An engine block heater is essential in climates that frequently see sub-freezing temperatures. Without them, vital fluids in your vehicle, such as fuel, antifreeze and oil could thicken or freeze and cause troubles when starting your car or truck. Even if the vehicle starts, cold temperatures can cause shrinking of metals and the thick fluids can slowly cause damage to the engine of your vehicle. If living in a cold climate, the cost and simplicity of an engine block heater installation makes it a great investment.
Types of Engine Block Heaters
There are multiple types of engine block heaters. Depending on the type you choose, they may function slightly differently. The most common engine block heaters are the freeze plug heater, the magnetic engine block heater and the radiator hose heater.
- Freeze Plug Heater
This is one of the most common engine block heater varieties available. In colder climates, many vehicles will come with these heaters as part of the standard equipment package. These heaters plug into a core on the engine. An electrical cord is then run through to the grill of the vehicle. This allows a person to plug the heater core into an electrical outlet. This will bring an engine up to a safe operating temperature in two to four hours in most cases.
- Magnetic Engine Block Heater
This type of heater attaches to the engine block using magnets and heat the block using an electrical charge. These are most often used if the heater is needed for multiple vehicles or the heater needs to be removable. However, most magnetic engine block heaters also include pre-drilled holes for permanent mounting.
- Radiator Hose Heater
This type of heater splices into the radiator hose on the vehicle and use thermo-siphoning to help keep the coolant in the vehicle warm during below-freezing temperatures. Care should be taken with these heaters as frequent heating and cooling of the radiator hoses can cause premature degradation of the hoses.
Installation of an Engine Block Heater
Installing an engine block heater is actually quite simple. Specifics might vary depending on the make and model of the vehicle. Professional installation is also quite affordable in most climates where an engine block heater is necessary. The job can often be completed in less than one labor hour. This brings the cost of the install to around $75 in most cases.
Engine block heater installation often includes:
- Locate the freeze plug in the engine compartment.
- Elevate and secure the front of the vehicle.
- Drain and safely dispose of coolant already in vehicle.
- Remove freeze plug.
- Thread engine block heater into freeze plug socket.
- Seal the socket using high-grade silicone or gasket sealant approved for the engine’s operating temperature.
- Route wiring to an easily accessible location.
- Refill coolant.
- Allow gasket or silicone to cure.
- Test system for leaks.
Whether you are looking for an engine block heater for your personal vehicle or a diesel engine block heater for your commercial vehicle or farm equipment, these devices are easy to find, affordable and a great way to prolong the life of your equipment. Best of all, these heaters provide the trust that your vehicle will start quickly and reliably in the coldest of temperatures.