Winter Crossover - 2012 Honda CR-V Long-Term Road Test

2012 Honda CR-V Long Term Road Test

2012 Honda CR-V: Winter Crossover

January 25, 2015

2012 Honda CR-V

Hard to believe for our friends in the Midwest and Northeastern climes, but not only do we get the shakes out in southern California, but sometimes also the chills. Whether or not a 38-degree morning qualifies as cold for you, to me its six degrees above freezing. Cold enough.

Regardless of the temp, I endeavor to always let the engine of any car I'm driving warm up a bit, three minutes minimum, enough time to get the phone plugged in, get some air moving around the cabin. Before driving the kid to school in the morning, I like to let our old Civic warm up a good five minutes or so, especially if turning the wheel over to the wife, who otherwise would simply turn over the ignition, place it in Drive and hammer on the throttle to be first up the on-ramp.

I can't help but feel that letting an engine's fluids come up to temp before asking too much of it is simply good karma and sound mechanical empathy. But as I was sitting there in the CR-V, letting it warm up, I began to wonder if today's engines are simply built to tolerances that allow them to be wrung out by unknowing, uncaring or just hurried drivers. What do you think? Old myth or good practice?

Dan Frio, Automotive Editor @ 15,564 miles


  • duck87 duck87 Posts:

    Nothing has changed in this respect. Getting into your car first thing in the morning and hammering on the throttle before allowing coolant and oil to get up to temp is a sure-fire way to shorten the lifespan of engine components (including the oil and water pump). Your bearings, pistons and rings will also hate your guts.

  • quadricycle quadricycle Posts:

    Duck has it right on. I also believe that your car will run slightly less efficiently until the thermostat tells the computer to get off "warm up mode". Although this isn't mechanically relevant, I will also say that heading off to work/school/whatever is MUCH better in a warm car than a cold one!

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    Wait - you live and work in Southern California, and whatever car you drive, if you start it cold, you let it run for 3 minutes MINIMUM before putting it in gear? 38 degrees was record cold temps for you. Usually, you are driving cars in 50-plus degree weather in winter, 90-plus in summer. What earthly good does it do for you to let that car run for at LEAST 3 minutes before driving off? For those who want some perspective, when you leave work today, start your car and actually time 3 minutes on your cell phone after starting, before driving off - you'll be crawling up the walls. All mfg. today say that in summer temps, let the car run for 30 seconds before driving off (slowly), and in winter, maybe 1 minute. RTFM and get back to me.

  • jpnpower jpnpower Posts:

    DUCK87: How long do I have to warm up before the car is ready? In Winter, Summer etc.

  • yellowbal yellowbal Posts:

    Warming up only makes sense if you're really sensitive to temperature or cannot see and need to defrost. Otherwise, driving moderately for the first few minutes will warm up the car faster and more completely.

  • eric_l eric_l Posts:

    Old myth. Letting the engine idle for any period before setting off is a waste of fuel, which I can understand if it is to heat up the vehicle so it is not freezing inside, but otherwise I can think of no good reason to just burn gas like that. This is a frequent call topic on Cartalk and Tom and Ray tell folks to just get going, but to take it easy for the first mile or so before the engine reaches operating temp. Seems like good advice to me. Oh, 38 degrees is not freezing. Try the cold snap that is running through the midwest - that's well below freezing, and often below zero with the windchill. Even with that, I start the car, hit the defogger, and if the windshield is clear, I get going. The car warms up quicker if you drive it, and you don't waste gas that way.

  • yaymx5_ yaymx5_ Posts:

    BTW, if you want the Insideline blog format back, here you go: (pretty formatting coming eventually.)

  • yaymx5_ yaymx5_ Posts:

    err... fixed the link:

  • greenpony greenpony Posts:

    I let my cars warm up long enough to put my seatbelt on, make sure my mirrors are set properly (especially after the wife's been driving), and make sure there are no warning lights. Less than 10 seconds. The only time I'll let them idle longer is if I need to scrape ice off the windows, on the order of 5 minutes, depending. My wife isn't so nice to her vehicle, often putting it in gear before the gauge cluster has finished its startup cycle, then hammering off like a normal American driver. :\ Still, no engine problems, fwiw.

  • duck87 duck87 Posts:

    @jpnpower: You don't really need to "warm up" the car in the summer, the point is to take it easy for the first couple of miles and not wring the engine out before temps are steady and you get warm air through the cabin heater. In the winter it'

  • stovt001_ stovt001_ Posts:

    There's a middle ground between sitting in the driveway idling and hammering on the thing at 10/10ths. I absolutely believe you shouldn't ask too much of a car while it is warming up, but driving gently like a sane, reasonable person on public roads right away is just fine. And idling with a cold thermometer is a LOT less efficient than driving somewhere with a cold thermometer. When you're idling, you're getting 0 MPG no matter what.

  • lucien4 lucien4 Posts:

    There's no need to do that anymore (in Canada I believe even illegal for more than certain amount of time?). That said still prudent not too hammer the gas pedal right away.

  • Do comments actually exist on here anymore? Or can I just not see them?

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