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  1. #1

    Default Warm up idling, P or N?

    I'm old skool, so I do let my vehicles idle for awile prior pulling off. Outside temp and legnth of inactivity defining the idling time.

    Now, Red Dust is my 1st automatic that I've actually been using in winter and I was wondering should I have the tranny in P or N whilst warming up? If I stick it in N no oil is circulating in tranny, right? What about if it is in P?

    So far I had it in N and if it is really cold I've gone thru gears once before pulling off. Is this ok or is there a better way to try and give the tranny some gentle warm up prior driving?


  2. #2


    Park is just fine. It'll warm well enough, and it's less likely to roll away.

    Here in Michigan, there are basically two schools of thought - Plan ahead, and let it warm up a bit; or start it, slam into gear 'n go, because you don't do the maintenance.

    Enjoy the ride, you lazy former pedal pusher

    1999 Chevy K2500 Suburban 350
    K&N, reworked cai, Thrush cat-backs
    Vinyl, cranks, floor shift, and rear air!

  3. #3
    Sr. Apprentice
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Indianapolis Area


    Next to what motor oil works best, this topic is very popular on the various auto forums. Typically everyone agrees that distributing oil in the engine is the key objective. What’s not universally agreed upon is what it the best method to achieve this.

    In one camp are the idlers. Don’t work the engine till it warms, but an idling engine takes longer to warm up therefore is running in a state of less lube longer. Sure it’s not working as hard, but it’s still wearing while idling.

    The other camp says, get it started and pumping, and then give it some exercise like driving slowly out of a neighborhood. This will warm up the engine oil quicker plus help get it sloshing around with stop, go, turn, and bumps. Down side is the engine is working harder with less lubrication.

    So what is worse? An engine running longer or working hard with less than ideal lube… you be the judge. Truth be told, it probably doesn’t make a hill of beans difference, but it sure is fun to debate.
    1992 GMC C1500 SLE

  4. #4
    stephan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Far West, Oregon USA,
    Blog Entries


    Hey Johnny, I agree with Kidhauler on leaving it in park. It's safer & the trans pump is still pumping no matter what gear you're in.
    I also agree with Auzivision as far as the great debate as to whether to let it warm up or just start it & drive it away, but you live in such a brutally cold climate that your situation is different than even the coldest climate in the US. I would ask several mechanics where you live what their thoughts are on this. Whatever way you decide to do it, I would definitely drive it easy untill you are able to get all the fluids up to operating temperature.
    1988 Chevy C-3500 2wd (no pic)
    350 c.i. 5.7 L Stock Block, 4 Bolt Mains
    L-31 Vortec Heads, Edelbrock Cam & Intake,
    Holley 650, Flowtech Headers, Magnaflow exh.
    Jet Trans 700R4, B&M Ratchet, 4:10 gears,
    3" susp. lift kit "shadetree"
    No rev limiter, No speed limiter lol

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Red Wing, Minnesota, United States


    Also leaving idling obviously decreases poor MPG not just i the fact that you are running the engine and not moving, but also when a vehicle is in idle it is running richer. this could lead to shorter plug life as they are getting fouled quicker. Plus modern day technology helps the vehicle warm quicker then older vehicles too. I live in MN and unless it was below zero that night I dont let it go for more then a couple minutes, basically just to get things moving and loosened up a bit. But when you do take off if your tranny is sluggish then for sure dont give it the nuts.
    99 K1500 Suburban LT "THE BEAST"
    Hypertech III, K&N, true dual

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