Everyone appreciates the sweet sound of a cold engine starting. Small revving, more flattering sound … these are the first excitement of driving that begins. But do you know why motors have a “cold-start function”?

If you’re looking for a performance vehicle and a “cold start” on YouTube, you’ll likely be served with hours upon hours of audio content. But have you ever wondered why cold starts produce such a pleasant sound? This video produced by Hagerty provides some answers to this question. In fact, the engine runs rather inefficiently in order to warm up for a short period of time. The precise reasons have evolved over time, but the basic idea remains the same.

As amazing as it sounds, the reason your car sounds like this is because its engine isn’t really running smoothly. Combustion engines are designed to run hot, so when they are cold the fuel does not burn quite properly and there is more energy wasted. Modern cars also need to make sure their catalytic converters are working properly, which require heat to function properly. The solution, then, is to run the engine less efficiently for a short period of time and then allow it to be efficient as quickly as possible.

Always the same principle

Unless someone stole your car’s catalytic converter (or you purposely removed it), in which case your car will sound very different from what you’re used to, this system doesn’t work at 100 % from start-up.

The result of all of these constraints is that modern cars change their valve and ignition timing to intentionally create additional heat before they revert to their normal engine mapping and run as efficiently as possible. The function of the “cold start” is ultimately not entirely different from the methods used by old engines., but modern cars are still much more advanced and better equipped than older cars.

Either way, the result is a soft (and slightly toxic) noise, which will have the sole impact on the driver of putting a smile on his face while waiting to hit the road.