Do engine block heaters keep the oil or the coolant warm?

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Jun 22, 2003
Grand Forks, ND
I live in one of the most dreaded climates in the nation. Therefore, I try to plug in my Honda Accord EX as much as possible during the brutal winters up here. Does an engine block heater keep the coolant warm or the oil warm? I plug my car in if the temp is 20F or -25F. Am I wasting my time by plugging my car in so much? Am I greatly reducing wear or being too anal? Should I just use the block heater when the temp is brtually cold?
Minnesotanole, the block heater will warm the engine coolant. Oil pan heaters will warm the oil. I use both plus a battery pad and transmission heater on my pickup. With an oil pan heater there is no need for synthetic. Plugged in at 0F or colder. Get a timer and set it 3 hours before you leave for work, helps save on electriciy. [ June 24, 2003, 01:41 AM: Message edited by: pepper32 ]
The block heater keeps the coolant warm, and by extension the block and oil is warmed some too. The block heater installs into one of the freeze plugs in the block. Generally no real reason (unless you like instant heat) to plug in unless the temps are going to be 0 or below. It does vary some by manufacturer, but thats the guidance given on both my trucks. Using a timer is a great idea. Just make sure its rated for the heater! No need to keep it plugged in all night long!
In Canada, all GM cars come standard with a block heater, yet I didn't use mine once last winter! I should have though, I park outside, and most mornings were below 15F, with a few as low as -10F. I don't want to see such high iron in my UOA after the next winter, so I plan on using the block heater in my Firebird every morning. I'll set it on a timer to come on about 3 hours before I leave. Using the block heater, combined with me running 5w30 instead of 10w30 this winter, should give me considerably better results. Plus it was an unusually cold winter, I don't expect the same this time around (hopefully!) PS-it seems strange for me to be talking about cold weather when it's in the mid 80s here! [Big Grin]
Patman...actually I was caught at 401 and 427 at 5:30 PM doing 0-1mph...dash said 97F (36C)...3 cars pulled over for temp guage began rising when traffic at standstill...that was rad going in this weekend.
I'll set it on a timer to come on about 3 hours before I leave.
Patman, my manual says to contact your local dealer for instuction on how long to leave the block heater on. Course, if I called a Houston dealer, they'd be like ?????
Our GTP has one. But we have no manual, so I just left it plugged in all night. Wonder what wattage it is? I figured it either had to be low wattage or thermostatically controlled...? Didn't seem to raise the electric bill too much [I dont know] And is it a block heater or oil pan heater? The oil on the dipstick was still warm and fairly thin when checked in the morning. I guess the oil was about 80F maybe? [ June 24, 2003, 03:39 PM: Message edited by: Jason Troxell ]
Indirectly, the block heater will heat the oil by heating the entire block, as well as the fluids in it, which would include the oil. That is where some of the true gains in starting power are made by keeping the oil warm, indirectly through the block heater. Thats why you should give it some time! It is funny when you go down south and people ask: What's that plug hanging out from your grill for? [Big Grin]
I bought a block heater for my Acura RSX even though I live in a temperate climate that rarely sees temps below 45*F. I pull directly out of my driveway into 60mph traffic then go uphill! That's pretty rough duty for a cold engine. There's a problem with Honda's block heater design that allows air bubbles to collect in the little chamber that the heater screws into. The heater has to be fully immersed in coolant that can flow in and out of the chamber easily for the block heater to be safe and effective. I'm not convinced that the heater is either safe or effective so I stopped using it.
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