2023 Author: Eric Donovan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-21 15:44
Activating the parking heater by phone or SMS has long been possible. Now car manufacturers and suppliers are also bringing smartphones and tablet PCs into play.
By Carsten Linnhoff
In winter, preheat the car from the breakfast table before going to work - technology has long made it possible. Parking heaters can be easily started remotely by radio, phone call or SMS. And things are now even more contemporary: the first heating systems can be activated using apps for smartphones or tablets. The effect is always the same: the car engine gets warm, the ice thaws from the windows and the interior is nice and cozy when the journey starts.
Parking heaters from around 1000 euros
BMW, for example, offers the “My BMW Remote” app for the iPhone, which can be used, among other things, to use the smartphone as a remote control for optional auxiliary heaters in models from the Munich-based car manufacturer. Webasto is represented on the market for retrofit parking heaters with an app for Apple's iOS operating system and Android devices. However, the app only works in conjunction with the Thermo Call TC3 control unit from Webasto, which costs several hundred euros. The competitor Eberspächer is currently working on an app control for its car parking heater systems. The market launch is planned soon, says company spokeswoman Dunja Geisler. "We already offer an app for the parking heater for forest machines in Sweden."
On frosty winter days, many motorists will have asked for a parking heater. Depending on the vehicle model, retrofit devices, including installation, are available from around 1000 euros, explains Arnulf Volkmar Thiemel from ADAC. A specialist workshop should do the assembly, he recommends. If you take matters into your own hands, you can have problems with installation as well as difficulties in the event of a possible complaint. Dirk Vincken from the Automobile Club of Germany (AvD) adds: "Anyone who drives a van with a petrol engine has to pay around 1500 euros for an auxiliary heater." For radio control via mobile phone or remote control, a few hundred euros would be added quickly.
Electric heaters are the exception
Customers have the choice between electricity and fuel-operated parking heaters. When it comes to retrofitting cars, the electrical systems are the exception. They are supplied with energy by cable from a household socket. If you have a power connection at your vehicle parking space, you could consider such a solution, says Vincken. Especially since an electric parking heater is usually the cheaper option.
Fuel-operated heating systems offer more flexibility and convenience. They have to be activated a good 20 minutes before the start of the journey. They get the fuel they need directly from the car tank. Similar to an immersion heater, these devices warm up the water circuit of the engine. In this way, the vehicle interior can be preheated in the cold - and the engine block at the same time.
Additional consumption by heating is compensated
According to Vincken, a parking heater consumes between 0.3 and 0.5 liters of fuel per hour. "This additional consumption is usually offset because the preheated engine reaches operating temperature more quickly and therefore requires less fuel in the warm-up phase," explains Thiemel. Hans-Georg Marmit from the expert organization KÜS also assumes a zero-sum game between consumption and fuel savings.
Diesel vehicles have one major advantage: they are often already equipped with an auxiliary heater. Because diesel engines give off too little heat to heat the car on cold days while driving, explained Vincken. On some models, a sticker that can be attached to the driver's door, for example, indicates that an auxiliary heater is installed. This can also be used as a parking heater when the engine is switched off and, according to Vincken, can be retrofitted with a remote control set containing a receiver module and a transmitter from around 300 euros.
Hardly any problems with built-in parking heaters
Problems with retrofitted parking heaters are very rare, says Marmit. It is important that specialist companies do the installation - “only then do you have a guarantee”. The manufacturers provide separate installation locations for each model. If it is too tight in the engine compartment, the auxiliary heater is attached to the underside of the vehicle.
If the battery or tank of a vehicle is almost empty, it can happen that a fuel-operated auxiliary heater does not start, says AvD-Expert Vincken possible causes of failure. In order to save the car's starter battery, the journey should last at least as long as the warm-up phase before. Every time the engine and auxiliary heater are started, the battery must supply energy and then be recharged. This only works if the journey is long enough. (dpa / tmn)