How Long Should You Warm Your Car Up in the Winter?


If you’re a Canadian, you know the feeling of getting into a freezing cold car on a brisk winter morning. Most drivers like to start up the engine, turn on the heated seats, warm the windshields and warm up themselves before pulling out of their driveway. A common belief is that driving a car in the freezing winter without warming it up is bad for the car. In this article, we’re going to talk about how long you should warm up your car before driving and give you four tips to heat up the interior of your car quickly. 

Do You Really Need to Warm Up Your Car Engine?

People overestimate the importance of warming up your engine before driving. This is mostly due to the fact that the way vehicle engines were designed in the past, warming up the engine was important. Today, the only reason you’d ever need to warm up your vehicle is for lubrication. In order for the vehicle engine to be lubricated, it takes about 30 seconds for the oil to fully circulate.  Once the oil has fully circulated and coated all the necessary areas, your vehicle is safe and ready to be driven.

Young kid cleans off snow from car in winter

How to Speed Up Warming Your Car’s Interior

We all know the feeling of waking up cold and then walking out to your freezing car, for you to shiver for the first five minutes of your drive. It’s not a feeling anyone down south is jealous of. Despite the common belief that letting your engine run idle will warm up the interior of your car, this is not true. There are much better ways to warm up the interior of your vehicle and we’ll list 4 ways to do so here.

1. Don’t Idle, DRIVE

The worst thing you can do is to wait in your driveway and hope that your idling engine will warm up your vehicle. You’d be much better off just hitting the road right away and letting the heat of your engine build up and warm your interior. Car’s are as efficient as ever today, making your car interior warm up quickly once you actually get the car driving. 

2. Buy a Car with Heated Seats

Unfortunately, if your current vehicle doesn’t have heated seats installed, you’re out of luck with this tip. But the good news is, you can make sure you buy your next vehicle with heated seats as today most base model vehicles come with heated seats. It shouldn’t be hard to find a used vehicle with heated seats installed either. If you have heated seats, you know how quickly they warm up and how much of a lifesaver they are. 

3. Start Your Engine Remotely

Arguably the best way to make sure the interior of your car is warm before you get into the vehicle is by using a remote starter. Many vehicles models released in the last five years now have the option to start their vehicle remotely through either their key fab or through a mobile app. But not to worry, if your vehicle didn’t come with a remote starter there are after-market options to install!

4. Keep the Vehicle Warm Overnight

Rather than using our other tips, keeping your vehicle warm overnight will lessen the pain of getting in your car in the morning. There are a few different ways you can keep your vehicle warm overnight.

  • Plug in your vehicle’s block heater overnight. Doing so will keep the vehicle’s coolant warm to both help the engine start-up and heat up the car quicker. 
  • Park in a garage. Most garages aren’t well insulated, but keeping your vehicle in a garage overnight will still keep the car warmer than leaving it outside. 
  • Periodically use remote start through the night. While this isn’t yet a common feature in vehicles, Ford recently introduced FordPass Connect that supports scheduled remote starts. 

Be Vigilant of Car Thefts

If you do decide to warm your car up before driving, make sure you don’t leave the keys in the ignition if the vehicle is out of your sight. You may think this is super unlikely to happen but in 2019 over 200 idling vehicles were stolen in Edmonton. 

Looking for a Car With Heated Seats and Remote Start?

Car Loans Canada can help you get in a vehicle that has heated seats and a remote starter so you’ll never have to worry about freezing cold Canadian mornings again. Fill out our short application and get approved for a car loan today!

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