What Is An Engine Block Heater?

I’m often tasked with installing accessories on new cars that get sold at the dealership I work at. Recently I installed an engine block heater for the first time.


Engine block heaters are used to keep an engine warm so they’re easier to start in cold climates. Usually they’re only needed in very cold areas, where the temperatures regularly reach several degrees below zero in the winter. Here in New York, except for possibly in the Adirondack mountains to the east, it doesn’t get cold enough for an engine block heater to really be that useful.


There are a few different types of engine block heaters, some are like heating blankets that get wrapped around parts of the engine, but the type that Honda sells directly heats the coolant. There is a drain plug in the side of the engine block that goes into the water jacket around the cylinders.


The heater screws into where the plug goes, allowing the heater element to directly contact the coolant. , then it has a wire running up through the grille on the front of the car to get plugged into an extension cord overnight to power it and keep the engine warm.

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