When Do You Use Your Block Heaters? (And Why It’s So Important)

Let’s talk about one of the most iconic winter rituals – plugging in our cars’ block heaters. Ah, the beautiful sight of extension cords stretching across snow-covered driveways (and road snakes), truly a sight to behold!

A road snake that I found at our station’s parking lot a few years ago.

Now, some might say, “Why bother plugging in a block heater when the weather is only slightly nippy?” There’s a few reasons why it’s a good idea to embrace the warmth of these automotive marvels (get it? Embrace the warmth?)

Firstly, let’s address the elephant in the parking lot – starting your car in sub-zero temperatures can be like waking up on a Monday morning after a weekend of indulgence. You know, that sluggish feeling when your brain is still hibernating and your limbs are all, “Nah, we’re good here, thanks.” Well, your car’s engine feels the same way in the cold.

By plugging in your trusty block heater, you’re giving your engine a gentle, cozy hug. It’s like wrapping it up in a fluffy blanket and saying, “There, there, my mechanical friend, let’s warm you up before we embark on the frosty adventures of the day.” With a preheated engine, starting your car becomes as smooth as a figure skater gliding across the ice, minus the sequins and triple axels, of course.

But wait, there’s more! Using a block heater not only saves you from the misery of a stubborn engine, but it also helps extend the life of your beloved vehicle. Cold weather can be rough on engines, just like a bad haircut is rough on your self-esteem. There’s a reason I grew my hair out. Frigid temperatures cause oil to thicken, making it harder for your engine to get the lubrication it needs. And we all know that a well-lubricated engine is a happy engine, just like a well-fed person is a happy… well, person.

By plugging in your block heater, you’re giving your engine a fighting chance against the winter elements. It warms up the oil, ensuring it flows smoothly through the engine’s veins, preventing unnecessary wear and tear. Think of it as giving your car a daily dose of vitamins to boost its immune system against the cold weather bugs. Who knew cars needed vitamin C, right?

Now, what is the perfect temperature to plug in the block heater? While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, I personally like to wait until it’s colder than a polar bear’s paws before plugging mine in. Around -20ish is my sweet spot. It’s like giving my engine the ultimate winter spa treatment, complete with heated towels and cucumber slices for its metaphorical eyes.

Of course, it’s essential to consider the manufacturer’s recommendations for your specific vehicle. They’re like the wise grandparents who’ve seen it all and know what’s best for their grandbabies. So, check your manual, consult the oracle of Google, or even have a chat with your friendly neighborhood mechanic to ensure you’re doing what’s right for your four-wheeled companion.

Block heaters are like the unsung heroes of winter. They save us from the frustrations of reluctant engines, extend the life of our vehicles, and offer a warm embrace in the face of icy adversity. So, keep your engines cozy, because nothing says “I love you” like plugging in your car overnight.

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