How Hot Is Too Hot For Your Car In Winter?

Nissan Pao pictured. Photos:Nissan

It has occurred to me that whenever I get into a car in the winter, one with the luxury of heat and/or climate control, I find that people are setting their cars to a midway temperature, like in the mid to high sixties. We’re leaving a lot of heat on the table. Why?

Certainly all of us could just be going MAX HEAT and we could be doing it ALL THE TIME once leaves on trees start even rustling towards orange and brown. We could be rocking tearaway pants and button-up sweaters alone, transitioning from chilly outside to balmy inside if we had such a desire.

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And yet even I find myself setting things to around, what, 65?

Who am I sparing all this heat for? Why be cold?

I asked around the office and got a few different responses, with most people saying they go max heat at first then dial back. Odd. The highest preferred temp being in the mid 70s, the lowest being our own David Tracy, who explained “I put mine on max. But nothing happens.” His fleet of Jeeps in various states of disrepair do not surprise me on this front.

In any case, this seems like a hot button issue, and I don’t understand why everybody (myself included) doesn’t just go full hot all the time.

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Raphael Orlove

Raphael Orlove is features editor for Jalopnik.