Tips For Warming Up Your Car in the Winter

February 15th, 2021 by

Staying safe on the roads during the cold, dark winter months is more challenging than when the weather is fine. Whether you want to avoid engine trouble during bitterly cold weather or you’re looking for some practical tips on staying warm while driving, this article will help you warm up your car this winter and keep you safer while driving. 

Snow Pathway Between Trees during Winter

Bring a Hot Beverage

Whether it’s freshly brewed coffee or a cup of healthy green tea, there are few better ways to warm yourself up than by sipping on a hot beverage. You can bring along a flask or cup that fits into your car’s cupholder and take a sip when you’re stopped at a red light.

Park in a Heated Garage

If you have an insulated garage, you’re in luck. Parking your car in a heated garage is one of the best ways to keep the vehicle warm during freezing weather and ensure that the engine stays protected. The temperature doesn’t need to be particularly warm in the garage; constant and hotter than 55 degrees should suffice.

Use an Electric Blanket

Not everyone has the luxury of heating in their garage. If you use a garage to store your vehicle but it doesn’t have heating, the engine is almost as exposed to the elements as if you left your vehicle on a driveway or out on the street. It’s not quite as cold in an unheated garage as it is outside, but there’s not a huge difference. The humble electric blanket can help you out with the extra heat your car needs.

Electric blankets are useful for keeping engines warm during cold weather as well as people. Plug a spare electric blanket into a socket in your garage and place the blanket over the engine. Close the hood on top of the blanket. The heat produced prevents the engine from getting too cold. Closing the hood is an important tip that stops heat from escaping.

Drive Over Idle

The conventional advice for warming up your car in colder months is to switch the engine on and leave it idling for minutes at a time. However, a better way to do this is to turn the engine on for 30 seconds before you plan to drive and then start your journey.

Not only is the advice to keep your engine running on idle for lengthy periods incorrect, but it also damages the environment. An idling engine emits greenhouse gases and particulate matter into the air. If your car isn’t going anywhere, the environmental damage is unnecessary.

In fact, once you start driving, the engine heats up more. The best way to warm your car up before driving is to put the key in the ignition, start your motor, and wait no more than 30 seconds with the engine running before moving off on your journey. The best way to actually warm your car up is to drive. An engine that’s switched on but not doing anything doesn’t have to work hard at all, which means less heat. The harder the engine works, the hotter it gets.

Buy a Block Heater

An engine block heater is a cheap and efficient way to keep your engine from getting too cold and avoiding any problems with starting your car during cold weather. These cheap devices can pre-heat your engine before you start driving without any of the damaging environmental impacts of running the engine on idle. The great thing about block heaters is you can set a timer on them so that they start heating your vehicle three or four hours before you plan to drive.

If you are fortunate enough to own a car with a modern feature like remote start, use this sparingly as a way of warming the engine. In fact, try to avoid the remote start function altogether as an option for combating cold weather. The problem with remote start is that you might start your engine remotely and then get distracted by an errand you forgot to do. Before you know it, you’ve had your engine idling for several minutes, which is not the best solution.

Use Winter Motor Oil

Due to the plummeting temperatures in winter, the oil in your engine can thicken. Remember that the function of motor oil inside an engine is to keep the engine lubricated and running smoothly. When the engine’s oil becomes too thick due to cold temperatures, problems can start. The oil doesn’t flow well when it’s higher in viscosity, which can cause problems with starting the engine and puts extra strain on the vehicle’s battery.

Synthetic oils are usually the best choices for winter motor oils. The reason is that they don’t contain any waxes that can solidify when the temperature drops during the harshest winter months. The absence of waxes gives synthetic oils lower viscosity and better flow in cold weather. The benefit is that your car tends to start easier and the oil flows smoother, protecting the engine from wear and tear.

Keep Blankets in the Car

You know how to ensure the car runs smoothly now during winter, but there will be days when even your car’s heater doesn’t feel warm enough to keep you or your passengers comfortable. A good way to at least make your vehicle feel warmer for passengers during harsh winter temperatures is to keep some spare blankets in the back seats that people can put over their legs while the heater starts to warm your car’s interior.

Now you know how to keep your engine warm during the winter months when you need to drive during cold weather. Put some of these tips into action and make winter driving a more pleasant and safer experience. Have we missed any of your favorite cold-weather tips? Let us know at Oxmoor Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram. If you’re in the market for a new, modern vehicle to help keep you warm and safe this winter, check out our range of new cars.

Posted in Auto Service Tips