Consumer Reports: How to Get the Most out of Your Car’s Heater This Winter

Winter is here to stay, folks. Are you having trouble staying warm in the early morning house? Consumer Reports has some tips on making the most of your car’s heater during winter. Here are some easy ways to stay warm this winter in your car, truck, or SUV.

Consumer Reports wants your car to heat up in a hurry

Consumer Reports on how to get the most out of your car's heater
Consumer Reports on how to get the most out of your car’s heater | Danny Lawson/PA Images via Getty Images

There aren’t many things colder than a car on an early morning. If you are new to the winter weather, you might not know how long it takes to warm up your vehicle correctly. Consumer Reports asked Jake Fisher, senior director of auto testing at Consumer Report, to share some tips. First things first, get the car moving.

“Modern cars don’t need much to warm up before taking off, but it does take a long time for cars to warm up if they’re not moving.”

Consumer Reports

The sooner the vehicle gets moving, the quicker it will heat up. The engine heat will contribute to the warming process. So hop in the car and get to driving through the winter wonderland.

Don’t crank the heat to high right away, Consumer Reports warns

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If you jump in the car and crank the air up high along with the heat, you might give yourself an extra winter chill. Wait for the air to warm up before turning it up to high. Otherwise, you might blow a lot of cold air into the cabin. If you have an automatic climate control system, you can set it to the temperature you prefer. This will bring the car to the desired temperature as soon as possible. Such systems are not as common in older cars.

Consumer Reports also suggests keeping the air conditioning on. “That button on your dash controls the air conditioning compressor, which performs a critical task when temperatures dip, namely dehumidifying the air.” Shutting that off could cause the cabin to get foggy and reduce visibility out the windshield.

Turning on the a/c cools down the air at first, but it gets heated up before entering the cabin. This can help keep the moisture down.

There are a variety of ways to stay warm in the winter

Consumer Reports says the recirculation mode on your car probably won’t benefit you much. Using this will keep water vapor from our breath in the cabin. Getting fresh air in the vehicle will help keep the windows clear. You can also crack a window if you happen to have a full car. This can help further release water vapor from passengers and get some fresh air inside.

Unlike the air conditioning, the heater doesn’t cost extra to use. Heat is generated through the engine and will get pushed elsewhere if not in the cabin. So feel free to use all of the heat you want throughout the winter months. Stay warm this winter, even if it means using your heater all season long. Consumer Reports said so!

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