Warming Up Cars During The Winter

Can your car get damage by using a remote during the winter in order to remove the ice and snow from the windshields and heat up the vehicle?

The cars are

1995 Saturn SL2, 1994 Chevy Suburban, 1998 Ford Taurus

A remote what?

If you’re talking about a remote starter system, if it’s installed correctly and the vehicles have automatic trannys, no. But the systems have been known to cause problems in some vehicles with modern security systems. And, if you leave the windshield wipers on at night and they’re frozen to the windshield when the car starts, you can burn out the wiper motor.

No damage will result from starting the vehicles remotely, but you’ll waste a lot of gas waiting for the engine to warm up.

If the vehicles do not currently have remote starters I do not recommend having them installed. It’s too easy to mess up the electrical system during installation, and problems often result.

In addition to the very valid information posted by mountainbike and mcparadise, I want to add the following:

Your engine, and your transmission, and your wheel bearings, and your power steering fluid, and even your suspension bushings will actually “warm up” faster if you drive at very moderate/conservative speeds for the first ten minutes or so, as opposed to simply letting the engine idle in your driveway for ten minutes.

You may be more comfortable when getting into the car after it has idled for ten minutes or so in your driveway with the heater running, but that has done nothing for your very expensive transmission or other parts of your car.

Drive train parts and suspension parts don’t get warm while the engine warms. It is generally is also harder on the car as well as using more fuel.

That said, assuming no one steals your car, the total cost doing this is not really much.

Little to no damage from using a remote starter, provided it’s installed correctly. I used the one on my Civic for 7 years without problems.
The only bad thing about it was that I got pretty bad fuel mileage(my lowest tank was 17mpg in my Civic, 12.1mpg in my CX-7 so far). But knowing I didn’t have to work as hard to scrape my windows and I had a heated cabin to get into when I was done was worth it.
If you’re using nothing but the defrost to clear the windows, expect even worse mileage.

@ Joseph_E_Meehan: There is almost NO way for a person to steal a car that’s been turned on by remote starter. There is a cutoff switch that shuts the car down when you go to put it in gear if the key isn’t in the ignition and in the ON position. One cannot simply get in the car, push the brake pedal, put it in gear, and drive off.

Any sub Zero warm up is good.And all the remote start system I have seen, 1995 Montero the oldest was integrated into the security system so theft was not an issue.

Metal is a good heat conductor so just running the engine will warm up drive train parts.Specially in front wheel drive vehicles.

“just running the engine will warm up drive train parts”

But it would take a l-o-o-ong time for that to happen in sub zero weather! Much better off driving slowly to get them warmed up.

Most if not all, stock and aftermarket remote engine start systems will kill the engine if the brake or clutch is pressed and the key is not in the ignition. Some remote systems won’t work if the car is not locked either. It’s pretty safe.