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Old 11-28-2019, 11:17 AM   #1
Dinner123
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Default Is it bad to let my car idle for extended periods of time?

Aside from the obvious greenhouse emission pollutants.
I sometimes work outside in below freezing temps and have to keep warm while I work and a car is the best option available to me.

So is it bad (mechanicaly) to let my 2010 impreza NA idle for extended periods of time to keep warm?
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Old 11-28-2019, 06:00 PM   #2
oichan
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I don't think there is a problem. When I use to carpool with my wife I found myself waiting for like an hour outside in the cold pretty frequently while idling. I just wasted fuel.
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Old 11-28-2019, 06:01 PM   #3
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Mechanically, I wouldn't think so. How long are we talking letting it idle?
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Old 11-28-2019, 08:43 PM   #4
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As long as normal maintenance is completed you wont have an issue. I have utilized cars for work with tons of engine time but no where near the miles to match due to them sitting still non-stop idling. Just keep up maintenance and you're good.
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Old 11-28-2019, 08:51 PM   #5
Jersey Man10
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At least minimum 30 seconds. You're just wasting fuel if you're idling for longer amounts of time.
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Old 11-29-2019, 09:43 AM   #6
Norm Peterson
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jersey Man10 View Post
At least minimum 30 seconds. You're just wasting fuel if you're idling for longer amounts of time.
OP is not talking about idling to warm the car up. It's to warm him up while working outdoors in the winter. Note that he's in Canada . . .


Norm
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Old 11-29-2019, 10:13 AM   #7
Scorpius
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Norm Peterson View Post
OP is not talking about idling to warm the car up. It's to warm him up while working outdoors in the winter. Note that he's in Canada . . .


Norm
It tends to get a wee bit nippy north of the border.
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Old 11-29-2019, 05:02 PM   #8
honeybucket
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I would do oil changes a little more frequently than normal during the winter months you're doing this extended idling.
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Old 11-29-2019, 05:19 PM   #9
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Get an engine block heater and find somewhere to plug it in!
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Old 12-01-2019, 12:07 PM   #10
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I usually wait until the rpms start to drop and the oil temp is over 100 before I start moving.
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Old 12-01-2019, 12:57 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Supraru View Post
Get an engine block heater and find somewhere to plug it in!
Quote:
Originally Posted by ThinWRX View Post
I usually wait until the rpms start to drop and the oil temp is over 100 before I start moving.
Did either one of you read OP's post?
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Old 12-01-2019, 08:07 PM   #12
Rally344
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I also live in Canada and did a fair bit of research on this topic. Like others have said, all you need to do is wait about 30 seconds before driving. That's to ensure that oil has reached the valve train. I do however let my car idle for about 1-1.5 minutes just cuz I like too lol, give the parts some time to expand a smidge. Just idling does take longer for the engine to get up to temp as opposed to driving. In the end it doesn't really make a difference, as long as you don't bounce off the limiter right after starting lol!

In regards with letting idle to keep warm, I don't think it damages anything. It was designed with sitting in traffic in mind when it's crazy hot out.
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Old 12-01-2019, 08:13 PM   #13
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You will be fine, just wasting gas really.
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Old 12-01-2019, 11:39 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rally344 View Post
I also live in Canada and did a fair bit of research on this topic. Like others have said, all you need to do is wait about 30 seconds before driving. That's to ensure that oil has reached the valve train. I do however let my car idle for about 1-1.5 minutes just cuz I like too lol, give the parts some time to expand a smidge. Just idling does take longer for the engine to get up to temp as opposed to driving. In the end it doesn't really make a difference, as long as you don't bounce off the limiter right after starting lol!

In regards with letting idle to keep warm, I don't think it damages anything. It was designed with sitting in traffic in mind when it's crazy hot out.
You could also do it like the other guy's dealership service guy did. Turn it on, immediately start driving and do a 2nd gear pull to redline to reach operating temps.
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Old 12-02-2019, 07:54 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Supraru View Post
Get an engine block heater and find somewhere to plug it in!
oddly enough, this thread is not the "should I let my car warm up"

it is a "can I sit in it on a job idling so I can use the heat"

whether he can plug it in or not, he can't sit and run the heat with the engine off block heater or not
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Old 12-02-2019, 08:05 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThinWRX View Post
You will be fine, just wasting gas really.
So what's your solution for OP keeping warm when he's working outdoors in the winter . . . in Canada???

Seems to me "wasting gas" would be preferable to frostbite.


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Old 12-02-2019, 12:23 PM   #17
raisingAnarchy
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Idle the car so you can stay warm, it is just a car after all. Maybe consider following the severe service schedule for maintenance instead of the normal one, just because idling can potentially increase fuel dilution of the oil. (e.g: if your manual says 6k mile oil changes, it might have another suggestion for 3-4k miles under severe service)
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Old 12-02-2019, 01:05 PM   #18
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I have done it for years on all of my cars, and never had an issue. Like others have said, just do the maintenance regularly.
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Old 12-02-2019, 03:46 PM   #19
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I live in So Cal where it's 66 degrees F right now.

I got nothin.
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Old 12-02-2019, 05:16 PM   #20
rtv900
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Norm Peterson View Post
So what's your solution for OP keeping warm when he's working outdoors in the winter . . . in Canada???
well, let's be honest, it's not when he's working outdoors, it's when he's sitting in his car doing nothing.
I'm guessing in Canada they don't pay people to sit in warm cars as jobs.
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Old 12-02-2019, 08:12 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rtv900 View Post
well, let's be honest, it's not when he's working outdoors, it's when he's sitting in his car doing nothing.
I'm guessing in Canada they don't pay people to sit in warm cars as jobs.
How do you know he is doing nothing? He could be catching up on computer work, making phone calls or who knows what that he does for a living.
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Old 12-02-2019, 08:23 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pazzoduc View Post
How do you know he is doing nothing? He could be catching up on computer work, making phone calls or who knows what that he does for a living.
the impression I got was that this was a solution for 'dead time' during working in remote outdoor locations. I'm not saying he's a bum and doesn't work at all.

sorry, just didn't seem like this was a question about a car being used as a mobile office
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Old 12-02-2019, 11:00 PM   #23
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Well this thread took a turn for the worst.
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Old 12-03-2019, 12:16 AM   #24
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Its more difficult for the car to cool itself as it relies on the 'wind' from motion to cool the radiator but these cars nowadays can easily take it. I'd like to see someone just idle for as long as possible and see how long they can go.
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Old 12-03-2019, 07:13 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffambo View Post
Its more difficult for the car to cool itself as it relies on the 'wind' from motion to cool the radiator but these cars nowadays can easily take it. I'd like to see someone just idle for as long as possible and see how long they can go.
huh?

there are fans dude.
You can idle a car in 100 degree weather indefinitely and unless you have mechanical problems it will be fine
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