How Long Should It Take a Heater to Warm Up in Cold Weather

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When you turn on your car’s heater, it should start blowing warm air. If the engine is already at operating temperature, this should happen immediately. However, if your engine is cold, it will take longer and if the weather is cold, the process is even lengthier.

There’s no real answer to how long it should take a heater to warm up during cold weather. It really depends on several different factors. One of those is the type of vehicle you’re driving. Most older cars can require several minutes or so to come up to operating temperature and for the heater to start working. However, some newer cars require only a minute or two. Another factor is the temperature – if it’s very, very cold (think northern Minnesota in January), then it can take longer for even newer cars to build up enough heat to create warm air in the cabin. Other considerations include the following:

  • Thermostat Condition: The thermostat in your car restricts coolant flow depending on engine operating temperature. If it’s stuck open, your heater might never blow warm air because the engine’s operating temperature never reaches the right level.

  • Low Coolant: If your engine coolant level is low, your heater might blow mildly warm air, or it might blow only cool air. That’s because your car’s heater works on coolant – the coolant cycles through the engine, absorbs heat, and then transports that to the heater core in your dash, where it’s used to warm the air blown out of your vents.

If your heater takes a long time to warm up, or never warms up at all, it’s a sign that there’s something wrong, and you’ll need to your heater inspected and diagnosed by a professional mechanic.


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Recent Heater is not working Inspection reviews

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YourMechanic Heater is not working Inspection Service

Average Rating

4.9/5

Number of Reviews

116

Rating Summary
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Victor

33 years of experience
98 reviews
Victor
33 years of experience
Dodge Ram 1500 - Heater is not working - Albuquerque, New Mexico
Victor from Your Mechanic, arrived on time. He was professional, friendly and polite. He answered any questions concerning my vehicle's issue. He pinpointed the part in need of replacement and repair. I would highly recommend Victor to anyone looking for a mechanic.
Jeep Wrangler - Heater is not working - Albuquerque, New Mexico
Victor did a fantastic job on my Jeep. He wasn't able to fix the issue, unfortunately, but he diagnosed the problem and was able to get me some quotes from places I could take it to have it fixed. I will definitely recommend him to any friends or family in need of mechanical work and will keep him in mind for any future issues I may have!

Theodore

14 years of experience
1084 reviews
Theodore
14 years of experience
Lincoln Mark VIII - Heater is not working - Bothell, Washington
Always helpful, honest and quick. A great mechanic! Gives us cost effective choices on an older car to fix it and keep it going!

Joe

12 years of experience
4 reviews
Joe
12 years of experience
Pontiac G6 - Heater is not working Inspection - Blue Springs, Missouri
He arrived on time. He has a great ability to explain what he was going so we understood completely I will request Joe to come out next time i have a car problem

Antonios

16 years of experience
51 reviews
Antonios
16 years of experience
Ford Taurus - Heater is not working - Charlestown, Massachusetts
Antonios was incredibly friendly and thorough with the entire inspection! I had a lot of questions, all that were answered clearly. I definitely feel that he went above and beyond any expectation I had. Highly highly recommend!

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