive, As Eq1 suggested above to drive it with a light load until the engine gets to some temperature closer to the optimum makes much more sense than just revving it from a cold start. it is like a human body , once warmed up risks of wear and tear are lower....

The ideal would be an warm garage and a block heater set to come on 1.5 hrs before the start.......
 

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Sometimes it may be better to wait.

Above freezing temperatures though, there's usually no need for a warm-up from cold start-up; as with others' recommendations in those cases best way to warm up is to simply drive the vehicle at a moderate pace.

In a mid-zone below freezing but above about -20C / 0F maybe give up to 30 seconds for oil circulation with more for defrosting as required. Driving slowly to moderately is recommended to while warming. Wheel bearings, shocks, tranny fluid and tires all needs warming up and the only way to do that is drive.

Colder yet operating conditions below -20C / 0F , I'd idle and wait maybe one minute to perhaps a few minutes in extremes to get oil up to operating temp and for defrosting glass. Three minutes should be about all required if glass is clear. Wheel bearings, shocks, transmission and tires will require even more time to warm up in extremes so slow driving may be best recommended until warmup.
__________________
A Block heater would eliminate warmup woes and cut costs.
__________________
Here's an SAE article that may be of interest on Warm Up Driveability:
SAE Cold-Start and Warm-Up Driveability Performance of Hybrid Electric Vehicles Using Oxygenated Fuels
________________
Also, considering environmental effects of idling for warmup:
URBAN TRANS 21st Century @Lisbon'98 - Reduced Air Pollution and Fuel consumption with PREHEATED Car Engine.pdf
________
Hope that helps!
 

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what I do is start car, turn on heat (auto), clear glass if needed, and wait for the "buzz" from the heater indicating that there is now "just enough" heat to warm the cab (kind of like a timer). It only takes a few minutes, and (imo) is safer then just driving off-reason being i cant count how many times in the past the windows "flash froze" when i started to drive off. Of course, as the outside temps raise, the idle time goes down--min 30sec though.

As for better mps? perhaps the extra time you warm up is thinning the oil more causing less drag on the motor. Idk, so many variables its hard to say.
 

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Sometimes it may be better to wait.

Above freezing temperatures though, there's usually no need for a warm-up from cold start-up; as with others' recommendations in those cases best way to warm up is to simply drive the vehicle at a moderate pace.

In a mid-zone below freezing but above about -20C / 0F maybe give up to 30 seconds for oil circulation with more for defrosting as required. Driving slowly to moderately is recommended to while warming. Wheel bearings, shocks, tranny fluid and tires all needs warming up and the only way to do that is drive.

Colder yet operating conditions below -20C / 0F , I'd idle and wait maybe one minute to perhaps a few minutes in extremes to get oil up to operating temp and for defrosting glass. Three minutes should be about all required if glass is clear. Wheel bearings, shocks, transmission and tires will require even more time to warm up in extremes so slow driving may be best recommended until warmup.
__________________
A Block heater would eliminate warmup woes and cut costs.
__________________
Here's an SAE article that may be of interest on Warm Up Driveability:
SAE Cold-Start and Warm-Up Driveability Performance of Hybrid Electric Vehicles Using Oxygenated Fuels
________________
Also, considering environmental effects of idling for warmup:
URBAN TRANS 21st Century @Lisbon'98 - Reduced Air Pollution and Fuel consumption with PREHEATED Car Engine.pdf
________
Hope that helps!

Thanks for the good post,
I had a block heater laying around for ~2 years . Today finally got to it, I was changing the coolant (thanks on the video on that too) and used the occasion to install the block heater. Will try it tomorrow for the first time.. it was a little hard to get the drain plug off , at the end I used a long breaker bar to get it started.

how long would you recommend to have it on in the morning?
I keep the car in a warm garage so I need to raise the engine temperature with 20-30 degrees only....
 

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how long would you recommend to have it on in the morning?
I keep the car in a warm garage so I need to raise the engine temperature with 20-30 degrees only....
That doesn't seem like a difficult requirement. If you have a way to measure the coolant temperature (e.g., OBDIIC&C gauge), you could optimize the use of your block heater. I would start with 30 minutes. If that is insufficient, try 1 hour, etc.
 

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how long would you recommend to have it on in the morning?
I keep the car in a warm garage so I need to raise the engine temperature with 20-30 degrees only....
In general, even if plugging in at -20C / 0F only two hours would do for me even in the 'deep freeze' with the small engine; other cars may vary for larger engines or with cooler temps; that amount of time may be all you need to have your Insight nice and warm if parked out of the wind in a warm garage.
 

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Thank you both , will start with 30 min tomorrow and will see how long it will take to warm up to work temp. It is not very cold now here ~ -5* C in the night and mostly above freezing during the day.... it takes me 2 miles presently to get to 6 bars on the t* gauge... (OBDIIC&C gauge is a future plan presently)
 

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Here's what I do in all weather conditions:
Get in flog the car right away. The car was made to serve me, not the other way around. I don't run the RPMs above 3000 though, but I'm not afraid of the gas pedal either.
 
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