If You Aren't Driving With Your Heat On This Summer, Your Car Might Break

By Dave Basner

June 14, 2023

Photo: Getty Images

Not everything in life makes sense, and that has been made very clear by some new advice coming from car experts. Nationwide Insurance, one of the largest companies in the U.S. for car insurance, is recommending that drivers use the heat in their vehicles on the scorching days of summer.

The advice sounds absurd but there is a good reason for it. As the weather gets hotter, so do engines, and one way to keep your motor from overheating is by turning on the heat in the car. According to Nationwide, "Turning on the heat might be the last thing you want to do on a hot summer day, but it can pull hot air from the engine compartment and cool the engine. It won't fix the underlying problem, but it's a good measure for long drives until you can have the car inspected and repaired."

They aren't the only ones making the suggestion either. Others back up the strange advice, like Elite Auto Experts in Houston. They explained, "This is not just rumor or lore. Make sure the air conditioner is off, and crank that heat. Blasting your heater can pull a bit of heat away from your engine. Transferring the heat buys you some time until you can safely pull over. In some cases, this move may be enough to reverse the overheating process. Regardless, you will need to stop your car as soon as you can to give it at least 15 minutes to rest."

Of course, cranking up the heat isn't the only solution for an engine that is getting too hot. Other remedies include parking in the shade or using a windshield shade to keep the interior cool, making sure there is plenty of coolant in your car, opening windows and floor vents to let warm air leave the inside of your car, and of course, regularly having a mechanic flush out and clean your cooling system, which should happen every 40,000 miles.

If you do use your heater to cool off your engine in the summer, when you get home, don't hop in a cold shower to cool yourself off. For similar reasons, experts recommend you take a hot shower to cool off.

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