Cars and Wind Chill

When it comes to starting a cold car, I agree that wind chill has no effect, but when you are trying to heat up a car, the wind will blow off heat as it builds up and make the warm up time take longer.

The wife of the guy that called in said that he should start the car sooner during high wind conditions in order to heat the car up. I think that makes sense.

Wind chill affects things that produce their own heat and a running car does that.

It’s possible that heat will be transferred from the car via a process known as convection.

The best way to “warm up” a car is to simply put it and gear and drive. Granted, that does not mean you should start and then WHAM instantly drive off, allow 20-30 seconds for the engine to “warm up” and then you should be in business.

I’ve noticed that too. Making the engine work by moving the car does heat it up faster, but the wife wants it warm when she gets in.

Wind or no wind, the best way to warm up a car is by driving off shortly (30 seconds or so) after starting. This puts some load on the engine and creates heat quicker.

I don’t think that wind chill has much to do with it, unless you put the top down. If you are talking about the cabin or the engine compartment, the car body provides a good barrier. The engine takes longer to warm up because it has to use cold air in the winter.

Click, Clack,

I was SO disappointed that you did not recommend to this caller what you’ve said before and others are saying here: that idle warming up is unnecessary and a huge waste of gas! = ZERO MPG!

In addition, a vehicle is MOST EFFICIENT ONLY when at operating temperature and the quickest way to get it there is to DRIVE IT!

So great when you can help move folks into the 21st century!

Technically, “wind chill” affects only exposed skin, and is due in part to evaporation of sweat from the skin (not just cold air). Anything that’s warmer than the air (skin or car) experiences heat transfer to the air. Turbulent air (higher wind speeds) transfers heat better than laminar flow (low wind speed), but strictly speaking, that’s not wind chill.

I agree with the other posters that cars need very little warm-up time, and actually driving it, gently, warms it up the fastest. As far as warming up the cabin, the effect of wind will be negligible. If it’s blowing hard enough to negate the effect of the heater at idle, either stay off the road, close the windows, or drive off after 30-60 seconds of warm up and let the engine get up to temperature quickly. And tell his wife to stop wearing those cute miniskirts during the winter!

But for the many people who like to get into a warm car, what’s the problem with warming it up?

The argument that it wastes gas is weak because no one argues with you when you have to run back to the store for a forgotten loaf of bread, or for taking that Sunday drive for enjoyment, or for buying a car that gets 20 mpg rather than 22 mpg.

I agree with you that it’s unnecessary if they’re warming up their car because they believe it’s “helping the car” (aside from extremely low temps). But if they’re warming it up because they like to drive in a warm car, then none of us are in any position to question it.

Cars do produce their own heat. Mine does. every time a cylinder fires.

Wind chill also affects anything warmer than the ambient environment temperature. It’s a way of quantifying the speed at which the heat is dissipated, which quickens directly in proportion to the wind’s speed. It does not bring the object’s temperature below ambient, but it can get it there much quicker…and in a car it can keep it there longer.

The reason it’s based on exposed skin is because it’s a simplified way of expressing it’s effect on skin…yes, the moisture evaporation is a factor. But it’s about transfer of heat and it does have an affect on machinery’s ability to come to temperature and stay there. Your engine will cool quicker parked facing a strong cold winter wind than it will parked protected. Noticably quicker.

I think this car is a diesel, which requires more heating than a gas engine.

My thinking is that wind blowing over anything that has moisture is affected by wind chill. In the most extreme case, a radiator might be affected by this, and any engine part (and those are few) that have moisture exposed to the air will be adversely affected by air chill. I really can’t speak for diesel engines…

IMO, Click and Clack didn’t fully examine the possibilities. Shocking!

Wind Chill Was Never Meant For The General Public. It Is One Of The Worst Inventions Of Mankind, Right Up There With Body Piercing And Income Tax.

When it’s cold outside one feels cold. When it’s cold outside and windy one feels colder. When it’s cold outside and it’s windy and one is wet or damp one feels even colder. That’s enough to know and that’s how mankind has faced this challenge for centuries. Should anybody feel colder when it’s cold and windy outside, especially if they’re damp, they should put on more dry clothing, start the car earlier, stay home, turn up the thermostat, shut the windows, etcetera, etcetera, whatever, whatever.

Why try and replace common sense with rocket science or has common sense been lost? What’s next a Rain Wetness Chart so some dolt can figure out how wet he’ll feel if he doesn’t know to come in out of the rain?

P.S. Wind Chill Charts are even contributing to child obesity! We’ve got Bozos in the schools around where I live that keep kids in from recess on nice sunny days because the Wind Chill Chart, meant for exposed flesh, tells them that it’s too cold. The only problem is that the kids aren’t naked! The sun’s heat is never factored in. The temperature is taken in the shade and they use gusts of wind for wind speed. It’s ridiculous! The kids go home after school when it’s even colder outside and stay outside for hours. Using Wind Chill we are going to be raising a generation of obese sissies.

Everybody, do me a favor, forget about Wind Chill, unless you are in military survival training.

CSA, Thanks I feel much better, now.

Wind Chill Blows

I’m usually not a big Slate fan, but check this out:

Been through military cold weather survival training. Worked on military flightlines and missile silos in North Dakota for three years.

Wind chill can make a huge difference. Many froze to death in North Dakota (before cell phones) by underestimating its effects. Remember, not only does a fierce wind rapidly dissipate heat from exposed skin, it also rapidly disspates it from the clothing that you’re using to keep warm. It’s harder to stay warm in a -60 degree wind chill that it is in a -30 degree ambient without wind.

I urge all of you in severe climates to recognize the effects of wind chill. While I agree that the terminology may be misleading, wind chill is a real threat.

CSA, you know I respect you, but I have to strongly disagree on this one.

TSM, No Problem. I Don’t Think There Is Disagreement. I mentioned Military Training.

Human instincts have protected people from “wind chill” for eons. People intrinsically turn their faces from the wind and rush inside when it’s cold and windy.

Thank You for your Military Service, Sir!

Respectfully, CSA

And that’s how people get confused about wind chill and cars. A -60 wind chill doesn’t make a car any colder than the ambient temp.

Thank you for your thank you. They were good years.

I guess our disagreement is in the invention of the concept of “wind chill” and its application. While the representation of the concept by stating "-60 degrees (for example) is, I think, extremely poor and confusing, at least it’s a means of presenting to people the danger of the addition of wind to cold temperatures. I think the schools are doing the right thing by protecting young kids based on it.

Young kids aren’t aware enough to know that they’re on the verge of severe frostbite. They’te too distracted by their activities. We need to err on the side of protecting them. I froze my ears when I was little and the experience was extremely painful…and big swollen red ears are no fun for a kid to have aesthetically.

A -60 wind chill doesn’t make a car any colder than the ambient temp.

Well, it can make some difference, but not -60 worth.

If the car has been out all night then then there will be no difference. If the car has been warm or is warming up, it will be subject to some cooling effect, but not nearly as much as windchill.

You’re right, it’ll cool faster, but still to no temperature lower than the ‘real’ temperature.