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I am wondering how long it takes you to get your Ascent up to operating temp in cold weather. Let’s say it’s -20 C or -4F and the block heater is plugged in it still takes about 10 min plus of driving to get this thing up to the middle of the gauge for heat. How long does it take for yours? Is this normal? My GMC truck is quicker to warm up in same conditions.
 

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Warming up these days does not really mean what it used to mean. In the old days, you warmed up the car to protect the engine and make sure the ice in the cooling system was broken up. You really don't need to worry about that in modern engines.

Your block heater should heat the car to an acceptable level, above 40F (4C), which is the point where the engine does not care how warm it is unless it starts to over heat. The little gauge is really kind of ratio between "normal" and "over heating". The "normal" is simply the point where the engine has to actively cool self. As long as you are above 40F (4C) and at or below normal, then you are ok to drive the car.



With out the block heater, the car will run very rich until it reaches above 40F or 4C to heat the engine as quickly as possible. When any engine runs rich the extra gas entering the pistons will remove the oil on the walls and rings. Causing you to burn oil and removing the protective layer of oil. Which is why you have a heater plug, starting and idling a cold engine is a good way to destroy it. When the car hits 40F it burns normally and the issue goes away.

The reason your GMC was warmer faster could be many things. But more likely it was a bigger engine burning more gas. A small turbo with an inter-cooler is going to take longer to heat up then your standard V6. But even if they where the same size and both turbo, the gauge only reads the ratio between what is actively cooling and what is over heating.

What is actively cooling and over heating has a lot to do with design of the system. How big and type of radiator, how much fluid, how much oil, type of metal used.

I believe both the car and the app will show you how warm your oil is. As long as they are reading above 40F, don't worry about it. Oh, and I know you already know this, but you don't need to leave your car plug in over night, just 3 hours before you drive it. You leave at 7am, then start the warmer on your car at 4 am, get a cheap timer at walmart for like 5 bucks. It will get warm before 7am and save your heating plug. Running your heating plug all night, unless it is like -20F, is not a good thing.

Edit
make sure you get a timer that can handle the amps.
 

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It takes about 10-15min for me in the morning (temp 30-70degF) to have the engine oil warm up to about 190degF. It's about the same for my 2000 4runner and I alternate my cars very often since I bought the Ascent in December 2018.

My data shows that this year we observed average temp much colder than two previous years - see my record below (right column is average month outdoor temp)
 

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