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If you have ever lived in area of severe winters (like me) you may know that when it gets really cold an old trick is to run out and start the car, turn up the heater, and let it run for 10 minutes while you wait inside. Then you have a warm car to ride home in.

Can you do this in a Prius?

I have the transponder which does not require the "key" to be placed in the dash.

air4ce
Edmonton, Canada
04 Salsa Red
 

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air4ce said:
If you have ever lived in area of severe winters (like me) you may know that when it gets really cold an old trick is to run out and start the car, turn up the heater, and let it run for 10 minutes while you wait inside. Then you have a warm car to ride home in.

Can you do this in a Prius?
Fargo is not quite as cold as Alberta, but we get 30 to 40 below zero. (At 40 below you don't have to convert between fahrenheit and celcius. -40 F. = -40 C.)

And it is easy to do. Here's what I do in bitterly cold weather:

1. Remove the mechanical key from the key fob. (I keep it separate, on my keychain all winter, and the fob in the pocket of my parka.)

2. Get in and start the car in the normal manner.

3. Set the heat on Max Hot, the fan on High, and the air source on Recirculate.

4. Leave the fob in the car, get out, and lock the door with the mechanical key. Then run back inside as fast as you can because by this time your toes are feeling the cold.

5. It takes about 5 minutes before there's a good flow of warm air coming out of the vents. Give it a couple of minutes more if you want the car to really warm up a bit.

6. Return to the car and open the door with the mechanical key. Don't forget to put the fob back in your pocket. Drive away warm.

7. Once the car is warm, you may have to switch from recirculated air to outside air to avoid fogging up the windows and windshield. Or use the A/C. But I don't like to use the A/C because I presume that I won't get as much heat that way. So I leave it off and use recirculated air for faster heating initially, and then switch to outside air when I begin to notice fogging.

The Prius gives me more heat, and gives it sooner, than my '89 Honda Civic did.

I don't know if you can leave the car running without leaving the fob in the car. I'm not at all sure why I never tried it that way. For that matter, I don't know if you can take the fob with you and lock the doors with the Smart Lock while the car is running. The answers might be somewhere on http://john1701a.com. That site has mountains of information. Links with a "C" refer to the Classic Prius. Links with an "N" refer to the New (2004) Prius.

I do know that as long as you are calling for cabin heat in extremely cold weather the ICE will never shut off.
 

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idling your vehicle will get you lowered MPG, and also put out unneeded emissions (besides putting extra wear on your car).

In some areas, it may even be illegal. (I know of NYC (NY, USA), all of MA (USA), London (UK), Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal, Canada.

Some info on idling:
http://oee.nrcan.gc.ca/idling/home.cfm
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globemeg ... 11702.html
http://prairie.sierraclub.ca/idling/
http://cartalk.cars.com/About/Eco/tips.html#7

and where it's illegal:
http://www.state.ma.us/legis/laws/mgl/90-16A.htm
http://www.state.ma.us/dep/bwp/daqc/fil ... /7b.htm#11
http://temagami.carleton.ca/jmc/cnews/01022002/n1.shtml
http://www.state.ma.us/legis/laws/mgl/90-13.htm
http://oee.nrcan.gc.ca/autosmart/idling/case.cfm
(and I have some EPA press releases about various people/places they've fined for idling...)

Cars warm up faster when under load (driving), and all of the car gets warmed up when moving (as opposed to just the engine when idling). The Prius warms up fast enough, just drive it!
 

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Michelle, I don't know if you know what forty degrees below zero feels like, or even thirty below. Maybe it doesn't get that cold where you live, or perhaps you have a heated garage. At fifteen below zero, I just get in the car and drive it. But colder than that, yes, I warm up the cab of my car before driving it. It hurts to expose your fingers and toes to such bitter cold. I am an environmentalist, of a sort. I recycle, and I flush only when needed. And of course I drive a Prius. But I draw the line at physical pain.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Daniel / Michelle:

Thank you both for those interesting and helpful posts.

Michelle is right about wear on the car and gas mileage. As a guy who has lived in a sub-arctic city for 50 years...sometimes you just want HEAT at any cost. Of course, not every winter day is like that, but the cold snaps are killers. As the poet Robert Service said: "Talk of the cold, through the parka's fold it stabbed, like a driven nail." At 40 below F (-40 C) and with a little wind it can actually hurt to breathe when that super-cold air hits your sinuses.

Daniel, I have printed out your post and put it in with my owners manual. I am sure I will need it in a few short months.

As a Prius "Newbie" it is interesting to see that Prius owners seem to fall into two distinct groups. There are the self-interested people (like me) who purchased the Prius for good mileage and to save money at the pump. Then there are people who are somewhat more altruistic and are interested in the environmental benefits. Both are good reasons. For every $100.00 I spend on gas on the Prius my wife's 1999 Dodge Minivan will need at least $300.00. And she will do three times the environmental damage.

Thank you both for your great replies.

air4ce
Edmonton, Canada
Salsa Red '04
 

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Daniel said:
Michelle, I don't know if you know what forty degrees below zero feels like, or even thirty below. Maybe it doesn't get that cold where you live, or perhaps you have a heated garage. At fifteen below zero, I just get in the car and drive it. But colder than that, yes, I warm up the cab of my car before driving it. It hurts to expose your fingers and toes to such bitter cold. I am an environmentalist, of a sort. I recycle, and I flush only when needed. And of course I drive a Prius. But I draw the line at physical pain.
Not knowing how cold it is where air4ce is in Alberta, Canada, I thought I'd post about the anti-idling toolkit that's from the Canadian government...

I'd really wish that the US state of MA actually enforced the anti-idling law here. (with the state budget problems, they could make quite a bit of cash just enforcing the laws more, rather than raising fees on existing services!) For example, it's in the mid 40s F here, and my neighbor decided to run their BMW SUV for well over a 1/2 hour to melt off the small layer of frost on the windshield (which took me all of 2 minutes to scrape off of my (off) Prius)... I still don't know why remote car starters are legal here in MA - not that it gets as cold as Fargo such that anyone would need it! (There's also another unenforced MA state law where it's illegal to leave a running car unattended.)
 

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How about a lightbulb on a timer? 25-300w of heat and low tech, almost emission free.
If you get really fancy, you can add a remote to trigger the timer, so on 'warm' days, you can deactivate the light from your warm kitchen.

Just leave the bulb in there as you exit and close her up for the night.
 

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air4ce said:
If you have ever lived in area of severe winters (like me) you may know that when it gets really cold an old trick is to run out and start the car, turn up the heater, and let it run for 10 minutes while you wait inside. Then you have a warm car to ride home in.
Can you do this in a Prius?

-
It was 101 here yesterday and you're talking about cabin heating?
What we need is cabin cooling!
 

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Rensho said:
How about a lightbulb on a timer? 25-300w of heat and low tech, almost emission free.
If you get really fancy, you can add a remote to trigger the timer, so on 'warm' days, you can deactivate the light from your warm kitchen.

Just leave the bulb in there as you exit and close her up for the night.
Forgive my ignorance, but where do you put the lightbulb?
 

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BIF said:
Rensho said:
How about a lightbulb on a timer? 25-300w of heat and low tech, almost emission free.
If you get really fancy, you can add a remote to trigger the timer, so on 'warm' days, you can deactivate the light from your warm kitchen.

Just leave the bulb in there as you exit and close her up for the night.
Forgive my ignorance, but where do you put the lightbulb?
I presume the idea is to leave a lightbulb on inside the cabin of the car. However, in bitterly-cold weather, I doubt this would be adequate, and it would be consuming electricity all night long.

I have long felt that a built-in plug-in electric cabin heater would be a great idea: rather than run the engine to warm the cab, I could use the grid.

At present I live in an apartment, with no way to turn the garage wall socket on and off from my apartment. But I'd be willing to walk out to the garage to turn it on manually.
 

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Winter Engine Block Heater

We used to use an "under-the-hood" mechanic's auto tool light (a 100 watt bulb in a rubberized handle with a metal grill over the bulb to keep it from breaking). You put it against the engine, like on the exhaust manifold or somewhere next to the block, where it will keep the engine warmer than the outside temperature.

You only need it to warm the engine slightly. For instance, if it is below zero outside, 20 degrees will make a big difference in how the engine turns over (thinner oil, less cranking, faster starting).

Be careful putting the light on a hot engine. The exhaust manifold might melt the insulation or rubber on the light and cause a 110 volt short. Also, don't forget it in the morning. The cord can get caught up in the fan blade or belts, etc. Also, not good.

This works pretty well in a garage where the car is protected from wind; but obviously, it wouldn't work very well outside where it is blowing.

A safer and more efficient alternative is an engine block heater. There are several models -- Check out Checker, Auto Zone, Pep Boys, etc.

I would think that the 2004's thermos bottle approach would work pretty good. Anyone have any input on last winter?
 

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Engine Block Heater

I forgot to mention that the purpose of the light bulb under the hood is to make the gasoline engine easier to start and give it a headstart on warming up. That gets heat to the inside faster.

Also, the electricity to run a 100 watt bulb overnight is only a few cents.
 

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I remember a disaster!

The idea of the lightbulb reminds me of a situation from my days in television. It was in the early eighties and I was the grip on a commercial production shoot inside the showroom at the local Volvo dealer. The videographer (a fifty year old guy that should have known better) was trying to get interior shots of the new, big ticket, Volvo wagon. He set up a 500 watt light on a little tripod stand that he put on the floor inside the Volvo to light up the dashboard. About that time I had gone out to our station vehicle to get another videotape. When I came back inside the showroom I saw black smoke coming from inside the Volvo! The videographer had gone to the restroom and was nowhere to be found. I ran over to the car to see that the hot light had fallen against the lower dashboard and the smoke I saw was from melting plastic!!! And what an aroma!!! There was a big hole melted in the dashboard right next to the steering wheel! Needless to say, the Volvo dealer got free commercials for a year after that stunt! Moral to my story? Be careful where you put a hot lightbulb inside a car with a plastic dashboard!!!
 

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Maybe i missed the intent of the original post.

You want cabin heat before you enter right?

Try one of those mechanics light, orange, $6, built in hanger, built in cage around the bulb...

Hang on steering wheel or the ceiling handles(as if hanging dry cleaning)?

Timer at the end of the cord, so it is not on all night. There are 3 variables here: Ambient temp, bulb wattage, and 'on' time. 100w of heat in a semi sealed environment should go a long ways on a cold morning, no?
 

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Michelle, I don't know if you know what forty degrees below zero feels like, or even thirty below. Maybe it doesn't get that cold where you live, or perhaps you have a heated garage. At fifteen below zero, I just get in the car and drive it. But colder than that, yes, I warm up the cab of my car before driving it. It hurts to expose your fingers and toes to such bitter cold. I am an environmentalist, of a sort. I recycle, and I flush only when needed. And of course I drive a Prius. But I draw the line at physical pain.
Do you have a circulatory problem? If not, then Sheesh. Wear socks, a coat and gloves. Yes, I know what -40 feels like, from living in Wisconsin and Minnesota for 30 years.
 
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