The car takes 20 to 30 minutes to heat up. This is why

Why does my car take 20 minutes or more to heat up?

There are several different reasons why a car will not heat up properly. Three of the most common are listed below.

  • Engine coolant is too Low
  • A Faulty heater valve
  • The thermostat is stuck

Unfortunately, when one or more of these problems occur, the car can take from 20 to 30 minutes to heat up to its optimum temperature. And here is why.

Engine Coolant is Too Low

Keeping the recommended levels of coolant in your radiator helps to protect the engine from overheating. This coolant is also needed to ensure the temperature remains optimum, especially during the colder months of the year.

Therefore, if there is a problem with the level of coolant in the radiator, the engine may not heat up as quickly as it should. For example, if there is not enough coolant in the radiator, it may take 20 to 30 minutes for the engine to heat up after the ignition is turned on.

Faulty Heater Valve

If the heater valve in your vehicle is faulty or gets stuck, it will lose its main functionality, which is to allow hot coolant into the heater’s core.

Also, if this part of the system does not operate correctly, the air conditioning system will not be able to do the following:

  • Blow hot air into the cabin of the car
  • Defrost the front windshield
  • Consequently, it may take a lot longer for the car to heat up after a cold start.

Stuck Thermostat

Whenever the thermostat is stuck in a closed position, it will continuously flow coolant into its radiator. Therefore, this problem will need to be fixed before the car’s engine can begin to warm up.

How much does it cost to fix a car that takes too long to warm up?

The cost to fix a car that takes too long to warm up is dependent on several different factors, including the cost of having the heating system inspected.

Also, because the problem may be related to a faulty valve, a stuck thermostat, or a coolant level that is too low, the average cost can vary accordingly.

Low Coolant/Standard Coolant Change – The average cost can range between $100 to $200 to perform a standard coolant change. These rates are dependent on the type and size of the vehicle.

Heater Control Valve Replacement – The average cost can range between $470 to $493 to purchase the part. The labor costs are also estimated to be around $83 to $150.

Repair a Stuck thermostat – The average cost can range between $200 to $300. The exact price is dependent on the type of car.

How long should a car take to reach temperature?

In most cars, after starting a cold engine, it usually takes about 1 to 2 minutes to reach normal operating temperature. You can measure the speed and timing by observing the temperature needle on the dashboard.

For example, the optimum temperature for a normal reading is around 190 to 225 degrees Fahrenheit.


Why does my car take 20-30 minutes to heat up? As mentioned above, there are several different reasons why a car will not heat up properly after a cold start.

Three of the most common reasons are usually related to a thermostat that is stuck, a low coolant level in the radiator, or a faulty heater valve that needs to be replaced.

In either case, a mechanic may need to do an inspection first to identify the exact issue and the repairs that need to be performed.

The average costs of these repairs can also vary greatly based on the problem that is identified, the part that needs to be replaced, and the cost of the labor.

Once these repairs are made, the car should heat up to its optimum temperature in about 1 to 2 minutes instead of 20-30 minutes.

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