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How to Keep an Engine Block Warm in Cold Weather

by John Walker

Cars have a harder time starting in cold weather. Contemporary vehicles crowd the engine compartment with accessories, and shield the engine with skid plates. The protection does provide a degree of insulation for cold weather. However, older vehicles have more space in the engine and are subject to the ill effects of cold temperatures. Keeping the engine warm in the winter helps to protect the vehicle from potential damage associated with cold starts while ensuring you are able to start the vehicle in winter.

Park your vehicle near a wall or inside a carport or garage. Anything that blocks the wind helps to keep the engine warm.

Place a blanket on the engine beneath the hood. An electric blanket is ideal, but any blanket will work. Make sure the blanket covers the intake and sides of the engine. Remove the blanket before starting the vehicle.

Cover your vehicle with a full-sized car cover. Tie the ends to the tires so that the cover hangs down and blocks wind from penetrating the engine compartment.

Plug the radiator into an outlet. Older vehicles and vehicles built for cold weather use often have heaters attached to the radiator that plug into a standard outlet. Run an extension cord to the vehicle and plug in the heater if the vehicle is so equipped.

Tip

  • Any type of insulation placed on top or below the engine will assist in keeping the engine block warm.

Warning

  • Do not leave a space heater active beneath the vehicle. The oil and fuel of the vehicle create a potential fire hazard with an active heat source left unattended.

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About the Author

This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Runs, contact us.

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