Let’s face it. No one likes getting into a cold car when it’s already freezing outside. It’s a common complaint, often followed by drivers questioning why it takes so long for a vehicle to warm up.
It doesn’t have to take so long. There are ways that you can speed it up so you’re not freezing every time you get into your car.
How to Quickly Warm Your Car Up
There are a few ways you can get heat circulating in your car faster. Some are not approved by everyone, so keep that in mind. It’s your decision if you try one of the more controversial methods.
Here are three ways to warm your car up a little faster.
- Turn the ignition on
Turning the key in the ignition, without starting the engine, is a great hack to know if you live and drive in colder climates.
Starting the engine, while the car is still parked, only wastes gas, time, and money. The vehicle won’t heat up any faster if you leave it running for several minutes in the driveway. This is probably a disappointment to anyone with a remote start key.
When you only turn the ignition over, not the engine, the fuel pump starts getting the engine primed. When an engine is primed it is ready to start producing heat. You don’t want to immediately turn the heater on, the engine is still cold.
However, after a few minutes of driving it will be ready to crank out plenty of hot air. What many drivers also don’t know is that an engine warms up faster when you are driving, not parked.
Once the heat is blasting, adjust the vents to the positions you want. Whether it is on your hands, feet or upper body.
- Remote Starters
If you don’t mind wasting gas and having to spend additional money keeping the tank filled, a remote starter can warm your car up. It is not faster than if you ran outside and started it yourself, but it does spare you at least one trip out in the cold.
Remote starters are undeniably convenient. You can press a button from your warm house and start the car up. While you are finishing getting ready, the car will start to warm up. It generally only takes a few minutes, but every vehicle is different.
Along with wasting gas, there are other downsides to this semi-controversial method. The idling car is releasing carbons into the air. Anyone that is eco-friendly probably won’t approve of this method. The exhaust from your idling car is also hazardous to the health of anyone that walks by and inhales the fumes in.
While you probably won’t give your neighbors black lung disease, it is still a hazard to them and the environment.
You might also want to check with local laws. Some cities have a ban on leaving vehicles idling for an extended period of time. Usually around 20 minutes. It is a misdemeanor, but it does come with a fine.
- Block Heater
Common in Alaska and other places where the temperatures frequently fall below freezing, block heaters are an effective way to get your cold car warm. Block heaters aren’t as expensive as you might think. There are some extremely affordable and dependable models on the market.
There are different types of block heaters. Some models warm the oil, while others heat up the coolant. Both methods will help your car to warm up faster. How to start the block heater also varies.
The most basic require you to plug it in when it’s time to start warming the engine up. Others come with a timer. They can be plugged in as soon as your park the car in the garage and the timer will automatically start the block warming your engine at the preset time.
Since the car isn’t running, there is no risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. An engine block heater can save you time and money. There is a downside. You do need to be able to plug the engine block into a power source. This is easy if you park in your home’s garage, but if there is not an electrical outlet within reach, you might want to choose a battery powered block heater.
Tips on Quickly Thawing Windshields
A warm car is great, but it doesn’t do a lot of good if you still have to stand outside scraping snow and ice of your windshield. No matter how warm the car is, it can still take awhile for the windshield to thaw enough for you to see to drive.
Obviously, this isn’t a problem if you are lucky enough to have a garage. If you have to park outside, your windshield will probably have frost, ice or snow on it throughout the winter. Turing on the car’s defrost function will help with thawing, unfortunately it can take a long time before the windshield is clear.
If it’s possible, you can try to always park your car facing east. The rising sun can help thaw windshields.
A more practical method is to buy a windshield cover. You do want to make sure that the one you get is durable and can withstand the weather. It will keep ice and snow from freezing on the windshield. All you’ll need to do is remove the cover before getting into the warm car.
How Not to Warm Up Your Car
You want to get into a warm car when it’s frigid outside. This is understandable. What you don’t want to do is potentially damage the car’s engine or waste gas. There actually are wrong ways to heat up the car’s interior and here are a few of them.
Don’t let the car idle
There are several reasons why idling your car is not a good idea. First, it will not cause the car to warm-up any faster. An article published in Esquire by the Hinkle Charitable Foundation’s Anti-Idling Primer notes that an engine’s performance can be degraded over time. Fuel mileage can also be reduced when a car is frequently left idling.
Along with idling be ineffective and potentially detrimental to the engine, it also causes unnecessary pollution that some cities have made illegal.
One thing you never want to do is leave your car idling in the garage. Even if you have the garage door cracked, it is still not a good idea. Carbon monoxide poisoning is a real concern. If you have curious children, it might be too tempting for them to resist getting into the running vehicle. A simple misstep could send the car through your house or down the driveway.
Turn the car off when running quick errands
You never want to leave your car running when you make a quick stop for coffee, a paper or to run any type of errand. You may only be gone for a few minutes, but this is plenty of time for something to happen.
The vehicle could easily be stolen. After all the keys are already in the ignition. Your also wasting gas and this does cost you money. Then there are the needless greenhouse gas emissions from the vehicle’s exhaust.
It will only take a minute or two for the car to heat back up, once it’s back on the road.
Stay Warm in Your Car
With these tips you can enjoy warm car rides, regardless of how cold it gets outside. It doesn’t take as long as you might think to heat a car up. You don’t have to let it idle for several minutes before getting in.
Out of all these tips the key takeaway is that your car will heat faster when it is moving, not when it’s idling.