What are some good CHEAP ways to keep a car engine/battery warm on Winter nights?

I have a 2000 Saturn SL2 and apparently from yesterday evening to this morning the temperature dropped A LOT. It went from 40 degrees down to -3 degrees. I didn't know this because I didn't step outside again when I got home yesterday at 5pm and didn't get to watch the weather (fell asleep early). Well my car had a bit of a rough start this morning. At first it acted like it didn't want to start up so, I waited a minute or 2 before trying again and I gave it some gas and it started up, but it was a little bit louder than it normally is. That sound went away after warming the car up for 10 mins.

Anyways, what are some ways I can help keep the engine somewhat warm during winter nights? I am on a fixed income and I know most of you will say to use a block heater, but $45 or not, right now I can't afford that until I am paid again. I've heard of using blankets and even going out in 3-4 hour increments and starting the car up and letting it run for a few minutes. And with the blanket thing, do you place it on your actual engine or just on the hood of the car when the car is first shut off? Never did it. Any ideas?

BTW, I had my oil changed less than a week ago and they checked all the fluids and tested the battery and said it's still a good battery. (Just in case you're thinking the battery is bad or something). Thanks!!!

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  • jeff s
    Lv 4
    8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Go down to the local auto parts store, and purchase an electric battery blanket, or pad. The blanket wraps around the battery and the pad goes under it. Also purchase a block heater for the engine and have a qualified mechanic install it for you. You can then plug these items in and they will keep your engine and battery warm and ready to go when it is cold. You can also put them on a timer to only power up a couple hours before you wake up, that way they are not drawing power all night.

    Now you did not say what part of the country you are in, but -3 is not cold for a car, unless of course it is a little 4 cyl like in your Saturn. Here in Alaska we usually don't even plug ours in until it gets -20. Another thing we do up here, is glue a heating pad on the bottom of the engine oil pan, and transmission pan to keep those oils warm and ready to go also. These items are less expensive and can be done at a lot less cost than the block heater.

    It will be cheaper to buy the heater then getting up every few hours to start and let the vehicle run. Also by putting a blanket over the engine, is a risky proposition, say you forgot it and started the car, instant problems you will have.

    Source(s): Living in Alaska 50 years. Mechanic.
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  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    RE:

    What are some good CHEAP ways to keep a car engine/battery warm on Winter nights?

    I have a 2000 Saturn SL2 and apparently from yesterday evening to this morning the temperature dropped A LOT. It went from 40 degrees down to -3 degrees. I didn't know this because I didn't step outside again when I got home yesterday at 5pm and didn't get to watch the weather (fell...

    Source(s): good cheap ways car engine battery warm winter nights: https://trimurl.im/c43/what-are-some-good-cheap-wa...
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  • 4 years ago

    This was just my experience but in the 1970s I had a couple of air-cooled VW Beetles. I owned a big old Navy P-Coat and I would wrap it around the engine and lower the engine compartment door at night. That kept the wind from blowing on the engine and the car always started right up, even in New Hampshire below-zero weather. I now drape heavy rug remnants over the engine in my 2005 Toyota Corolla with the same results.

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  • 3 years ago

    Battery Blanket

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  • 8 years ago

    Yeah, not a bad battery, but just like us they have trouble getting going during colder temperatures...

    I read that you could "warm up" the battery a bit by turning on the head lights and radio for a couple minutes before you start... otherwise could try the blanket wrapping technique.

    Your other alternative would be.... buying the warmer, which seems like your last option.

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  • evans
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    Heating Pad For Car

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  • 8 years ago

    If it's turning over but not firing, then it's not a battery problem. If the engine turns over when you crank the ignition - and doesn't slow or stop - you have a good battery. If the engine won't turn over, or fails to crank, or turns over slowly when the temperature drops then your battery is toast.

    Blanket is not going to solve anything. Block heater is the way to go. (i know, $$)

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  • 8 years ago

    Definitely make sure the antifreeze is ok and the oil as you say but I used al light bulb about a 75 watt or more hung by the starter wheras this added the little amt. of heat to keep things warm enough to start. I'm sure the modern world has something better but this worked.

    Source(s): a poor person desperate
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  • 8 years ago

    you know how i do it ? i throw a small blanket over the battery at night before bedtime. it also helps to lay a piece of rubber like a piece of rubber floor mat on the battery case then sit the battery on it. just remember to remove the blanket before starting your car.

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  • 8 years ago

    This is VERY common issue with the SL2! The problem is your ECT (engine coolant temperature) sensor is out of range and is giving the PCM a false reading and causing your vehicle not to get enough fuel on cold start! http://www.autozone.com/autozone/parts/Duralast-Co...

    Source(s): 28 Year Master, L-1 Technician
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