Car Block Heaters and Battery Blankets

A dead car engine or battery is every driver’s worst nightmare, especially in the winter. Luckily, there are ways to keep these parts of your car warm to avoid having them fail on you when you need them most.

Let’s look at how engine block heaters and battery blankets work to help you decide if you need them this season.

Car Block Heaters and Battery Blankets - Chauffe-moteurs et chauffe-batteries

What Is a Car Block Heater?

Cold weather can take a great toll on your vehicle, especially because the fluids that keep it running risk thickening and freezing. The cold makes it more difficult for these fluids to lubricate your car and protect its components from damage.

A car block heater—also frequently called an engine block heater—prevents fluid thickening. It keeps your engine warm so the liquids can maintain their consistency, even when the temperature outside drops well below freezing. This device eases the strain that cold starts put on your vehicle’s engine by warming it up before you start the car and reduces premature wear by helping the engine stay lubricated.

Types of Engine Block Heaters

Originally, engine block heaters were literal block heaters that were typically bolted onto the engine block or used in place of a freeze plug to keep the engine warm. Now, drivers have more block heater options to choose from.

Dipstick Heater

One of the most common types of engine block heater devices is the dipstick heater. This long, thin heating element replaces your car’s regular engine oil dipstick.

Dipstick heaters are quite simple to install and can easily be switched between vehicles. The downside to their convenient size, however, is that they have a fairly low heating capacity compared to other types of heaters.

Magnetic Engine Heater

83.99 $

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Freeze Plug Heater

Starting at 64.89 $

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Oil Pan Heater

Another common car block heater is the oil pan heater. They’re often magnetic and can be attached to any metal component around your car’s engine block.

Leave an oil pan heater plugged in for two or three hours before starting your car (maximum of four hours). Do not use an oil pan heater if your oil pan is made of plastic.

Heater Pads

A silicone heater pad can also keep your engine warm through the winter. Simply plug it in and wrap it around your engine block for a few hours before driving.

When browsing for any product on our website, add your vehicle’s specifications in the top left corner to be matched with items that are guaranteed to fit.

Whichever car block heater you choose, carefully read and follow all the installation instructions. If you need help, you can ask an experienced mechanic at a NAPA AUTOPRO service centre to install your engine block heater for you.

OIl Pan Heater

Starting at 118.49 $

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Heater Pads

Starting at 127.69 $

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Battery Blankets

Like the engine, your car’s battery is also at risk of freezing and dying during the winter. To keep it running smoothly all season, some people use a battery blanket.

Similar to an engine heater pad, this device is wrapped around the car’s battery to insulate it and maintain a stable temperature. You can keep the blanket around your battery overnight or for a few hours before driving.

If you get a big enough heater pad, you can use it to cover both the engine and the battery (if they’re near each other). Otherwise, you can get a battery blanket specifically for your battery and another heating device for your engine.

Battery Blanket

Starting at 36.59 $

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Could Your Car Use a Block Heater or Battery Blankets?

Modern vehicles typically run on low-viscosity engine oil (0W-20) and therefore won’t benefit much from a car block heater. Most are built to handle cold temperatures and are designed with engine-warming technology. As a result, many people find that allowing their car to idle for up to 30 seconds before hitting the road in the winter suffices for keeping their car’s components lubricated.

If you’re still concerned about your engine’s temperature or want to avoid idling completely, there’s no harm in using an additional heating device on particularly frigid days.

Engine block heaters are most useful to drivers of older cars that run on 5W-30 or 10W-30 engine oil. So, if you’ve had your car for several years or it’s had engine issues in the past, it may benefit from a little extra warmth in the winter.

Battery blankets are effective on any car battery. If you’re worried about your battery dying this winter, this product may be a worthwhile investment.

If you have questions about engine block heaters and battery blankets, visit your local NAPA Auto Parts store to chat with an expert.

4 Replies to “Car Block Heaters and Battery Blankets”

  1. curtis says:

    A heater that fits inside your engine oil dipstick tube? Who is the whiz that gives this kind of technical information? An immersion style engine oil heater certainly does not fit into dipstick tube. The so called blanket style, meaning a pan heater must be carefully siliconed on to a bare metal properly prepared section of an oil pan and sized (wattage) to the pan capacity.

    1. NAPA Canada says:

      Thank you for your comment Curtis. There are several different types of block heaters available on the market, including dipstick heaters that fit most dipstick openings and heats motor oil in the oil sump. Similarly, there are several ways of installing different types of block heaters. If you want to know which block heater is best for your vehicle and how to properly install it, we recommend that you visit your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store and consult one of our NAPA experts.

  2. I must thank you for the efforts you have put in writing this site. I really hope to see the same high-grade blog posts by you in the future as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my own, personal website now 😉

  3. Joyce says:

    How do you test a block heater to see if it’s working,I had a recall on my f150 truck doesn’t seem like it’s working

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