Is it smart to turn the heater off each time you leave the vehicle? In the back of my mind, I remember reading this years ago from one of the old auto writers (maybe Tom McCahill in Mechanix Illustrated). The idea being to have less coolant capacity that needed to be heated up to the engine's regular operating temperature. The engine gets warm more quickly and then you can turn on the heater. This would be easier on the engine also. Also, years ago, I read that in hot weather in slow traffic you can use the extra coolant capacity of the heater to keep the engine from overheating. Do these two statements hold true with our vehicles of today?
Well, to a point. It may cause for a faster warm up if the heater was left off, but not only just in the off position but in the cool position. However, if you really consider the amount of extra coolant in the heater core as compared to what is already in the engine block and the radiator it is almost negligible.
Regarding your other tip, this is something that you could do to save the car from overheating. Simply put the fan to high, the temp selector to hot and turn off the a/c and open the windows. The heater core in this case would operate like an added radiator helping to remove excess engine heat.
Bob, The Auto Answer Man
If you have a question for Bob send it to: . He's able to answer many of them personally and we'll include the best questions in future issues of The Dollar Stretcher.
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