|This shows the placement of a heating element portion of a particular type of block heater. A cord would be attached. (Rendering: www.autorepairinstructions.com )|
I own a diesel car, a diesel truck and we have gasoline powered automobiles also to cover the bases should diesel fuel be difficult to get in an emergency. Diesel cars and trucks have many benefits particularly to those with an interest in preparedness. The positives are that a properly maintained diesel engine in a car can yield a million miles of travel, and therefore it can be economical in the long term. Secondly, my car gets incredible fuel mileage and has an 800 mile range on one tank full of diesel fuel. The negatives to driving a diesel car are that one must have access to a fine and reasonably priced diesel mechanic and to the parts needed to regular maintenance and replacement of key engine parts which age. Secondly, there are a number of places in which diesel fuel stations are far and few between and so one must pay attention as to where they are on long trips. (Nova Scotia comes to mind, and New Jersey law does not permit you to pump your own fuel which means at midnight when driving through you might need to stay overnight until you find a diesel station open.) In addition, a diesel needs a strong battery and in Winter could benefit from a block heater. A block heater is a device which you or your mechanic can order and install on your car There are some that can be permanently installed in your car and others which can be applied and used episodically. There are a variety of types of these and they may replace an engine core plug. These help to keep the engine warm enough to keep the engine warm. If you live in a cold climate or even one which is only seasonally cold, please investigate the types of block warmers or engine heaters which are available to your vehicle. These can lengthen the life of your starter, your battery, and your car as they help the car to start and warm more quickly on subzero mornings. Remember never to race a cold engine, diesel or a gasser. Start them with enough time to idle slowly allowing the oil to circulate to all the parts of the engine before subjecting the car to the demands of street or particularly highway driving.
Information and Type of Block Heaters
For several reasons diesel cars and trucks can be difficult to start in sub- zero weather. Due to simple physics, a battery particularly one which is less than new, has a diminished storage capacity in cold or freezing weather. In addition, in cold weather oil is very thick and this means that the engine itself can be three times more difficult to start even with a new battery ! Both the diminished storage capacity in cold weather and the viscous oil issue can compound to create a real problem on cold mornings. Please consider what I have written concerning block warmers in the paragraph above.
This is one respect in which our Alaskan friends are streets ahead of us !