A remote starter is probably all you need if you’re primarily concerned with warming your car’s cabin to a comfortable temperature before starting your morning commute. If you have a newer vehicle, chances are this came installed at the factory; consult your owner’s manual or call the dealership to check if you have a remote starter on your car. If your car didn’t come with a remote starter and you’d appreciate one added, Best Buy includes basic installation free of charge if you purchase a system at one of their stores or via their website. Many car stereo shops also install remote starter systems if you want to shop locally.

If you live in an area that regularly sees temperatures below 10ºF, an engine heater becomes a potentially more valuable — and possibly necessary — investment. 

While it’s unnecessary to warm up most modern cars before driving them, even in the coldest weather, keeping your engine compartment protected from prolonged exposure to freezing temperatures can hinder cracks in hoses, belts, and the plastic tanks that hold washer fluid and coolant. 

Having oil and antifreeze close to operating temperatures when you first start your car will also help those fluids perform at their best, protecting your engine’s delicate internal components. If you have an engine heater installed, recollect to unplug it before you start driving; you might even want to attach a post-it note or other reminder to your steering wheel or dashboard as a precaution.

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