November 29, 2020

Image: Flickr/Liane_M_S

Do you still need to idle the engine for a bit before driving?

The wonders of modern invention allows a car's engine to operate as soon as its started up. That wasn't always the case.

There used to be a time when you couldn’t start up the engine and drive off your car immediately starting it.

Automotion has evolved so much that cars can drive themselves while engines are smaller yet faster than ever before. But the fact that you don’t have to wait for an engine to warm up to operating temperature is perhaps the biggest, yet overlooked feature.

The wonders of technology

Just about 99.9% of cars on the road has fuel delivered to the engine via injection systems. In addition, they all come standard with automatic choke configurations where there is no more need to start your car 10 minutes before the adequate amount of fuel is dispersed where it needs to. In the case of Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI), the injectors expel the fuel and in carburetor systems, through the float mechanism.

Image: Flickr/TruckerPat

The Toyota Tazz was the last production to have used such technology. Oil density and quality has also changed greatly over the years. Gone is the big and bulky engines of 15 years ago and in its place is smaller, more efficient examples that also use much less oil.

The bigger the engine, the more oil it consumes. BMW’s Vanos system in particular is one such example, only using a particular oil and viscosity for optimal operation. Once the key is turned in the ignition, oil has to filter through the sub assembly and cylinder head components where it runs the lubrication process. Driving at speed or hitting the rev limiter when the car hasn’t properly warmed up ye,t more often than not, leads to major engine failure.

Drive and go

Old carburetor-fed engines were slow burners and needed a good few minutes to warm up before regular driving. Colder conditions also played its part but generally varies upon make and model.

While you can still drive immediately after starting up, you should still drive at a slower speed to not apply wear on internal components. The combustion engine is an intricate piece of machinery meant to last however long, granted you look after it.