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Discussion Starter #1
i live in Central Oregon, and it frequently gets cold here, not nearly as harsh as some climates but it is pretty bad sometimes. so i am wondering if a battery heater and block heater would be worthwhile for me. would it make the car last longer, or the heater come on faster. I am fairly certain that the heater heats the water in the radiator and circulates it, but would that warm the oil so as to make for easier start ups and less wear?
 

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We use battery warmers and block heaters to help ensure that the battery is better able to start the car in extreme cold (the battery loses it's ability to deliver power to the starter when it gets too cold), and the engine will turn more freely and reach operating temperature faster.

However, unless you're living where temperatures are consistently far below freezing, I doubt the occasional use of a block heater would have a significant effect on the life of the car, especially given the number of times in the lifetime of the engine that it's started after a full cool down without use of a block heater.

Moreover, a battery warmer and/or block heater will not warm the transmission, or the wheel bearings, or the rear differential, or the steering components, all of which have lubricants that are less efficient when they are at extremely cold temperatures.

If you're willing to go to the expense of installing them, and covering the small but incremental cost of electricity that's involved in their use, then there's no reason not to use a battery warmer and block heater on very cold days. You will notice a difference (perhaps easier start, and the temperature gauge will begin to come up earlier than without a block heater), but I doubt the effect will be measurable in terms of the life of the car.
 

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'05 2.5i H4 4-Speed Auto w/Sportshift
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In Vermont, I have never had a battery warmer, however, I always make sure my battery is a more powerful CCA (Cold Cranking-Amps) than the OEM one, when I replace the OEM battery.

On days when it is about 10 degrees below zero (F), or COLDER, I have noticed that using a full-synthetic oil makes the car start easier, the starter motor is able to run at a higher speed due to the oil being thinner starting out than most (or all) conventional type oils.

I have installed an engine block heater, which I do for every vehicle I own. I put a 120-240 Volt timer clock near my electrical panel in my basement which controls the receptacle out near the parking area. I have a bypass switch in my mudroom closet so I can turn the receptacle on even if the 24-hour timer is in the OFF position. That makes the receptacle handy for when I need power in the driveway for any number of reasons.

Since the engine block heater is in excess of 850 watts, I prefer to have the engine block heater go on anywhere from about two hours (minimum) to four hours (maximum) before I need to use the car. Since it draws as much power as a small electric space heater, I don't want to pay to have the block heater running the entire night before I have to go somewhere. I have found that, even at, say, 40 below, about 4 hours makes a big difference starting the car (with full-synthetic oil). On days like that, I typically let the car warm up for at least 15 minutes before going anywhere.

The heater directions state to unplug the heater before starting the car. I typically leave the heater plugged in while the car is warming up. On the coldest days (colder than 10 below zero-F), the block heater might make the heater start putting out heat about five to ten minutes before it would if I did not plug the car in. If it never got below -10 degrees (F) here, I wouldn't bother with the engine block heater, but always would use full-synthetic oil all winter!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
it gets pretty cold here, but i don't think that it gets nearly that cold. i guess it is kinda useless. i am planning on running mobil 1 10W30 this winter. i would run 0W20 but costco doesnt have that. :D
 

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'05 2.5i H4 4-Speed Auto w/Sportshift
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Don't FORGET to get some QUALITY, i.e., Isopropyl DRY GAS!
People don't realize how much condensation that can develop in the fuel tank during extremely cold weather when the temperatures may shift between, say 20 below zero at night to say 40 or so above zero (F) during the day, which is a 60 degree difference!

Of course, the amount of fuel in the tank also causes more or less condensation to develop. Water droplets trying to pass through an exposed underneath gas line between the tank and engine will freeze at extremely cold temperatures, causing the car to just die out of nowhere.

I have found that I don't need an entire bottle, but just put a little swig in there each time we get gas for both our vehicles. Say, several tablespoons to 1/4 cup, or so, unmeasured, just before adding new gas.
 

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2001 Outback 2.5 with 5 Speed
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it gets pretty cold here, but i don't think that it gets nearly that cold. i guess it is kinda useless. i am planning on running mobil 1 10W30 this winter. i would run 0W20 but costco doesnt have that. :D
If it gets that cold where you are, I would recommend a 5w30 over the 10w30. The 5 weight will flow easier for your rough cold starts. You could even run something like an synthetic 0w30 from Mobil 1.
 

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5-w30, 10 year old battery, no blankets or heaters, starts a treat at -18F.

Good battery is all you really need, and I think the factory water-oil cooler under the oil filter is a really great thing to have in the cold weather, the water heats the oil when it's cold out.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I am going to look for 0W20, a little thinner when warm than it recommends but that way i can get a bit better flow. If i can find it ill do 0W30 if the 0W20 isnt around
 

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A 15-minute warmup is completely unnecessary for any modern vehicle unless you do it solely to have the cabin warm when you hop in. Lightly driving the car after a quick 1-minute warmup is the best way to heat up all of the fluids and not waste fuel. Cold oil still protects, just be gentle getting up to speed as you would with any freshly started engine. The engine will warm up much faster when it's pulling the car along, and be at full operating temp within 10-15 minutes, rather than needlessly idling for 15 minutes, then leaving for your destination.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
15 minutes might be a bit much, but i think a warm-up should still be a good bit longer than 1, and then still take it easy till its up to temp. oil gets incredibly thick at freezing
 

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A 15-minute warmup is completely unnecessary....
I happen to like warming up the interior of the vehicle so the seats aren't stiff as a wooden bench and I feel that it helps to warm everything on the underside, just from the heat coming out of the engine and exhaust system.

I do realize (and so does my darling wife) that fifteen minutes may be a bit much, however, what harm is there in idling an engine? When it is so cold out, even my tires have flat spots on them for the first five minutes or so of driving, at least a 15-minute warm-up couldn't HURT anything!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
...at least a 15-minute warm-up couldn't HURT anything!
I completely agree. it may or may not be excessive, but better than the alternative, and there is something to be said for creature comforts.
 

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I suppose no long-term damage can be done, but I have heard that it contributes to fuel dilution in the oil. Might be rumor, might be fact, not sure.
 

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15 minutes of idling will probably put more water into the oil as engine will stay cool longer and the moist gases in the crankcase will condense.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
15 minutes of idling will probably put more water into the oil as engine will stay cool longer and the moist gases in the crankcase will condense.
and where would it go otherwise? its a pretty tight system, there shouldn't be much moisture in there.
 
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