corner wrench: block-heater alternatives to help start your car in winter

An apt variation on Murphy’s Law states that in a three-vehicle household with a two-car garage, the oldest one without a block-heater will always be the frozen block parked outside, and that this will be the hard-starter that keeps someone from getting to work in the morning. If you plan on driving a chilly car through the winter in this country, it could use some type of warming help to get going. Here are a few easy fixes to that problem.

Battery blankets

Even unpowered battery insulation blankets can go a long way to ensuring full power delivery in the cold. Many users shy away from plug-in blankets due to the risk of failure, but they can provide a few seasons of use if they’re installed correctly and not disturbed. Check them whenever you’re under the hood for any signs of cracking of the exterior shielding and discard them before they can pose a fire risk.

Magnetic oil-pan heaters

These are simple electric heating elements encased in a metal pan, usually with an insulated handle and medium-strength magnet. These can be found at most auto-part stores, but only work on ferrous (iron, not aluminum or plastic) oil pans and should never be used on any engine with an oil leak or seeping. They also require easy access to the oil pan, meaning no large plastic belly shields. They must be removed before starting the engine.

Battery top-up

If you know your vehicle is going to be outdoors on a frosty night, you can give the battery a hand on your way home by reducing the electrical load on the charging system. Turn the HVAC blower down to minimum for the last few kilometres of your commute, as well as any seat heaters and glass defrosters. This will ensure the majority of the alternator’s output is available to keep the battery at top charge.

Last resort: trouble-light under the hood

No, not your cheap plastic housing, LED lamp on a cord, but instead a real technician’s trouble-light with a metal cage around the bulb and an incandescent bulb. They can be hard to find in many areas, so keep an eye out at yard sales and estate auctions. Hang one of these under the hood with a 60-watt bulb in it, pointed at the engine and battery, being careful to keep it away from meltable plastics and rubber components. Leave it plugged in on even the coldest nights, and the next morning the engine will fire up like it’s July. Leave a visual cue on the dash and don’t latch the hood completely closed; it will serve as a visual reminder that you have something plugged in that needs to be disconnected before you drive off.

Note that this is method carries a small fire risk, particularly if the light is forgotten the next morning. Save this technique for trying situations, ideally under some supervision and away from the house.

Keyword: Corner Wrench: Block-heater alternatives to help start your car in winter

CAR'S NEWS RELATED

Best cars for a 'Love Bug' remake

Tennessee’s Yard Art The Thorndyke Special The Hot Rod The Hippie Van Jim’s Lamborghini Growing up, it’s safe to say my absolute favorite movie was Disney’s “The Love Bug.” As a kid living in a world before Pixar’s “Cars,” it was pretty much the best car movie. I loved ...

View more: Best cars for a 'Love Bug' remake

Audi timing belt tensioner prompts Utah bomb squad visit

An aftermarket timing belt tensioner found in a Salt Lake City apartment prompted a visit from the bomb squad this week after it was mistaken for a potential explosive device. Police partially evacuated the apartment complex in which it was found “out of an abundance of caution” and called ...

View more: Audi timing belt tensioner prompts Utah bomb squad visit

2023 GMC Sierra HD 2500 and 3500 will get more expensive

GMC Sierra HD pickups are about to get more expensive again after recently becoming more expensive, according to GM Authority. In July, GMC and Buick raised the prices on certain vehicles in their lineups anywhere from $975 to $1,675 by making the previously optional OnStar a standard feature. Next ...

View more: 2023 GMC Sierra HD 2500 and 3500 will get more expensive

Our week with EVs: Recapping the diverse collection of electric cars we tested

Mercedes-Benz EQB First Drive Review: Next electric Benz is a little different 2022 Chevy Bolt EV Road Test Review: Time to play EV, gas or airplane 2023 Genesis GV60 Road Test Review: The third of Hyundai Group’s E-GMP EVs is the fastest, but softest It may be hard to ...

View more: Our week with EVs: Recapping the diverse collection of electric cars we tested

Europe car sales lowest since 1996 after 12-month decline

BERLIN – Europe registered the lowest number of new passenger cars in the month of June this year since 1996 at just over 1.06 million vehicles, with some carmakers seeing sales drop by nearly 50%, data from Europe’s automobile association showed on Friday. Volkswagen Group was the hardest-hit major ...

View more: Europe car sales lowest since 1996 after 12-month decline

More Than Just A Carmaker: Toyota Motor PH Launches Toyota Mobility Solutions

Automotive industry leader, Toyota Motor Philippines Corporation (TMP) inaugurated today Toyota Mobility Solutions Philippines, Inc. (TMSPH), a wholly owned subsidiary that will be a provider of mobility-related services. TMSPH ventures into the development and offering of a range of ‘new mobility solutions’ that will enhance Toyota as a brand ...

View more: More Than Just A Carmaker: Toyota Motor PH Launches Toyota Mobility Solutions

'F1 22' feels fast and familiar | Gaming Roundup

‘F1 22’ impressions ‘Construction Simulator’ is launching Sept. 20 Autoblog may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page. Pricing and availability are subject to change. This week in racing game news: ‘F1 22’ impressions At its core, “F1 22,” the latest installment in the F1 ...

View more: 'F1 22' feels fast and familiar | Gaming Roundup

Watch a single-engine plane crash-land on 91 Freeway in California

A single-engine Piper Cherokee airplane was forced to crash land on the 91 Freeway in California after losing power about 45 minutes outside of Los Angeles. Yes, that means this was a very busy highway, practically bursting at the seams with traffic. No, amazingly nobody died, either in the ...

View more: Watch a single-engine plane crash-land on 91 Freeway in California

Ford files 'Mustang Dark Horse' trademark application

Make adventures more comfortable with high-quality Jeep grab handles

New Lucid Air variant to debut & Stealth Look to be on display during Monetary Car Week

Chevy offers incentives to prevent Corvette Z06 flipping

Average U.S. gas price falls below $4/gallon

German court: SUV driver must pay more than a car for running red light

Australian vehicle crash tests to include underwater performance

Toyota C-HR rumored to get revamp next year and an EV version

Geely's electric Zeekr 009 is an EV Alphard we never had; 700 km, 542 PS, top speed 190 km/h

A Newey, Brawn and Anderson row that shows F1 doesn’t change

Sorry, EV buyers, you won't get to pick your own pedestrian safety sounds

There won't be enough copper to meet climate goals, study indicates

OTHER CAR NEWS

; Kênh kiến thức kỹ năng, phát triển bản thân, hướng nghiệp, blog nhân sự