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jamessw 10-29-2008 05:30 AM

Starting to get cold...
I'm unfortunate to have to use my car extremely early in the morning or extremely late at night ( due to working shift patterns ) and now that the cold is setting in, i'm once again going to have to go through the whole ice scraping routine of getting the car ready.

I'm asking if anyone knows the best methods to efficiently heat the car up to running temperature, and get it to do a short journey ( around 5 miles ) as efficiently as possible during freezing temperatures - as I can only imagine that my fuel consumption is going to plummet these coming months.

Any advice is much appreciated, cheers!

bikin' Ed 10-29-2008 07:54 AM

I'd suggest an engine block heater to preheat your engine and extensive grille block to keep it warm. I guess that would be easy enough at home, but I'm not sure about at work. I have heard of diesel truck drivers using a can of sterno under the oil pan, but that sounds like an accident waiting to happen.

PaleMelanesian 10-29-2008 09:50 AM

I've been testing this, and any amount of idling the engine for warmup is a net loss for fuel consumption. The lowest total consumption comes from starting it and driving away immediately.

Some sort of heater is a good idea.

MazdaMatt 10-29-2008 10:32 AM

Dude, you live in Texas! You don't get winter!

PaleMelanesian 10-29-2008 10:53 AM

No, not in the same way you do. I admit that.

I have a short commute (8-9 miles), and my engine never gets to full temperature in the mornings. Even in the summer, which is serious in Texas, it doesn't get fully warm. When the engine's ideal operating temperature is 180 degrees or more, even 80 is a "cold start".

Letting the car warm up before driving moves you to the right on this chart. You never make up the fuel burned. Less engine run time (eoc, etc) moves you to the left. So don't idle it, just start it and drive away.

Measuring the temperature rise, rather than just the final temp, isolates this from daily and seasonal climate fluctuations.

MazdaMatt 10-29-2008 11:00 AM

Because I love my car, i let it idle while I scrape the ice off of it. More ice means more idle. If its -25C with no ice, i start it and go inside for a couple minutes. Mileage be damned, its F'in cold out there and I'm not about to submit the internal parts of my engine to the abuse of start and go at those temps. I'll be installing a block heater when i have the time and my new house has a garage that my car will fit in, once i'm fully moved in.

PaleMelanesian 10-29-2008 11:08 AM

That's fair enough. I'm not going to begrudge you a bit of heat. I know that I couldn't handle -25 period, so more power to you.

MazdaMatt 10-29-2008 11:11 AM

Wasn't trying to knock you, just pitching in my morning routine. My ecomod-to-be is the garage and block heater. When those are in, it will be start and roll :) (after shoveling the foot of snow off my 60-foot driveway)

Daox 10-29-2008 11:17 AM

The garage is nice, but unnecessary. I plugged my car in all last year with it sitting out in the elements.

The real sweet combo is the block heater on a timer, and an electric space heater heating the car up as you scrape, or turn it on early so you don't have to.

MazdaMatt 10-29-2008 11:59 AM

Yeah, the garage is a definate luxury. It was the prime requisite in me searching for a house (i have a race car, it needs a home). The best part about the garage in the winter is NO clearing of anything. No ice to scrape in the ice storms, no 3 feet of snow to clear off when all hell breaks loose. Get in, start up, drive out, press the garage door button :)

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