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Everything You Need To Know About Engine Block Heaters

An engine block heater can help ensure your car will start on even the coldest Canadian winter day. Freezing temperatures can damage your car’s engine, and a block heater will prolong the life of your vehicle if you live in a cold climate. Here’s everything you need to know about this device.

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What an engine block heater does

A block heater helps keep your car engine warm while you’re not driving it. Once it gets plugged into a regular 110-volt outlet, the heater warms the engine block as well as internal fluids like the oil and coolant.

Cold temperatures make engine fluids sticky and viscous, which can make it more difficult to start a car. In extreme temperatures, your engine may not start at all. Warming the motor before you turn the ignition prevents wear and tear on your vehicle. It also has the benefit of getting hot air through your vents more quickly to warm you up inside.

Types of engine block heaters

Most vehicles sold in Canada come with a block heater as a standard feature. There are also after-market versions that you can install yourself or with the help of a professional. Some of the more popular engine block heaters include:

  • Engine warming blanket. This device connects to the top of the car hood or drapes over the engine. It functions much like an electric blanket for your motor.
  • Oil pan heater. This device gets attached to the outside of the oil pan using bolts or magnets and will warm the engine oil.
  • Dipstick heater. A dipstick heater is a simple device that replaces your oil dipstick with an element that heats the oil.
  • In-line coolant heater. Some heaters are spliced into the radiator coolant hose. They circulate warmed coolant throughout the engine using a pump.
  • Freeze plug heater. This device replaces your engine’s freeze plug with an element that directly warms the coolant.

 

How to use an engine block heater

If the temperature outside is below -15 C, then it’s a good idea to use your block heater.

It’s not necessary to leave your heater plugged in all night long. It only takes three to four hours to warm your vehicle. Using a timer to turn on your block heater early in the morning will help you save electricity.

 

Automotive experts in British Columbia and Alberta

The service technicians at Minit-Tune & Brake Auto Centres can help ensure your vehicle run smoothly all season long. We offer winter tire services and can check your battery and charging system as well. To learn more about winterizing your vehicle or schedule an appointment, contact us today.

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