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How to Keep Your Car Warm Overnight (5 Easy Ways)

The onset of winter does not exempt us from rising early to go to work. That might mean struggling with a car that hesitates to start and a seat that sends cold chills to our spine. But we can save ourselves all that trouble by keeping the car warm overnight.

Here are 5 ways to keep your car warm overnight:

  • Park your car in a heated and insulated garage. 
  • Use an engine block heater. 
  • Use an oil pan heater. 
  • Place an electric blanket over the engine. 
  • Replace the engine oil dipstick with a dipstick heater. 

This article will explain how to implement all 5 car heating methods in detail. Read on for the details!

Pro-tip: If you’re more concerned with keeping your body warm in a car overnight than with keeping your actual car warm, a camping blanket is the way to go.

Unlike regular blankets, camping blankets are designed to keep as much of your body heat inside as possible – thus keeping you much warmer than a normal blanket when you’re sleeping in a car. If you need to stay warm in your car, check out the best camping blankets on now. 

Keeping your car warm through the night: why it’s important.

Cases of cars failing to start or taking longer than usual to ignite are common in winter.

There are two reasons why winter is rough on your vehicle:

  1. When a car engine starts, it pumps oil to lubricate all the moving parts. In low temperatures, however, your car engine becomes harder to turn since the oil inside coagulates.
  2. Because the car’s engine is already hardened, it requires more current from the battery to move the car. But the cold reduces the amount of energy your battery can produce, slowing down or completely halting the chemical processes that power the battery.

The high current demands of the starter motor can make the battery compress, creating a poor connection. This prevents the battery from getting fully charged, and the consequence is that the connection cools off when you need to move your car. As a result, you will need to try igniting your car more than once before you get a successful ignition.

It has been established that starting your car with a frozen engine wears it down and reduces its life. As such, it’s important to start your car on a warm engine and battery. Saving both your engine and battery from damage is good enough reason to keep your car warm through the night.

So, what options do you have to help you keep your car engine and battery warm? Below, we’ll discuss five ways you can use to heat your car overnight and keep your engine and battery in normal functioning.

5 ways to keep your car warm through the night.

You will have understood by now that what we need to keep warm is the car’s fluids. These will keep the engine and battery alive, ready for normal take off any time. Here are the five ways that keep your car fluids warm, preventing engine wear and tear and giving you a more pleasant morning when you need to get to work.

1. Parking your car in a heated garage.

Parking a car in the open overnight leaves it unshielded from the extreme cold temperatures. Parking it inside a garage is already a way of keeping it warmer. Even if the garage is uninsulated, your car will stay warmer in than it will out in the open.

Parking your car in a heated garage will achieve better outcomes because it will prevent the engine and battery fluids from freezing. A temperature of 55-72℉ (12.8-22.2℃) is recommended.

A garage can be heated in the same way as any other living space in a home. You do not need to maintain high temperatures, but a constant temperature that’s enough to prevent your car engine and battery fluids from freezing. There are many other innovative garage-heating methods that you can use depending on your location and how much you want to invest.

2. Use an engine block heater.

Engine block heaters are the most common form of vehicle engine heaters. The majority of cars already have one installed when they are manufactured, and those without can have one installed by a professional.

The block heater is installed in the engine to heat the coolant that then transmits heat to the entire engine. The block heater has a cord attached to it. You’ll find the cord under your car’s hood, and you can plug it into a household outlet.

3. Using oil pan heaters.

An oil pan heater has a heating element that is placed at the bottom of the oil pan to keep the engine oil warm. This means that warm oil runs into your car’s engine when you start it, preventing the engine parts from rubbing on each other and causing unnecessary wear.

If you need an oil pan heater, I recommend Kat’s 150 Watt Engine Oil Pan Heater. Its silicone covering makes it resistant to acid and oil, and its thermostatic control places it a cut above its competitors.  

Kat’s 24150 150 Watt 4″x 5″ Engine Oil Pan Heater

4. Place an electric blanket over your car’s engine.

An electric blanket is placed on top of the engine or inside the hood to radiate heat into the engine fluids. Once put in place, the blanket is plugged into a socket and left on for a couple of hours. Be sure to remove the blanket before starting the engine.

If you’d like to try this heating method, I recommend the Sunbeam Microplush Heating Blanket. It has 10 different heat settings, a 10-hour auto-off function, and is made out of 100% polyester that provides excellent heat insulation. 

Sunbeam Microplush Heated Blanket

5. Replace your car’s engine oil dipstick with a dipstick heater.

The dipstick heater is a cheap and easy device to use. You simply remove your usual engine oil dipstick and replace it with a dipstick heater so that the oil is heated directly and runs easily into the engine when you ignite your car. Of course, you need to remove the dipstick heater and place back the engine oil dipstick before getting your car on the go.

The dipstick heater has a cord that is plugged into a power source. The oil must occupy at least 5 inches (12.7cm) of the oil tube to avoid damage.

All these methods will be more efficient if you replace old batteries and use a lightweight synthetic oil in your car engine.

Some of the methods will take a longer time to heat your car, and others may just keep your oil warm, so your car engine is served with warm oil when you start it. But, at what temperatures and for roughly how long should you consider using these car-heating methods?

At what temperatures and for how long should you warm your car?

You do not need to warm your car the entire night. Generally, 4 hours prior to using the car are good enough to warm the fluids and get your car moving without damaging the engine, battery, or the starter motor.

It is advised that you heat your car only when temperatures drop to -15℃ (5℉). To save yourself the trouble of waking up in the night to plug in the heater, you can install a timer on your heater so that it turns on automatically when required.

Final thoughts

Starting a car with a cold engine and battery causes wear and tear. Although many people think it is enough to switch your car engine on for a couple of minutes before driving it, doing so not only wastes gas and time, it also adds to the carbon footprint.

Keeping your car warm overnight is crucial. You have warm oil running into your engine, and the chemical processes of the battery function correctly. As a result, you can ignite your car without any delays, and you don’t have to deal with a dead battery.

To keep your car warm overnight, heat your garage, use an engine block heater, or replace your engine oil dipstick with a dipstick heater.

Heating your car for 4 hours prior to igniting it is good enough. Besides, you only need to heat your car when temperatures hit -15℃ (5℉).


  • Steve Rajeckas

    Steve Rajeckas is an HVAC hobbyist with an avid interest in learning innovative ways to keep rooms, buildings, and everything else at the optimal temperature. When he's not working on new posts for Temperature Master, he can be found reading books or exploring the outdoors.

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