Block Heater

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Block heaters slowly pre-warm the engine before starting with a 200 to 600 watt 110volt heating element that is directly installed into the engine block. The reduced warm-up time can dramatically improve fuel economy, especially for short trips. It is recommended to put the heater on a timer that starts to heat the engine no more than about 3 hours before departure to avoid wasting electricity. The ultimate way to warm the engine faster and use less electrical power is to use the biggest block heater you can get your hands on, if one isn't enough use two. With multiple high wattage block heaters it becomes possible to warm the engine up faster and by default disbursing less heat into the surrounding environment. This cuts warm up times down to well under an hour.
Use immersion heaters that come in direct contact with engine coolant for best result. Only use stick on heaters as a last resort.
Not to be confused with high power coolant warmers, these usually require forced circulation and are fuel burning, 110 or 220 volt powered.

Instructions for mod

Refer to workshop manual and installation instructions for block heaters for installation methods

See how to's for some car specific instructions in the references at the bottom of this page.
The block heater shown to the right is a Kat's universal 400 watt block heater. It has 3/4 inch male pipe threads making it able to thread into lots of places.

User experiences

Please enter your user name and any relevant data in the table

User data
User Name Car Make, Model, Year Cost of Mod Time to Perform Mod MPG Before Mod MPG After Mod MPG improvement guess Instruction Link
Doax Toyota, matrix, 2003 ~$60 USD ~ 1.5 Hours ~4% (During winter less than 2MPG) no hard data just rough estimation. Metro block heater install (not Doax's install)
TomO 1994 Honda Civc VX $45 USD < 1 Hours 43.12 44.93 4.2% (1.81 MPG) tank to tank data, but consistent route and driving VX block heater install
Echo-Francis Toyota Echo 2005 $50 2 Hours Not tested. My engine defenitely start well when cold, i'm saving. Echo-Francis Block Heater
Oil Pan 4 Chevy suburban diesel 84 $100 USD 3.5 Hours FE effect untested. Was able to raise coolant temperature from -2'C to 22'C in 15 minutes with out running the engine 3500 watt universal fit coolant heater

Problems / Consequences of mod

- User of electricity to heat car before traveling may outweigh the environmental and financial savings of modification
- Idle reduction
- Enter the much more efficient closed loop mode sooner.
- Remove frost so you can see, avoid crashing into objects.


Forum thread links

Mini experiments: 300w vs. 800w block heater warm up time

Geo Metro block heater - How To

Civic VX block heater install

[2003 Toyota Matrix Block Heater]

Fast warm up ideas, 3500w coolant heater

5,500 watt coolant heater, Just incase 3500w isn't fast enough

Engine block heater sizing

850 watt tank style heater in a metro

External links

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