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

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

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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Victor

34 years of experience
148 reviews
Victor
34 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!

Andrew

10 years of experience
671 reviews
Andrew
10 years of experience
Dodge Journey - Heater is not working - Kansas City, Missouri
I swear he is the best mechanic ever ! I really enjoy him working on my vehicles this is the second time and he has came in handy ! He will be the only person that will work on my vehicle from here on out!

Michael

22 years of experience
53 reviews
Michael
22 years of experience
BMW 740Li - Heater is not working - Southfield, Michigan
Gave me the real issue with my vehicle, and did not replace a part that was not needed too be! Trustworthy!

Michael

20 years of experience
120 reviews
Michael
20 years of experience
Ford Ranger - Heater is not working - Chino, California
Overall, I had a great service from Michael Pierce. He arrived early, identified the underlying issue as well as other non-related minor issues. He communicated well (simple and to the point) and elaborated on any questions or clarifications I had.

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