Do you have to heat up a turbo car before leaving?

Do you have to heat up a turbo car before leaving?

I own a 2017 Honda Civic with the turbo engine. The salesperson advised me to heat my car before leaving to ensure the correct functioning of the turbocharger. Is it true?


Hello Ghislain,

Before answering your question, some clarification on the turbocharger is in order. To lubricate the turbo, engine oil is used, the circulation of which helps to maintain good lubrication of moving parts and an adequate temperature.

Except when an engine is cold, the oil has not yet reached its optimum temperature and viscosity. This is the reason why you should especially not put a lot of stress on a cold engine, with or without a turbo, because it could wear out prematurely.

What you need to know is that a turbocharger is a part that spins extremely quickly. At full throttle, its rotation can exceed 100,000 rpm, when your car’s engine peaks at around 6500 rpm. The speed difference is therefore significant and the mechanical stresses higher.

And the more you rev ​​up, the faster the turbocharger runs. This is why you should warm up your engine before cranking it up, accelerating, or for an extended period.

But unless you live in a particularly mountainous region that requires you to accelerate strongly a few seconds after you start, there is no reason to change your habits.

If one refers to the owner’s manual for the 2017 Honda Civic, it says: “Always allow the gasoline engine to warm up before running it or accelerating to full throttle”. The key here is not to force the engine, not to let it idle unnecessarily for 10 minutes.

In cold weather, allow the car to idle for 30 seconds to a minute, then begin to drive, accelerating slowly to allow time for the engine, transmission and turbocharger to reach the correct operating temperature.

On the other hand, remember to respect the oil change intervals and use a lubricant recommended by the manufacturer. Oil loses its properties over time, and turbochargers don’t like running on used or low-quality oil.

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