Today: Annette copes with a micromanaging husband.

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Nov 01, 2010

Dear Tom and Ray:

My husband always gets mad because I immediately crank the ignition of our 2005 Honda Element. He tells me that I should wait a few seconds and listen for the fuel pump to fill. Is this true, or he is just micromanaging my driving? -- Annette


TOM: He's just being his usual pain in the tuchus, Annette.

RAY: When you turn the key to the "run" position, the fuel pump is energized, and it provides full pressure to the injectors within a second, I'd say.

TOM: I guess he thinks it's better to wait a few seconds and make absolutely certain that the injectors are all fully pressurized, so that when you turn the key to the crank position, the engine will fire up right away.

RAY: Instantaneously.

TOM: Right. He thinks that's preferable. So instead of cranking for half a second, the engine cranks for only a quarter of a second, and you save a little bit of wear and tear on your battery and starter.

RAY: But I disagree. I'm more concerned about the internal engine components than with the battery or starter. Let's say, just for the sake of argument, that you don't have enough fuel pressure, and the engine has to crank a few more times before it actually catches. I think that's a good thing.

TOM: Well, it has a beneficial side effect.

RAY: Right -- allowing the engine to crank for a few seconds gives the oil pump time to circulate the oil while the engine is turning slowly, before it starts running at 1,000 rpm. So I think Annette's husband ought be on her case to start the car more quickly! Turn that key faster, Annette!

TOM: Actually, we're splitting hairs either way with this argument. The bottom line is: You turn the key, you start the car and you drive away. That's the way the car is engineered to work, and it works fine that way.

RAY: But for the record, he's not only micromanaging, he's micromanaging incorrectly, Annette. Which, by definition, makes him a pain in the tuchus.

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