Will using an engine block heater extend the life of an oil?

Not open for further replies.
Jun 22, 2003
Grand Forks, ND
We had a stretch of weather last January and February where the temperature did not rise above 32F for 60 consecutive days. I generally plug my vehicle in whenever the temperature is below 32F b/c I like instant heat and I like knowing the engine will reach operating temperature quickly. I know most manufacturers will recommend plugging in your car whenever the temperature is below OF. However, I know how hard cold starts are on the oil, battery, alternator, engine, etc. so I figure there is nothing wrong with plugging my vehicle in whenever possible. It's nice to know the engine will warm up quickly and burn off any contaminants in the oil that otherwise would stay in the oil during short trip driving in extremely cold weather.

Using your engine block heater and minimizing the number of cold starts can only help extend the life of your oil and other engine components, right?

P.S. - My electricity is paid for so the cost is not an issue.

[ August 04, 2003, 02:32 PM: Message edited by: MinnesotaNole ]
I don't know if it does anything for the oil, but I have little doubt it will help the engine. Even with modern 0w synthetics, the oil is still much thicker cold than warm. With the heater, the oil will get up into the top of the engine quicker on startup. I can't see how that wouldn't reduce wear.
The block heater will not directly warm the oil but only slightly heats the block via the coolant. A far better approach is to install an oil warmer -- these can be in the form of a heating pad that is glued to the outside of the oil pan.
You wouldn't even have to glue it, would you? Just rig up something like a hot plate and mount it on a stand that's the right height so you can just slide it under the car to where it contacts the bottom of the oil pan. Then leave it on low heat overnight and pull it out in the morning.
The factory heater on our GTP heats the oil more than enough, IMO. Indirectly or not.
I'll take a temp guage to it this winter, but it had to be around 80F
The factory heater does heat the oil too. It definately heats the oil passages. When I use mine on a sub zero day it starts like a 32* day, which is a big difference. Above 20 it starts like a cool summer day.

I think the big gain is just as you said, the engine will warm up faster and you stan a better chance of reaching 180* oil before reaching your destination. That's a big plus in winter. Below 32 is not bad, but below 10 I have to drive over 12 miles and 20 minutes for the oil to get to 180*.

An engine heater is great in the morning, but I just hate finding that cord in the snow at night.

I think the colder it gets the better it is for your oil, and your engine. How cold does it get? Did your ever try and pour a quart of oil thats been sitting outside at -30? You can tip the bottle upside down and not spill a drop.
I definitely think it can extend the life of the oil in the winter! In my car I saw 1% fuel in last winter's UOA, and it's due to the engine taking longer to warm up. That slight bit of fuel was probably responsible for my TBN dropping pretty fast.

So this winter I'll be using the block heater for sure.
My drive to work is a mere 2 miles each way so I think it just makes sense to utilize my block heater whenever possible during the winter months. My 94 Honda Accord reaches operating temp. fully during the two mile trip whenever my car is plugged in. Even in -25F cold!!

I would love to see a scientific engine wear study with a group of cars that have block heaters versus a group of cars without block heaters in an extremely cold climate.

I would love to see a scientific engine wear study with a group of cars that have block heaters versus a group of cars without block heaters in an extremely cold climate.

Maybe you can ask on a Swedish forum. Block heaters are common in Sweden.
geez, the coldest it gets here is in the 20's and that is in the dead of winter. right now, we have 98 degree temps. I'm starting to crave for cold weather. I'm considering moving in the northeast region in two years. I've never seen a block heater before though.

[ August 22, 2003, 10:54 AM: Message edited by: Cutehumor ]
Not open for further replies.