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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I just bought a used (one owner) 2004 xA automatic, and it has a weird quirk I've never experienced with any other car.

When I turn the car on, of course all the dash lights turn on momentarily and then shut off again. However, the light that would turn red to signify an overheated engine STAYS on and turns BLUE, and stays on for the first 1-2 miles/minutes (it varies, but not by much) of driving.
While it's on, I have an absolute beast of a time upshifting. The first shift (from first to second) comes at about 10mph and is fine. The second (second to third) comes around 20-25mph and revs the tachometer up to 3200rpm or more before it gets into third. The third shift (third to fourth) comes around 30-35mph and revs the tachometer up to 3500 or 3800rpm before shifting. I'm still going so slowly when it revs this high, I can hear the engine whining and it makes tons of noise for a little car going slowly.
As soon as the blue "engine cold" light shuts off, shifting goes back to being smooth, quiet, and perfect. If the light shuts off in the middle of a big rev, it'll shift right as the light shuts off. I've also noticed that when the light is off, the second shift is closer to 30mph and the third shift is closer to 45mph, which is closer to my previous experience driving automatic cars.

Any ideas what might be causing this before I pay a mechanic tons of money to investigate everything under the hood? Since the transmission runs like a dream when the light is off, my current theory is that the car's computer is miscalculating the engine temperature somehow and tricking the car into revving badly like this. Any other xA owners ever experience anything like this? I'd love any help/advice I can get :)
 

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The blue light is telling you that the car's engine is still cold and as such, the transmission is cold too.
The car is shifting at a higher point to get the engine to warm up faster. It's normal operation.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That does makes sense (I get what the light is for), but it still seems excessive. I can hardly believe a car made in the 21st century requires at least a full minute of running time before it can go faster than 15-20mph without making the engine shriek..
 

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That does makes sense (I get what the light is for), but it still seems excessive. I can hardly believe a car made in the 21st century requires at least a full minute of running time before it can go faster than 15-20mph without making the engine shriek..


Look at it this way. When you first wake up in the morning, afternoon, etc are you "ready to go" jumping out of bed, the sofa, etc, or does it take you a few seconds or even a minute or 2 to get acclimated with waking up? Same thing happens to many cars.
 

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The car is 10 years old, and how many miles? It may need some maint BUT, even brand new, sub-compact-economy cars such as the Yaris, Aveo, Fit, and the like, will all act like this when they are cold.
 

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'00 Echo
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I don't know how different the Xa is from my Echo, but mine does not allow a shift into 4th or 4th/lockup until the cold engine light is off, at 138*f or 50*c. It's annoying but normal. My '92 Bronco did the same thing. I move to the right lane and use a lower throttle input to keep the car under 2500 until the computer is ready to shift into top gear. With the Echo's taller gearing, that allows me to get to around 35mph while waiting for the engine to warm. That's for gas mileage as much as anything else, but even putting that aside, I'd never never exceed 3000rpm on a cold engine. Too bad they geared the Xa so low, because it sounds like that'd put you somewhere under 30mph, potentially risky.

One more reason I will try incredibly hard to never get another car with automatic ever again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I kinda feel like I should clarify again, lol - I do GET the purpose of the light, and I appreciate it. (Cute metaphor about getting up in the morning, but not strictly necessary, haha.)
As jcp right above me put it, it's just annoying. I just wanted to get opinions from other Scion owners about if it's annoying-indicative-of-problems or annoying-but-normal, and it seems to be the latter. Ugh.
This is my fourth car, plus two parent cars I was able to claim temporarily when my parents were unable to drive because of various illness/injury. I was confused/worried because out of all of those - all automatics - I'd never experienced something like this before. My two Hyundais were pretty sub-compact, but I suppose were too old and cheap to count as comparison for this? As long as I know xA's apparently do that, I can drive easier ...even if I still growl at it to just-frigging-upshift-already when I'm trying to get going in the morning.
 

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You can always get your speed up, just not going to shift until you're at a higher RPM. :)

You'll get used to the little quirks that the car has. It's a VERY reliable car and one that's not easy to find for purchase any more. Enjoy it. :)
 

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'00 Echo
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It's not a very uncommon way to program cars. My wife's '11 Rio displays similar behavior, as does my Mom's Mazda3, now that I think about it. And I may have also had it happen in my old Dodge van too.
 
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