Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls
  1. Home
  2. Articles
  3. How Long Should It Take a Heater to Warm Up in Cold Weather

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

car heater

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.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

P2159 OBD-II Trouble Code: Vehicle Speed Sensor B Range/Performance
Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC): P2159 P2159 code definition Vehicle Speed Sensor B Range/Performance...
P2422 OBD-II Trouble Code: Evaporative Emissions Control System (EVAP) Vent Valve Stuck Closed
Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC): P2422 P2422 code definition Evaporative Emissions Control System (EVAP)...
Auto Safety Tips
Driving is more than a way to get from point A to point B. Owning and driving a car can also be a highly enjoyable experience. Whether a person is driving...

Related questions

Q: My Chevy blazer is overheating and the heater started blow cold air but now doesn't work at all what could that be?

The heater not working in some cases may be related to the overheating problem you are also having. This may be due to a faulty heater blower motor or potentially a bad heater core. As you may know, the heater...

Q: The A/C isn't blowing cold - 2009 Nissan Murano

Hello, thank you for writing in. The system in your vehicle will not take "freon". While this is what a lot of people refer to refrigerant as, it is not the same. Make sure you have r134a type refrigerant in...

Q: Why Does It Take a Long Time for a Heater to Warm Up in Winter?

The heater in a vehicle gets its warmth from the engine. The engine has to warm up, and heat up the liquid coolant circulating throughout the engine, before any heat is available for people comfort. During winter, when outside temperatures...