The recent cold temperatures have led to Moose Jaw residents plugging in their vehicles overnight to allow for a smooth start the next day, which has caused block heaters to work overtime.  

Some people may leave their vehicle plugged in for a day, two days, or maybe a week to may sure it starts when they need it.  

According to Panda Tire and Auto technician, Crystal Moggey there are no hard and fast rules to how long your vehicle should be plugged in for.  

“It doesn’t hurt to have it plugged for a long period of time,” says Moggey. “In reality, you only need to have it plugged in for about four hours before you need to start the vehicle.” 

Moogey recommends plugging in your vehicle, the when temperature dips below –18 C. Some block heaters have a thermostatic cord, which won’t allow the device to engage until after the temperature drops below –18 C.  

People don’t have to be alarmed if they leave their block heater plugged in too long, as is no risks as long as you get it checked frequently and the cord being used isn’t damaged.  

In saying that though, if those things aren’t checked, it might lead to bigger problems.  

“There are block heaters that are put into a coolant jacket and if they leak then of course the coolant will leak out of the engine and that will cause issues on that side of the things.” 

The purpose of a block heater is to make sure the vehicles engine has some sort of heat so it’s easier to start. 

“When it’s cold like this all the fluids are cold and that includes the coolant and engine oil,” explains Moggey. “If the oil and coolant are too cold the vehicle can’t turn over easily and it won’t start.” 

One last thing Moggey wanted to advise motorists is that there is no harm to your block heater if you start the vehicle while it’s plugged in.  

“The block heater, while it provides heat to the engine – it's not an extreme amount heat and it has no bearing on the starter or battery. To start it and leave it plugged in, isn’t going to do anything.”