Wind chill on a car


The Chart For Wind Chill Should Be Huge !

I never get steady wind, it’s usually gusty. If it’s 15mph, gusting to 27 mph, the weather guessers use the higher speed to tell the “real feel,” but it’s wrong.

Different clothing allows different amounts of wind penetration. Then there’s ground obstructions, varying direction, and humidity and . . .

. . . the Wind Chill chart should be huge. That’s why it doesn’t work for me, it doesn’t help, too many factors. It’s for exposed flesh and I never go outside naked . . . well . . . never mind, don’t ask.

Detroit had a famous TV weatherman, Sonny Elliott (meteorologist), on for years. He died recently. I read that he shared my feelings on Wind Chill, hated it, thought it a joke.

When it’s cold and windy, it can feel colder on exposed flesh than when it’s just cold. That simple.



I understood chill factor to apply to evaporation cooling relative to human skin and sweat.
Obviously wind speed is an issue as when the car starts to warm it will loose heat faster due to the forced convective cooling. However, having owned one of these diesel Rabbits, I think the listener is wasting his time starting the car early as it hardly produces enough waste heat at idle to counter any sort of cold. Just get a bigger block heater.


Evaporation is not a factor, just heat transfer.

And as others have said, a car can’t get below the actual temp, regardless of the wind chill.

But one can freeze water outdoors above 32 if it’s a clear dry night with no wind.


I think the whole term “wind chill” and its many variations of definition confuse people. I see “wind chill” as being how the wind affects the rate of heat dissipation, and have always use the term to describe that effect even on inanimate objects. I can understand, however, that based upon definitions published with a focus on safety many people feel it only applies to living things.

There’s no question that wind will suck the heat out of a person, a car, or anything else a lot faster than if it were not subjected to the wind. The only question is whether the term itself applied when the object being chilled is inanimate. I contend that it does apply. Others contend that it does not. In the end, I don;t think the distinction is important. I’ve never been misunderstood by usinng the term.


There’s no question that cold wind will suck the heat out of a person, a car, or anything else a lot faster than if it were not subjected to the wind. Once you get above 95 degrees (F), hot wind feels hotter than the ambient temperature.


Whitey, you raise an interesting point. I don’t know the answer, but at some point the friction from the wind combined with the wind’s temperature, adds heat rather than dissipating it. Heck, while I know the internal temperature of a person is around 98.6 F, I have no idea what skin temperature is. I think I’ll get my infrared thermometerr out tonight and check!


The main heat transfer methods applying to the caller’s question is that of conduction and forced convection. As long as the temperature of the car is different from the ambient, heat transfer will take place in one direction or the other. If there is wind present, the forced convection component will be of significance. The term “wind chill factor” is not of any value in determining this.


@mountainbike The skin friction due to speed definitely raises the temperature, but not till you reach speeds over the speed of sound! Spacecraft re-entry needs ablative tiles like on the Challenger.

At normal highway speeds the increase in skin temperature due to friction is infinitessimal. But the heat loss from a warm car increases significant.

I have an unheated attached garage with some insulation, not much. During a howling winter storm the temperature in the garage is a few degrees lower than on a sunny windstill day at the same ambient temperature.


Doc, you’re right of course.

Kiwi, the entire thread can be boiled down to whether the term “wind chill” can be applied to inanimate objects. Because wind affects the rate at which heat dissipates in inanimate objects, I feel the term is legitimate.

Suggesting to someone in subzero windy weather that if she parks facing into the wind for a quick hamburger in the diner her engine will be colder when she comes back out than if she parks facing away from the wind, because of the wind chill, is, I believe, a perfectly legitimate statement.



Sorry. Couldn;t resist.