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From country to city, From farm to fireworks…Through marriage & children, Through employment & ownership, Life continues to be an amazing journey…

Tuesday, March 6

Diesel Block Heater - WARNING


We own two diesel garages. In one shop we work on the big rigs, and in the other, we repair pickups and light duty trucks. In the cold months of winter, it’s very common for people who own diesel vehicles to attach a block heater and plug it into an outlet in their garage, or even from an inside outlet to outside if vehicles are kept outdoors. This allows the water and fluids in the engine block to remain warm for an easier start on cold mornings. That will lengthen the life of the engine, and lessen the smoke encountered over just cranking a bare cold engine.

Now, block heaters work well, and it’s NOT that we say DON’T USE THEM… just practice “safe block heating”. We’ve always instructed our customers with some firmness, that if you are going to use a block heater…spend the extra $20 and go to Wal-Mart or somewhere like that and purchase a simple timer, and buy a heavy duty extension cord. Set the block heater to come on 3-4 hours before you wish to use your vehicle each day. DO NOT PLUG IN BLOCK HEATERS AND LEAVE THEM GOING ALL NIGHT LONG! Keep your plugs dry and clean. Do not use cheap extension cords, and keep the area clean around the block heater, plugs and the wall outlet connection.

An extension cord must be used to connect from the block heater plug under the hood to the outlet in the wall. Most people just don’t know…and most people just buy a cheap cord, or don’t maintain their cords well from year to year. Rodents, pets, weather, or anything scurrying through your garage can bite into your cord overnight. Power surges, poor connections…anything can cause an extension cord to have problems if not maintained properly.

The photos below are the result of a block heater / cord short out. Thank goodness this vehicle was parked outside, and the fire department was readily available. Imagine if this was “Average Joe’s” pickup parked inside his garage. You can see that not only would “Average Joe” be out a vehicle, but his garage, entire home, and possibly even family members could have been lost.

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