Things to Know about your Engine Block Heater

Over the last couple of weeks, I have had many questions from customers and staff asking about Engine Block Heaters, and if they are safe to use for extended periods of time, remote starting your vehicle while it is still plugged in, what exactly do they do, etc…? So!  Here is some general information to help answer your questions

– Jarrett King | Delivery Specialis

What does the Engine Block Heater do?
The engine block heater keeps your engine warm in cold weather, much like an electric blanket on the couch; this allows the many fluids and oils to stay in a warm state, so that when you turn on the engine, all of the fluids can flow to where they need to be, for safe and normal engine operation in cold weather.
Depending on the make, model, and year of vehicle, the engine block heater may run for a certain amount of time, then shut off, and then turn back on after a certain amount of time has passed

Does every vehicle come with a block heater installed from factory?

No!  Although due to the extremes of Southern Alberta weather many local dealerships will order vehicles with block heaters installed, many do not, and it can be quite costly to have one installed later on; so always ask your salesperson if the vehicle you are looking at has a block heater installed!

Can I remote start my vehicle while it is still plugged in?
Yes!  The block heater system is not tied into your vehicle’s electrical system, so it does not harm the remote start or computer systems to start your vehicle while it is plugged in.

At what temperature do I need to plug in my vehicle?
Most engine block heater systems only begin to operate in conditions below -18 C. In fact, the block heater will often turn ITSELF on around this temperature; meaning, even though it is plugged in, it is not actually turned on at – 5 C!

Does it harm my vehicle to leave it plugged in for extended periods of time?
No. Leaving a vehicle plugged in for extended periods of time will have no ill effects on the vehicle’s engine or other systems; however, it will waste energy and cost you $$ if you do not intend to use the vehicle anytime soon. It is a best practice to plug the vehicle in within 24 hours of needing to use it, however, batteries can die when not used regularly in cold weather!

Does plugging in my car charge my battery?
No.The battery is not connected to your engine block heater, and will not keep it “charged”. It is always a best practice to have a BATTERY LOAD TEST performed to test the health of your battery when heading into the winter months, as part of preventative vehicle maintenances!

Where do I find my block heater cord?

Most block heater cords can be found along the right or left sides of your vehicles engine bay, often with a brightly coloured piece of tape wrapped around it, to help it stand out against the other cords and wires under your hood.

The all new GMC Sierra and Sierra HD offer external plugs and a removable cord, to help make it easier to deal with plugging it in during extreme weather conditions. No more searching in the dark and freezing your hands poking around in your engine bay!

Location of Block Heater GMC Sierra HD

Location of Block Heater GMC Sierra 1500

More questions, please feel free to send me a message!

Jarrett King Delivery Specialist