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View Full Version : When is the car "warmed up?"


mbr129
09-05-2003, 07:48 AM
Last night, on my way back from a grad class had the the oportunity to come out of a ramp and hit it from 45 to 85 on third as I merged into the highway (completely empty 3-lane highway). Man it was awesome! :D

Sometimes I am shy of revving past 5K unless the car has been driven for a long time (30+ minutes). When I start it in the morning I keep it under 3500rpm for the first 10 minutes or so. After that I feel comfortable enough going up to 5K or so. But to go over that I get the feeling the car should be REALLY warmed up. Maybe it's because I have never had a car so rev-happy before. Maybe it's because the acceleration is too wild. Who knows? Perhaps I am just a bit intimidated by my own car.

So when is the car warmed up enough to use the full rev range?

Artslinger
09-05-2003, 07:58 AM
It depends on the temperature. .. maybe 5-10 minutes definitely not 30 minutes (maybe if its below zero). Its a good idea to let all the mechanicals and moving parts come up to temperature, so driving and not just idling is the way to go.

Zaphod
09-05-2003, 08:02 AM
My general rule is to stay away from full throttle and keep it under 4-4500 rpm until the temp needle is in the middle of the gauge.

mbr129
09-05-2003, 08:03 AM
My general rule is to stay away from full throttle and keep it under 4-4500 rpm until the temp needle is in the middle of the gauge.

Well that happens in under 5 minutes. :confused: Seems rather early to me.

GregE_325
09-05-2003, 08:08 AM
Well that happens in under 5 minutes. :confused: Seems rather early to me.



Not really. You'd be surprised how quickly all that combustion in the engine warms things up. The temp gauge is more of a relative sort of instrument. If it's in anywhere in the normal operating range, then you are good to go! Have fun with it!

Ausgang
09-05-2003, 08:10 AM
I'd say it's warmed up if any of the five following conditions are met:

(1) You have to pit to get more gas.
(2) Your noticing the initiation of brake-fade
(3) You get a strong smell of rubber at the same corner each time around.
(4) Your right foot feels like it's on fire, so you try to reposition it so there's a little more air gap between it and the trans tunnel.
(5) Your starting to feel slightly dehydrated. :p

OK, truthfully, most people mistakenly think their 'car' is warmed up when their engine is up to temperature. For most driving, that is true. Your engine is probably warmed up within 10 minutes of the engine oil being warmed up. Unfortunately, our 'temp' gauges tell us coolant temperature, which warms up much faster than all of the different metals which make up an engine.

Tires, brakes, and such don't warm up much at all until they are used a good bit . . . even rather hard. Naturally, one can't maximize the grip on a given corner if the tires aren't up to temp.

So think of it this way: Each system (not just the engine) must come up to temperature. Even the Cat-Conv. takes time to do it's job the way it's designed to. It takes a fair amount of use on any system to bring it up to idealized operating temp.

We've all seen guys with thoroughly warmed up engines take off like a bat-outa-ell with stone-cold transmissions, differentials, brakes and tires. Not very smart really.

Mr. The Edge
09-05-2003, 08:10 AM
you're being way too conservative.

F1Crazy
09-05-2003, 08:23 AM
you're being way too conservative.
Ditto.

I think that after 10 minutes of driving your brakes, tires and transmission are warmed up enough. Your engine should be warmed up as well unless it is very cold outside.

The oil gets to full operating temp. much slower than your coolant (ask any M3 owner), so that coolant gauge is not really helpful. If you're really worried when can you start reving it up then get an external oil temp and even oil pressure gauge.

bimNaround
09-05-2003, 08:57 AM
you're being way too conservative.

For the purposes of the intent of the original question (is the car warmed up enough to romp on it), maybe that is too conservative . But, as stated before, the temperature gauge only tells you the temp of the coolant, not the last thing to warm up. The last thing to warm up most likely doesn't determine when you can hit it and not cause excessive wear or damage but everything is not warmed up when the coolant gauge first reaches the center.

Sean
09-05-2003, 08:59 AM
I've read it takes approx. 10 miles for a car to warm-up to the proper operating temperature.


Edit: Note, 10 minutes and 10 miles are not the same thing in stop and go traffic.

mbr129
09-05-2003, 09:37 AM
I've read it takes approx. 10 miles for a car to warm-up to the proper operating temperature.


Edit: Note, 10 minutes and 10 miles are not the same thing in stop and go traffic.

Yup. My commute to work is 35 minutes but it's ony 14 miles. I figured I was being way too conservative. Thanks guys. :)

m3bs
09-05-2003, 09:49 AM
My experience with VW's (which DO have oil temp gauges) is that it takes about 5 miles for the oil to get up to temp, long after the water temp is normal. Without any better info to go on, I use the same guideline for my BMW's. Conservative? Perhaps, but I figure it is no-cost insurance.

Alex Baumann
09-05-2003, 11:01 AM
Under normal circumstances, after about 10 kilometers of 'normal' drive the oil is warmed up.

As F1Crazy stated, the coolant gauge is non importante.

F1Crazy
09-05-2003, 11:27 AM
Alex, good to see you back! :D

Does Alpina have oil temp gauge? Just curious...

Alex Baumann
09-05-2003, 11:36 AM
Alex, good to see you back! :D

Does Alpina have oil temp gauge? Just curious...

Thanks :)

Unfortunately, not. The E36 had it. It was a very nice small cluster which was installed beneath the existing one. It is even retrofitable for the current E36.

Here's a pic (original from the Alpina Accessories Brochure)

http://www.brunsnet.de/BMW/Alpina/Alpina10.jpg

kdshapiro
09-05-2003, 11:48 AM
I go by the 7/5 rule. 7 miles in the winter and 5 miles the rest of the year. :p

Kaz
09-05-2003, 11:49 AM
That gauge add-on is sweet. The way the senders are hooked up seems a little hokey for Alpina (it uses the oil filter cap like many homebrew E36 setups), and it costs $$$$ but I would LOVE to have something like that.

Pinecone
09-05-2003, 07:06 PM
In the M Roadster the manual says under 4,500 RPM until the oil temp is up to 140. That takes a couple of miles or so paast the water temp fully up to temp.

The E46 M3 has the moving yellow arc, and it allows a good bit more revs at lower oil temps.

My rule of thumb in past vehilces has been to take it easy until the water temp starts visibly moving. A LLT less than BMW recommends. And with every some very hgih perofrmance setups, I always got good engine life.

So it is your choice. And hitting it every so often when still a little cold will not blow up your engine. It may reduce the life slightly.

SpaceMonkey
09-05-2003, 07:24 PM
My general rule is to stay away from full throttle and keep it under 4-4500 rpm until the temp needle is in the middle of the gauge.

The e46 temp gauge isn't accruate at all. My oil temp doesn't reach 200-220 degrees until well after the stock water temp gauge is in the middle. :dunno: Takes about 15-20 minutes I believe.

That being said, once my car is warmed up, I hit the red line quite often. :drive: :D

doeboy
09-05-2003, 08:18 PM
That gauge add-on is sweet. The way the senders are hooked up seems a little hokey for Alpina (it uses the oil filter cap like many homebrew E36 setups), and it costs $$$$ but I would LOVE to have something like that.

As would I. Guess I'll have to settle for some other kind of guages like the VDOs....

The water temp guage and the MPG guage are completely useless IMO... :thumbdwn:

Oh... and I usually give the car at least a good 10 minutes before I begin to wind it out more....

SpaceMonkey
09-05-2003, 10:22 PM
As would I. Guess I'll have to settle for some other kind of guages like the VDOs....

The water temp guage and the MPG guage are completely useless IMO... :thumbdwn:

Oh... and I usually give the car at least a good 10 minutes before I begin to wind it out more....
Yep. I love my VDO kit. :bigpimp: :thumbup:

joshr
09-05-2003, 11:13 PM
sounds about right to me. my S4 had both coolant and oil temp guages. it was usually a good 5 miles or so in the morning before they were both in the middle (oil slower than coolant). so i just go by the 5-10 rule now, 5 miles or 10 minutes. the guage on my 325 is often a quarter of the way there hours after i last shut the car off. i'd say its there to let you know that the car is overheating more than anything else.

of course, my MCS had the nav, so it didn't even have a coolant temp guage. just an idiot light. lame.

My experience with VW's (which DO have oil temp gauges) is that it takes about 5 miles for the oil to get up to temp, long after the water temp is normal. Without any better info to go on, I use the same guideline for my BMW's. Conservative? Perhaps, but I figure it is no-cost insurance.

TGray5
09-05-2003, 11:54 PM
Not really. You'd be surprised how quickly all that combustion in the engine warms things up. The temp gauge is more of a relative sort of instrument. If it's in anywhere in the normal operating range, then you are good to go! Have fun with it!

Not true...water comes up to operating temp very quickly, much more so than oil. Get an oil temp guage and you'll see how slow it moves compared to water. My car requires at least 5 miles of driving in summer temps before oil is up to operating range. I keep RPMs below 4,000 until I reach normal oil temps.

Artslinger
09-06-2003, 07:32 AM
Not true...water comes up to operating temp very quickly, much more so than oil. Get an oil temp guage and you'll see how slow it moves compared to water. My car requires at least 5 miles of driving in summer temps before oil is up to operating range. I keep RPMs below 4,000 until I reach normal oil temps.


What is the normal operating temp of the oil that BMW recomends? Five miles of driving at summer temps seems to be a excessive amount, the oil must have bigger range of what is a "normal" operating temp. If this was true in winter driving it could take 10-15 miles to warm my car up to normal temp. I think the time (mileage) allowed for modern oils to come up to normal temperature is being way over estimated.

SpaceMonkey
09-06-2003, 08:26 AM
What is the normal operating temp of the oil that BMW recomends? Five miles of driving at summer temps seems to be a excessive amount, the oil must have bigger range of what is a "normal" operating temp. If this was true in winter driving it could take 10-15 miles to warm my car up to normal temp. I think the time (mileage) allowed for modern oils to come up to normal temperature is being way over estimated.
200-220 degrees. I haven't paid strict attention to the timing of my gauge, but 5 miles seems about right. I'll keep a closer eye on it this week.

SpaceMonkey
09-09-2003, 06:04 PM
Okay, this morning it took my car 13 minutes and 9.3 miles until the oil temperature reached 200 degrees. This is after the car had been sitting overnight for 12 hours.

Mr. The Edge
09-09-2003, 06:09 PM
200-220 degrees. I haven't paid strict attention to the timing of my gauge, but 5 miles seems about right. I'll keep a closer eye on it this week.

Hmmm...my M3 manual says normal operating temp is 175-250 degrees

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=14993

it takes 5 minutes of driving to get to about 180.

Artslinger
09-09-2003, 09:23 PM
I guess what this comes down to is will a modern synthetic oil fully protect an engine after only a few minutes of warm up. My OPINION is any loss of lubrication properties will occur at extreme cold temperatures and extreme high temperatures, and that extended hard driving in hot weather may cause the most damage of any driving conditions except extreme below zero temperatures.

But what the heck do I know, I'm not a chemical engineer.

F1Crazy
09-09-2003, 11:01 PM
I guess what this comes down to is will a modern synthetic oil fully protect an engine after only a few minutes of warm up. My OPINION is any loss of lubrication properties will occur at extreme cold temperatures and extreme high temperatures, and that extended hard driving in hot weather may cause the most damage of any driving conditions except extreme below zero temperatures.

But what the heck do I know, I'm not a chemical engineer.

Will a modern synthetic oil fully protect an engine after only a few minutes of warm up?
There is always some wear but the short answer is yes. And not only synthetic oil will do that, any multi-viscosity oil will protect your engine in normal operating temperatures. The problem starts when we go outside that range. The biggest wear will occur at extreme cold temperatures but we will never have a chance to experience these situations. Running 0W-40 oil will pretty much protect the engine any time of the year anywhere in US and 5W-30 will work nice in most cases.