Engine Heater [Archive] - GrandAmGT.com Forum


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10-30-2006, 04:04 PM
Hey all, just wondering what your thoughts were on engine heaters in general. I think that the idea, at least, is sound, but not sure if they are actually practical or if they even work how they are supposed to.

Also, if they are a good thing, then I wanted to look into putting one on my engine (where do they even put them??)


11-09-2006, 09:59 PM
My car came with one. I found this nice little feature when topping off the wiper fluid and finding a handy little 110V plug with a few feet of cord tucked away beside the reservoir. (It was a Hertz rental in Canada early in its life - thus the heater, funny since I got it in the states.) I will say the heater is nice to have during the coldest part of a Chicago winter. I'm not sure where it mounts exactly, since I never could see where the wire went or had an opportunity/need to crawl around tracing where the cord went.

The heater seems useful if it's below freezing (and it's mostly optional until it gets around -15 F or so), otherwise there's not much point. It does seem to keep the oil from getting thick and makes starting up easier, if not reliable. It probably saves on a lot of wear and tear in those instances too. There's also a modest benefit of warming up a bit faster, but not by a whole lot though, since I think it heats the oil pan rather than the coolant - the temp guage starts just a hair under 100F.

The worst part of having it? Finding a spot to plug in (especially if you park outdoors). So unless you have a ready outlet nearby, it's a bit of a problem. Then there's the risk of somebody walking into the power cord, cutting it (snowblower), vandalism, etc. But since it's only needed when it's below freezing - always needing to plug in is not a huge problem. (Unless you're located pretty far north.)

Oh yeah, the main point is just to keep the oil from getting thick. (It's probably more of a warmer than a heater in my case.) So don't expect a miracle of the thing and plug it in and expect the car to be ready in 5-10 minutes. Rather you plug it in when leaving the car parked overnight so the oil doesn't get below freezing.

Mike Jung
11-09-2006, 10:19 PM
Engine Block Heater: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Block_heater)

It actually heats the engine coolant up.

Best to use a timer to save on the electricity bill.
Set it like 4-hours ahead of the time from when you are going to leave in the morning.

But there are also engine oil pan heaters out there for when it is extremely cold, when the engine block heater is not enough lol

I went to Montreal, QC & stayed in a Best Western Motel (driving back from Quebec City, QC when an ice storm happened).
Every parking space outside your motel door had an outlet.
The next day I went to Canadian Tire & bought a short block heater cable extension cord.
It helps when it was -30C/-22F outside.

11-09-2006, 10:44 PM
I had a factory engine heater that was in the engine water jacket. I've seen ads for some that stick on the oil pan, get spliced into the radiator hose and some that replace the oil dip stick.

It's handy if it gets extremely cold and you have easy access to an electrical outlet. As long as you have your hood open when you get at the plug, toss a blanket over the engine to keep the heat in.

11-10-2006, 05:36 AM
I have one, ive never used it.

My car also came from Canada but i bought it in the states.

11-14-2006, 01:47 AM
It's handy for those few exceptionally cold days. It's better to have a car start the first time and heat up the rest of the way for ten minutes than to spend ten minutes simply trying to get it started.

My car was never from Canada though, but yeah - it was built for export to and sent there (manuals/markings/rental hitory), the Lansing UAW sticker in back shows its true origin.

On another note, only four hours needed for the heater? Can it actually overheat? *taking notes* (There was no documentation at all included for this particular feature.)

Mike Jung
11-14-2006, 04:37 AM
...On another note, only four hours needed for the heater? Can it actually overheat? *taking notes* (There was no documentation at all included for this particular feature.)
No it can not overheat.

But unless it is really extremely cold, it would be a waste of electricity to be heating it all night.
The manual states to use it when it gets like -18C/0C or below (which also happens to be when dino oil starts to get realy thick),.
"Usually, the coolant heater should be plugged in a minimum of 4-hours prior to starting your car."
'How long you plug it in depends on: outside temperature, kind of oil used, where you park your car, etc...'