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2020 Abarth 124 Brillante White Velleno package with Monza exhaust.
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This gets brought up a lot and I ran across this article so I thought I would share.


There are opinions all over the map on this one. Some say allowing the car to idle too long washes the cylinders down with the gas, causing excessive wear and it wastes gas.
Let’s look at this from a factual perspective. If it’s a given, then different metals expand and contract at different rates. The cast iron engine block sitting under the aluminum heads will actually move around slightly under heavy loads. This movement is diminished somewhat when temperatures are stabilized such as after warm up.
It is certainly more comfortable to get in a warmer vehicle with the frost off the inside and ice or snow off the outside. Am I advocating a warm up of 15 to 30 minutes? No. Maybe a 3 to 10 minute depending how cold it is.
Certainly don’t try to drive a car with a supercharger or turbo charger with cold engine oil. The tiny needle bearings turn 10 to 15,000 RPM and they like warm oil to protect them from excessive friction.
We all know a diesel engine won’t produce much power until it builds a little heat in the engine. They will rattle and make you think it will die when you press the throttle on a cold engine.
Anyone that has ever participated in any track events, automobile, truck or motorcycle racing knows to bring the engine up to operating temperature before any extreme loads are placed on the engine components. So please keep those poor cold engine bearings in mind next time you fire up your grocery getter on a 20-degree morning and rev it up. Just allow it to idle for a few minutes to build a little heat and stabilize the temperatures before standing on the throttle.
By the way, as for cylinders being washed down with gas, you are idling. The mist of fuel being put into the cylinder should be thoroughly used up through combustion. Cylinders get washed down with gas when engines are revved up and the ignition shut down. Then the excess fuel can wash a cylinder wall and if done often enough, yes you can contaminate the oil with excess fuel.
As for a reduction in gas mileage with your car idling, yes, your gas mileage will suffer slightly. Do the math with your mileage. How much does your gas cost you per mile to drive?
If you work the mileage difference you may find the extra warm up time might cost you 25 to 50 cents. But you only do this on really cold mornings. You will spend a few extra dollars per tank. Weigh the cost and make the best decision for your driving needs.
For me, I’ll warm the engine and take care of my bearings.
 

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Warming up the engine slightly is OK, but keep in mind, all the other major components are still cold...trans...diff..wheel bearings...so setting off on a cold morning with a slightly warm engine is only part of the equation. Drive it easy for the first couple of miles.
 

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Steps here;

Turning the engine on, put the car in neutral, stepping out of the car, putting the top down, unfolding the mirrors, stepping in the car and tunring the navigation on.

This is around one minute to one and a half and should be enough.

Most important; going easy the first few miles.
 

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2020 Abarth 124 Brillante White Velleno package with Monza exhaust.
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Not sure if all the 124s do this but mine goes through a bunch of different modes and rpm’s before settling at base idle. It usually hits base idle when the blue light goes out so that’s when I set off and I still don’t smash the pedal until it’s at full operating temperature. That’s just me and what I have observed from my time with this car.
 

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Not sure if all the 124s do this but mine goes through a bunch of different modes and rpm’s before settling at base idle. It usually hits base idle when the blue light goes out so that’s when I set off and I still don’t smash the pedal until it’s at full operating temperature. That’s just me and what I have observed from my time with this car.
Not mine.
Idles fine on start-up. Hit Sport button immediately and go. By the time I get out of my neighborhood the blue light is off. Vroom, Vroom. 6th year, 26K miles, nary an issue.

Obviously, YMMV.
 

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K1d2 said:

"Steps here:

Turning the engine on, put the car in neutral, stepping out of the car, putting the top down, unfolding the mirrors, stepping in the car and turning the navigation on."


NOT SAFE! If you are out of the car with the engine on, leave it in park.
 

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K1d2 said:

"Steps here:

Turning the engine on, put the car in neutral, stepping out of the car, putting the top down, unfolding the mirrors, stepping in the car and turning the navigation on."


NOT SAFE! If you are out of the car with the engine on, leave it in park.
I should have written that different, since mine is a 6MT.
 

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Too many cars roll away and hurt something. However, your intent was quite correct. There is time-consuming stuff to do between the moments of starting the engine and putting the car in motion that provide a natural idiing/warm-up opportunity. My own list would include, "clean the windshield", "wipe the bird-crap off the car" and "put on sunglasses".
 

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Modern engines don't need an extended warm-up time period. Plus the concern with cylinder wash comes from older cars with carburetors that have to choke the carb to keep the engine running at idle, thus allowing a very rich fuel mixture. Modern fuel injection can get the fuel mixture correct even at idle so wouldn't be wasting fuel that way.

Basically, in normal weather, you can drive the car right after starting it up. Spirited driving/full throttle should not be done until the oil has come fully up to temperature. However, that takes a LOT longer, typically several miles of driving in normal (non-hot) weather. The time it takes for oil to come fully up to temp is prohibitive with idling, as an idling engine doesn't heat up very quickly. It is actually worse for an engine to do this, as it stays cold longer.

Ideally, if you're not in sub-zero weather, the best way to warm your car up is to start the engine, give it maybe 30 seconds to a minute, then drive off gently, and avoid full throttle until the car is fully warmed up. It typically takes the oil longer to warm up than the water temp as well, so what I recommend is the double whatever the time it took for water to come up to temp, then the oil should be warm enough for spirited driving.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Modern engines don't need an extended warm-up time period. Plus the concern with cylinder wash comes from older cars with carburetors that have to choke the carb to keep the engine running at idle, thus allowing a very rich fuel mixture. Modern fuel injection can get the fuel mixture correct even at idle so wouldn't be wasting fuel that way.

Basically, in normal weather, you can drive the car right after starting it up. Spirited driving/full throttle should not be done until the oil has come fully up to temperature. However, that takes a LOT longer, typically several miles of driving in normal (non-hot) weather. The time it takes for oil to come fully up to temp is prohibitive with idling, as an idling engine doesn't heat up very quickly. It is actually worse for an engine to do this, as it stays cold longer.

Ideally, if you're not in sub-zero weather, the best way to warm your car up is to start the engine, give it maybe 30 seconds to a minute, then drive off gently, and avoid full throttle until the car is fully warmed up. It typically takes the oil longer to warm up than the water temp as well, so what I recommend is the double whatever the time it took for water to come up to temp, then the oil should be warm enough for spirited driving.
This is pretty much what the article said and why I posted it. It was good to know the why if it.
 

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Interesting topic! I just happen to watch a Jay Leno episode on an Alfa Montreal and one thing he mentioned was allowing Italian engines to warm up properly for 3-4 minutes before driving. His justification was that Italian engines usually have smaller oil passages that may limit oil distribution until warmed up. So add to that, I was at Summit Point Raceway in Virginia last year playing pit crew for my son-in-laws Porsche race car. Our pit neighbor was a Fiat dealer racing an old 124 Sport. His daily driver was there and is a Fiat 500 Abarth with the same turbo engine as my 124 Spider. He had 123K mileage on it and told me its been trouble free. I also noticed that he let it idle for long periods of time. So it appears as warming them up is not a bad thing. For what its worth!
 
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