However, with the after market parking heater available nowadays for almost every newly-launched vehicle, this can all go away. We know this sounds more like a morning ad, but bear with us as we're about to unveil the mechanism behind this innovative, yet simple device aimed at warming the inside of your car – engine compartment included – way before you actually get into it.
The best thing about it is that you can use anything from a timer, remote control or even your mobile phone to set off the parking heater. They all work just as efficient. The main idea is that you don't necessarily have to start the engine yourself in order to warm it (and, along with it, the car's interior) but set it off from you home, prior to getting into the car. There are some car heaters that have the single function of warming up the engine compartment, while the interior of the car remains at the same cold-freezing temperatures as before.
The basic principle on which a parking heater is based on is the heating of the element from within the device. As it's practically an electric unit, the element is supplied energy from an outside source and starts to heat. At the same time, once the device is activated,
After that, the coolant fluid that circulates around the device is slowly being warmed. It first reaches the car's heat exchanger, from which the warm air is being redirected towards the inner section of the car via the ventilation system, and after that the actual engine compartment. The next and last step of the cycle is the liquid being headed back to the parking heater device, from which this action will repeat itself for as long as it is necessary in order to reach the desired temperature inside the vehicle.
Now, we know what most of you will say: the main disadvantage of using such a unit is higher fuel consumption ratings. First of all, regardless of the amount of car's interior you're about to warm, the overall fuel consumption for that operation only is around a quarter-to-half a liter. That would be more than enough to heat up your car's engine and interior for approximately half-an-hour, which is more or less the projected aim for the parking heater's efficiency period (the official data differs from 15 to 30 minutes).
On the other hand, however, almost a third of that fuel loss will be compensated by the advantages of running the engine already heated. Most of you know by now that starting a car with a cold engine can be highly detrimental in terms of wear. In addition to that, the level of CO2 emissions when cold-starting an engine is approximately double as compared to starting a warm power plant, while the fuel consumption level in the former case is also higher than in the latter. Therefore, pre-warmed units not only work better in terms of engine protection, but also from an environmental and fuel-efficient point of view.
During winter time, there are some other advantages – more comfort related this time – to using this device day in and day out. The parking heater makes sure the windows of your car are not icy or frosted when you enter it, therefore allowing you to quickly start your car once you've turned on the engine.
While the pre-heating unit might come as an optional feature when you buy your car from the dealer, another option would be to go to an aftermarket parts maker and ask them to install a pre-heating kit on your existing vehicle. We're not trying to advertise for anyone on this site, but it's widely known that a bunch of companies have already established themselves as good decent players on that market. Among those, we'd like to include DEFA (Norwegian player in the Northern European market) or Webasto (German company).