What’s the proper procedure for
starting and warming up my car
in the morning?

We need to divide all the cars and trucks into two groups:

Carbureted cars (1986 or so and older) --- Ignition key on, push throttle to the floor 3-5 times slowly. (The first pump of the throttle allows the choke to close or set and each subsequent pump simply primes the engine) Take foot off throttle, crank engine until it starts. Allow engine to fast idle for 2-3 minutes or so.

During the warm up, DO NOT TAP THROTTLE TO DROP FAST IDLE. (By tapping the throttle and dropping the idle, you have just kicked off the choke you just set) Put car in gear and drive away.

Fuel injected cars (1986 or so and newer) --- Just start the car. Do not pump the throttle, do not push on the throttle during cranking, just turn the key and start the engine. Allow it to idle for about 1 minute, then begin driving.

On newer cars (86 and up) , allowing them to idle for 5 minutes is bad for them. Driving easy for the first five minutes is the key, because the engine will warm up faster driving it than it will just sitting there idling.

In almost every car, on the backside of the drivers visor, there are starting directions for your car. Please read them and if their starting procedures conflict with mine, use theirs. And if your car won’t start or dies during these start up procedures, something is wrong and needs to be addressed. On carbureted cars, typically the choke pull offs are bad (lots of black smoke, engine dies soon after starting if I don’t nurse the throttle) or the choke is too tight (lots of black smoke, I have to manually open the choke) or the choke is too loose or broken (no fast idle ever).

When your carbureted car is having a tough time starting, one of the main keys to what is wrong, that your tech should ask, is "Does it fast idle in the morning?" That tells him if the choke is shut or not, which gives him a nice spot to start.

If a fuel injected car is tough to start, it’s typically a bad throttle position sensor, a bad coolant sensor, a bad fuel pump or fuel pressure regulator or weak spark.

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