Preventing Having to Warm Up Your Car

An elderly man told me there was something you could buy to put in your car to prevent you from having to warm it up in the morning during the winter months. He said you could buy it from any auto store but I can't remember what the name of it was. Can anyone advise?


By Onesummer

July 20, 20090 found this helpful

You don't really need to warm up your car in the winter. This is copied from Click and Clack on Car Talk Radio broadcast on PBS radio.

1. Your engine warms up quickest with some load on it, i.e. driving it.

2. An idling engine runs very ineffienctly and pollutes more than a loaded one. In addition, your are not moving while you're idling; causing even more waste.

3. The fuel/air mixture during idling is not the best for maximum engine life; raw gas washes the oil off the cylinder walls.

4. If you warm up the engine first, than take off fast, you are putting incredible strain on the other components of the car that are still cold. Taking off shortly after starting warms up the whole power train and suspension together.

In spite of the (4) points, you need to idle the car long engough to get the engine oil to circulate to the valve gear on top of the engine. In most of the US, with 5W30 oil this takes no more than 20 seconds or so. If you start the car, belt yourself in, check mirrors, you should be ready to take off gently and when the temperature gage is half way to normal, you can blast off.

In all cases, make sure your windows are clear before taking off.

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July 20, 20090 found this helpful

What you are looking for is called an engine or block heater. They install in the cooling system and heat the coolant and circulate it through the engine to prewarm it. They plug into an outlet, which should be on a timer, to turn it on at a set time, if it doesn't have a built in timer. While some of the other post may be true, I have had temps so cold the engine doesn't reach operating temp on the 25 minute drive to work.

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July 21, 20090 found this helpful

What kind of cold weather are we talking about? Here is Saskatchewan, all our vehicles come equipped with block heaters, and we plug them in during the winter. Most people still warm up their car somewhat, as it is darn cold driving when it is -40 C or F-- same temp. A block heater is not used, really, to warm up the engine. It is used to enable one to start the car in very cold weather. A car that has been plugged in and warmed with a block heater still needs to be warmed up to a temp inside where you can touch the steering wheel without freezing your hands inside your gloves.

Some people also have car warmers that are installed inside the cars that warm up the interior so that it is warm enough to drive in extremely cold weather. An interior car warmer does nothing for the engine; only warms up the interior for the passengers.

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July 22, 20090 found this helpful

We used a heating pad and a blanket, the pad was on the engine, the blanket wasn't over the whole hood with the hood down. It doesn't have to be on high, just low will work for the pad. The metal conducts heat.

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July 22, 20090 found this helpful

The item you are referring to for your car is called a tank heater.

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November 13, 20090 found this helpful

Some people have mentioned block heaters so I'll say no more about that. But there are also dip stick heaters which heat up your oil and the block in tandem.

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