Automotive

Locked: Is it nessecary to warm up the transmission from a cold start?

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  • Dec 11th, 2010 5:40 am
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  • Total votes: 30. You have voted on this poll.
yes warm it up first
 
12
40%
no not needed
 
18
60%
Banned
Nov 12, 2010
238 posts
11 upvotes
Vancouver, BC

Is it nessecary to warm up the transmission from a cold start?

AT that is, i was told that you should warm up the AT before putting it into drive for at least a couple mins in normal weather and up to 5mins in winters? If not, it can put extra stress in the tranny cause its cold?

I do the "keeping it under 2500rpm" trick that many on here do too. If its really cold weather, and starting the car after a couple days sitting there...I usually circle my block first to get the fluids warmed up before hitting the main roads.

THe only thing is I read an article where it said when you warm up the car, it will shorten the lifespan of your engine. Is that true or a myth?
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15 replies
Member
Oct 7, 2007
483 posts
16 upvotes
Markham
Warm it up for about 30 seconds to a minute with no driving. You can drive after that but take it easy until the engine/transmission is actually warm. Keeping it under 2500rpm is a good way to do this.
Deal Addict
Jun 11, 2005
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Mississauga
mrmccowcow wrote:
Dec 6th, 2010 12:10 am
Warm it up for about 30 seconds to a minute with no driving. You can drive after that but take it easy until the engine/transmission is actually warm. Keeping it under 2500rpm is a good way to do this.

Good advice.
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Dec 15, 2004
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North York
Only way to warm up a transmission is to drive/move.

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Jun 12, 2007
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Automatic transmissions are all computer controlled these days. The computer likely has it's own strategy for warming up the transmission when it's really cold outside. Some strategies the computer may use are to change the shift pattern (i.e. may certain skip gears), change shift points (i.e. hold gears to higher RPMs), delay the torque converter lockup, etc.

Follow the standard common sense things for driving in cold weather and the transmission will look after itself.
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May 10, 2005
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Ottawa
mrmccowcow wrote:
Dec 6th, 2010 12:10 am
Warm it up for about 30 seconds to a minute with no driving. You can drive after that but take it easy until the engine/transmission is actually warm. Keeping it under 2500rpm is a good way to do this.
+1
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Member
Oct 10, 2010
351 posts
10 upvotes
Older cars 30 sec - 1 min

Newer cars 15 - 30 seconds is enough (whats newer? I am not sure but I read newer ones don't need that much heating)
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Oct 12, 2001
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I've only ever bothered to warm up the tranny and transfer case, when its -30C and colder. Other than that, drive it.
What the H E double hockey sticks have I done now?
Member
Oct 7, 2007
483 posts
16 upvotes
Markham
Idling the engine for the first 30 seconds to 1 minute is not to warm the engine up but rather to get the oil circulating through the engine.

If you idle an automatic, the transmission does warm up a bit due to the torque converter.

In a manual, you have to drive the car in order to warm the transmission up.
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Oct 12, 2001
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Depends upon the vehicle now.

I've got a manual transmission, 4WD pickup. If I put my transfer case in neutral, and then the transmission in 2nd (1st is a bull-low), I've got everything moving without the truck turning a wheel.

Which doesn't help the diffs, but thats not the OP's question here.
What the H E double hockey sticks have I done now?
Sr. Member
Apr 5, 2007
549 posts
32 upvotes
Whitby
l69norm wrote:
Dec 6th, 2010 6:29 am
Automatic transmissions are all computer controlled these days. The computer likely has it's own strategy for warming up the transmission when it's really cold outside. Some strategies the computer may use are to change the shift pattern (i.e. may certain skip gears), change shift points (i.e. hold gears to higher RPMs), delay the torque converter lockup, etc.

Follow the standard common sense things for driving in cold weather and the transmission will look after itself.

This.
My car is '05 and on cold starts it shifts 'slowly'. And I don't mean slowly as in you feel it take forever to go from gear A to B, but I mean it holds the gear level longer as it produces more heat that way.
Once the car has warmed up (once the temp guage actually starts to register something) the tranny goes back to normal shifting patterns.

And everyone always says "keep it under 2500" is a good rule.
I'm guessing other brands have a crappier auto tranny than mine, or people like to floor it on cold starts?
I've never seen my tranny go >3000 unless i've got it to the floor. And I don't exactly baby it, like its a 1980 civic in terms of acceleration (unless it's like -30, of course).
Only time it's >2500 is when I get on the 401 before it's warmed up, so it hangs in 3 for a bit before going to 4. Even then, that's ~3000 for 110 and rare.
Once it is sufficiently warmed and goes to 4th, it's at the normal 2500 rpm for 110.
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Oct 12, 2001
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Any lockup torque converter on an atuomatic transmission car won't engage until the tranny is sufficiently warmed up - thats why you see the rpm difference at your particular speed.
What the H E double hockey sticks have I done now?
Deal Fanatic
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Sep 2, 2006
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Stouffville, ON
Wait for the revs to drop, they usually start high, then after about 20-30 seconds they drop, then don't rev the engine until the temperature gauge has moved towards level or the middle.

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Mar 5, 2006
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Murica
for an AT,
as long as you let it pump for 20-30 secs just like piston rings, its fine.
AT fluid takes longer to warm up compared to engine oil. no combustion chamber in tranny.
Sr. Member
Mar 27, 2009
513 posts
55 upvotes
I have never worried about it. My old truck had 250,000km before I traded it in no tranny problems.. my current truck has 272,000km and runs strong no tranny problems.. the most I ever let them warm up is 10-15 seconds on those REALLY cold days. These were both GM 4l60E transmissions.. I cant speak for others but i would imagine they would be the same.

I wouldnt recommend starting a vehicle and punching the gas WOT immediately.. but who would would do that anyways.
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