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Old 11-01-2014, 05:49 PM
 
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I've thought about getting one. Takes 2 to 3 miles before my heater starts to blow warm air. Do they work? Are they safe? If I use one, I'd use it for the first 5 miles depending on how cold it is and then turn off & unplug when engine heat catches up.
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Old 11-01-2014, 06:30 PM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
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They are safe, but pretty useless. You could hold it and aim on your face and keep it warm, but it's not going to heat up the whole inside of the car unless maybe you have a Smart for One. The kind that plugs in to 110 volts and heats up the whole inside, the is removed befre you take off may be a better choice, but just warming the car 5 minutes before you leave is better yet. That's why most now come with remote start.
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Old 11-01-2014, 06:38 PM
 
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I bought one last winter when my blower motor was out.....
It's like a really low powered blow dryer.
And it's not very effective.
If you have no heat, its better than nothing.
But I'd say don't bother otherwise.
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Old 11-01-2014, 06:39 PM
 
Location: Broomfield, Colorado
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I bought one during the Winter of 2011, when I was on-call to plow snow for the city of Colorado Springs, so that I could get the ball rolling on getting my windshield defrosted when I was called up.... it did work somewhat, but those things don't last worth a damn. The next Winter (and not very late into it), it just up and died on me.
I'd have to be desperate in order to buy another.
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Old 11-01-2014, 07:06 PM
 
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i also used one once, and it was useless. but it gave me the impetuous to fix the heater in my car at the time.
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Old 11-02-2014, 07:37 AM
 
8,142 posts, read 5,998,122 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by victimofGM View Post
I've thought about getting one. Takes 2 to 3 miles before my heater starts to blow warm air. Do they work? Are they safe? If I use one, I'd use it for the first 5 miles depending on how cold it is and then turn off & unplug when engine heat catches up.
Not sure whether to recommend getting your thermostat checked or not.. Generally a long time to warm up means a stuck open thermostat.. but.. 2 to 3 miles.. Even on a perfectly operating car I doubt it's up to operating temp in that timeframe.
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Old 11-02-2014, 08:25 AM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
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What kind of car?
What kind of terrain in first few miles (Mine is all downhill for 7 miles, my diesels never blow warm till they are working (pulling a hill).

Plug-in (12V) heaters are too low wattage for much heat.

Alternative is a 'tank-heater' plug-in heater for your coolant.
or... Cardboard in front of most of the radiator.
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Old 11-02-2014, 09:31 AM
 
Location: Raleigh, NC
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Your post wasn't too clear on if you wanted to heat the entire car, or just yourself.

If the entire car, then read above about your thermostat. The energy required to heat your cabin is far far more than is available from your battery. Rely on your engine heat: Burning gas creates heat. A LOT of heat. That's why they call them "internal combustion engines!". It's their job. It shouldn't take more than 2-3 minutes to start blowing air hot enough so that you couldn't hold hour bare hand in front of it for more than 30 seconds, then maybe another 5-10 to heat up the cabin enough to defrost the side windows. You might have to direct the hot air to the back for the rear window, if you don't have a back glass heating grid.
Also: car thermostats are one of the most simple and cheapest things in a car to remove, diagnose, and replace. Check YouTube.

If you are talking about just yourself, you could consider a heating seat-cover.
My girlfriend was a nurse and got off work very late at night, and complained about driving home while sitting on a freezing seat. So I got her the heating mat.
The good news: She would plug it in immediately after getting in the car, and before she drove a block, she stopped feeling the cold seat, and another 2 blocks it was comfy and she loved it.
The bad news: Several times, she forgot to unplug it and it drained her battery in just a few hours. She needed to get Good Samaritans to give her a jump-start. She ended up making a routine so anytime she plugged it in, she also always tossed her purse into the back seat. That way as she was getting out of the car, she would be reminded to unplug the heater.
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Old 11-02-2014, 10:35 AM
 
Location: Southern Arizona
9,308 posts, read 25,652,204 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by victimofGM View Post
I've thought about getting one. Takes 2 to 3 miles before my heater starts to blow warm air. Do they work? Are they safe? If I use one, I'd use it for the first 5 miles depending on how cold it is and then turn off & unplug when engine heat catches up.
Clueless on the "plug in heater" you've mentioned, Victim . . .

However, have you considered an engine block heater? Kinda like a Battery Tender except it keeps the engine oil and water warm overnight so there's no warm-up period in the morning?

Relatively rare here in Southern Arizona but fairly common in Alaska and other cold areas.
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Old 11-02-2014, 10:50 AM
 
Location: Not far from Fairbanks, AK
16,166 posts, read 27,421,913 times
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If the thermostat is not bad, all the OP has to do is to let the motor warm up for a few minutes before driving. Depending on ambient temperature and motor size/design, it could take a lot more than three miles of driving before you get hot air.

Last edited by RayinAK; 11-02-2014 at 11:02 AM..
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