Vehicles have changed a lot in the last few decades. And I don’t just mean that every thing looks like it was designed in a wind tunnel, can be assembled anywhere from parts from everywhere with any brand name put on it before being sold. They weigh less, handle better, get better gas mileage, and many have more power than those of us from the 60s and 70s ever thought we would see again. Reliability is way up too. Used to be when a car started getting close to 100,000 miles, you started thinking that you were soon going to have to get another car because that one was near death. Now a 100,000 miles is hardly noticed.
Being a driver doesn’t mean what it used to either. Places for repairs are nearer than they used to be, and many repairs can be done by people who will drive to you. There are numerous programs like AAA who for a small annual fee will will come get you going again free for most types of ‘breakdowns’, like leaving something on so your battery goes down, or forgetting to buy gas and running out, even if you have a flat tire and don’t know how to change it, or don’t want to. And it’s little trouble unless you are in the unlikely circumstance where you are not able to reach a cell tower with that cellphone you never leave home without, or your car doesn’t have that friendly voice you can just ask for help
You won’t find much pride in driving anymore. Cars parallel park themselves. They see you are about to hit something and apply the brakes for you. They handle so well that most can drive them too fast and probably get away with it because cars are very forgiving now. They are quite bitchy though. Don’t shut a door all the way, don’t fasten your seat belt, don’t do anything that you used to just have to remember and the car will not leave you alone until whatever it is has been done. You don’t even have to know how to get where you are going. Just enter the address of where you wish to go and a voice will tell you to get ready to turn right or left, to turn right of left, and finally that you are there. If it’s dark enough to need your lights on, they will come on. If you stop and get out, the lights will go off. etc. etc.etc.
There used to be tricks to driving. Each type of car came with instructions on how best to crank them. Push gas petal to floor twice then release to half throttle, then turn ignition switch, or hold gas petal one third down and turn key. Now pretty much every car starts the same, turn the key. Manual transmissions used to be standard, now they are hard to find. Those are the kind where you have a clutch and the shift lever is labeled 1-2-3-4… and you have to move it in a specific direction or directions to a specific place. You used to have to turn your windshield wipers on and off during a drizzle to avoid the dreaded sound I don’t know how to describe in words. Now you just turn them on variable speed and increase or decrease the rate until it’s perfect. You don’t even have to hold your cup between you legs anymore, there are cup holders for all.
There were even a couple of driving tricks to get the most out of your car. Some you can’t try anymore like turning the switch off and coasting down a mountain. Some are frowned upon even to the point of a ticket, like putting the car in neutral and coasting down the mountain. When you drove a manual shift it was considered clever to downshift and let the engine resistance slow you down as much as possible to save having to have your brakes replaced so often. Now there is no need to ‘save’ modern brakes. They are so much better. We used to always just let the car idle while sitting and waiting because it took more gas to start the car than it usually did to just let it idle. Now it takes less gas to start the car then to idle for as little as ten seconds. Though I can tell you from experience you will get stares stopping the engine on the road, say at a red light. And I’m pretty sure it’s not taught in any Drivers Ed course. And may well be illegal! As are a lot of stupid things like rolling slowly through a stop sign (that should be a Yield Sign), or a red light where you can legally turn AFTER stopping, in the case where vision is clear in all directions and it is perfectly safe to roll through and save that energy that it takes to start from a dead stop.
Back in the old days it used to be smart to let you car warm up a few minutes to recommended operating temperature before driving it after it had been sitting long enough for the engine to completely cool off. Back then engines were designed to run efficiently at only one temperature, and ran very inefficiently at any other. Driving it before it reached this temperature meant wasting gas, at the least. A poorly running engine can cause damage to itself. So the knowing and the wise let their engine warm to operating temp before driving.
There is no longer any need for a warm up, electronics can take care of the need to warm an engine before driving by changing settings to make it run efficiently while still cool. Of course in the winter it is nice to have the car toasty when you get inside it, but I imagine the seat warmers in newer cars than I have would help take the edge off. 🙂
The reason, as I understand it, to allow the engine to run a few seconds before driving is because the oil settles to the bottom of the engine in a cold engine so that the upper parts are moving without any oil until a few rotations pump the oil back up so every part is operating with proper lubrication and pressure. And that is why cranking you car and revving it up is literally wearing it out. A new crankshaft and every thing around it is expensive!
Experts claim when the engine is turning over to start, before the oil gets to the upper engine, and builds to proper pressure is when up to 80-90% of engine wear takes place. It’s not the driving, it’s the cold starting that wears out the engine. That fits with the theory of lots of road miles on a car being less wearing on the engine than cars with lower miles only driven on short trips. Cars with road miles would probably have fewer cold starts per X miles than cars only driven on short trips. Most of us know someone who drives a long way to work and back every day and has a car with a ridiculous amount of miles on it and has never had to do any major work on it.
I don’t know of any thing to do to get the oil up out of the oil pan other than to crank the car. I have found only one item for sale that will circulate oil to the upper part of the engine before cranking and it costs around $300. But if you intend to keep a car for a long time and drive it a lot of miles on short trips, it just might the the green, and economical thing to do. Or if you have invested thousands of dollars in the engine of your baby and have no intention of using it for a daily driver. 🙂
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