Does "goosing" the engine do any good...or harm?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Apr 01, 1993

Dear Tom and Ray:

My neighbor swears that "goosing" the motor and then quickly shutting off the ignition saves a lot of wear and tear on the motor. His Henry J. looks like new and runs real quietly. What is your opinion, "goose" or "no goose?"

TOM: Well, I don't want the ASPCA on my case, Warren, but I am unequivocally anti-goose on this issue. "Goosing" may have been the norm when your neighbor bought his 1951 Henry J., but it doesn't do modern cars any good.

RAY: The reason people used to do that--rev up the engine and then shut it off quickly--was to make it easier to start the next time. Older cars were notoriously difficult to start. Gasoline in the carburetor's float bowl tended to evaporate overnight. So "goosing" the engine, and filling up the carburetor bowl to the brim increased the chances that there would be gasoline in there when you came out to start the car the next morning.

TOM: But that doesn't make any sense anymore. First of all, improvements in carburetion made "goosing" obsolete even before the Henry J. was made. And more recently, fuel injection has made even using the gas pedal obsolete when starting the car.

RAY: And now, "goosing" is actually counter productive. If you force extra gasoline into the cylinders and then shut off the car, that gasoline will leak down the cylinder walls, wash down the oil needed for lubrication, and dilute the oil in the crankcase. So I hate to be the one to break the news to your Warren, but I'm afraid your goosing days over.

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