Block Heater vs. Oil Pan Heater For A Pickup Truck

Starting a truck, or any vehicle for that matter, in colder weather can be rough – all the cranking, resetting and all that sure can’t be good for it, right?

Yes, that additional struggle only makes the engine wear out quicker. That being said, is there anything you can do to make it easier?

Sure, just heat it up! There are many things that can be purchased to warm up one or the other part of the engine bay, but this post will tackle probably the most commonly used, block and oil pan heaters and explain the differences between the two.

Block heaters are more popular

When compared to the oil pan heaters, block kind are more frequently used, and there’s a reason for it.

A block type heater does exactly what its name implies – it heats up more of the engine compartment, or to be specific, the coolant.

An oil pan heater is just an external source of heat – it attaches to the surface of the oil pan, keeping it from dipping to lower temperatures, which helps keep the fluid inside less viscous.

To be honest, some owners state they have better luck starting their trucks using oil heaters than the block; though at the same time, there is a reason why block heaters come equipped with trucks far more frequently.

By that note, you should always get and use the block heater first to get the best results. If it is really that cold in the place you live, you may want to use an oil pan heater in combination with the block.

When to use it

Every owner and such will have his own take on this, though the general idea is that you should only plug in the heater once it gets close to 5 degrees F (-15 C) (especially so if the vehicle is not garaged).

The why is because there’s probably no need to. Modern vehicles rarely struggle in temperatures higher than that, so turning on the block heater just because it got below freezing is only an energy waste.

How to use a block heater

You may think that for the thing to do its magic, you will need to have it on for the whole night.

Thankfully, that is nowhere to be true. All that may be required is 2 to 4 hours of use for the pickup to get nice and warm, ready to get going.

Waking up earlier just to do so probably makes little to no sense to you, though once again, technology comes to the rescue here. An outdoor timer will work perfectly for this.

More reasons why using a heater is a great idea

Preventing all those cold starting struggles is sure great, but the other benefit of heating up the engine using a block heater is that it will also warm up the inside of the truck quicker as well!

There’s nothing worse than getting into an ice cold vehicle, waiting for it to heat up so you can feel comfortable. Using this sort of device even just for a couple or so hours before driving solves this, i should say, somewhat of a problem.

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