How to Warm up a Car Quickly in Cold Winter Weather

Warming up a cold car is vital for a comfortable journey, so how can you heat the car up faster and get on your way quickly? Here are some tips.

Drive off as soon as you can.

An engine gets warmer much faster when it’s being driven, and will take considerably longer to warm up when stationary.

The best thing to do is to get the car clear of snow and ice, and then as soon as it’s safe, start driving. If possible, take a route which avoids sitting in traffic or at traffic-lights.

Consider an engine coolant pre-heater.

Engine coolant pre-heaters are very common in countries where cold weather is a constant and we were introduced to them by a friend who lives in Toronto, Canada. The basic principle is that a low current, low voltage device is added to the vehicle’s coolant system and then plugged in to an external power source. The pre-heater gently heats the coolant system and keeps it at around 65°C as well as slowly circulating it.

The result of this is that an engine is already at an advantage of warm temperature and will get up to the optimum temperature must fast; meaning your vehicle’s heater will start to produce warm air almost immediately.

The devices are very reliable and you can even plug the device into a smart plug so that it can turn the system on when you wake up, with the car is ready to go when you leave the house.

Make sure the vehicle’s thermostat isn’t stuck.

Engines are fitted with a thermostat. When cold, the thermostat remains closed until the engine is up to optimum temperature. Once the engine is warm, the thermostat opens and allows the warm coolant to circulate the rest of the engine. If the thermostat is faulty, it may be opening too early or not at all.

If your car’s cabin isn’t getting warm over a long period of time you may need to get the thermostat checked out by a professional.

Consider an Oil Pan heater.

Popular in the US, oil pan heaters attach to the metal oil pan (sump) on a vehicle and keep the oil warmer than it would otherwise be when cold.

This heater can be used for an engine block heater, transmission fluid heater, hydraulic fluid heater, fuel heater as well as thawing frozen pipes, water tanks etc.

Turn on electrical devices.

Turning on electrical devices such as lights and heated windscreens will put the alternator under load and make the engine work a little bit harder. This light load will help the vehicle heat up faster.

Park in a Sunny Location.

Don’t under estimate the power of the Sun, even in the coldest of weather. Even if your car is 2’c warmer parking in the sun it will warm up faster, so where possible avoid the shade.

Does your car have a pollen filter? Is it blocked?

Many modern cars are fitted with a pollen filter to prevent pollen entering the cabin in the spring and summer months. Whilst this filter is great for people with allergies, it’s easily blocked by dirt and other particulates.

If you don’t know the service history of your vehicle, have it checked. You may find that replacing the pollen filter will bring all that power flooding back.

Are your cars heater controls working correctly?

Often overlooked but vital; is your car actually selecting hot air on the heater controls? Many basic heater controls use a system on rods to select hot air on the system, and if those rods break if may appear that the heating is set to hot when it’s actually stuck on cold.

Got a garage? Use it.

Place a thermostat in a garage and you’ll quickly realise that it’s a warmer place than outside, even in the depths of winter. If the garage is warmer so will your car be, so if you can, use it.

Warning: do not idle a vehicle in a garage. This causes an increase in poisonous gasses such as carbon monoxide and can kill.

Don’t be tempted to over-rev a cold engine.

Revving a cold engine excessively isn’t a very wise idea; it can put strain on components and cause excessive wear or cracks.