Although for heating vehicles are used how block heaters, and remote starters They are different technologies that perform different functions. The block of heaters warms up the engine before its start, and remote starters start the car from a distance. Here is a close look at the difference between them.

Heater unit vs remote starter

General conclusions

Block heaters
  • Warm up the engine to help reduce engine damage caused by cold starts.

  • Prevent engine coolant from gelling by dissipating heat to the radiator faster.

  • Do not allow the oil to thicken or turn into a gum.

remote starters
  • Start the engine from a distance.

  • Interior heating, reducing or eliminating time spent behind the wheel in a cold car.

  • Do not protect the engine from the risk of a cold start.

Block heaters are useful in very cold situations as they help warm up the engine before it starts. This helps to reduce the damage caused by starting the engine at low temperatures. Remote starters, on the other hand, simply start the engine from a distance, allowing you to wait in a warm environment while the vehicle interior warms up.

Use cases: engine maintenance and remote control convenience

Block heaters
  • Designed to keep the engine and peripheral components warm at dangerously low temperatures

  • May prevent damage caused by excessively cold engine starts.

remote starters
  • Allows you to start and warm up the car from a distance.

  • Does not affect engine performance or protect against damage.

Block heaters are electrical heating elements that prevent the engine coolant from gelling. It is important to keep the coolant as thin as possible, since gel coolant is colder and therefore has trouble dissipating heat from the engine to the radiator. At very low temperatures, block heaters can prevent oil from thickening and turning into tar. This task is less important, but it can reduce engine wear. It also allows older engines to run closer to peak efficiency without having to warm up. And that means less time sitting in a cold car waiting to warm up.

Remote starters allow you to start the engine from a distance. The idea is that you don’t have to wait inside the car while the interior warms up. You just have to make sure your car’s climate control is set to the correct settings. The main advantage of a remote starter is comfort and convenience, not care and maintenance of the engine. A remote starter will not prevent damage if the weather gets cold enough to oil or freeze the engine coolant.

Engine Maintenance: Block Heaters Keep Moving

Block heaters
  • Help keep parts warm, extending engine life.

remote starters
  • Nothing prolongs the life of the engine.

If you’ve parked your car outside and the temperature is low enough to gel the antifreeze or turn the oil into a thick sludge, then the remote starter won’t do you any good. Even if the remote starter starts your engine in very cold conditions, it can be damaged when it gets hot. If you have a heated garage, then a remote starter might come in handy.

Avoid driving in a garage that is poorly ventilated, as this can lead to a deadly buildup of carbon monoxide.

Block heaters can prevent engine damage in extremely cold weather at a relatively low cost. Certain block heaters, especially those that heat the engine coolant, can make you more comfortable during your rides by quickly providing warm air from the radiator.

While remote starters allow you to warm up your car without going outside, they are most useful when it’s not cold enough to keep the unit warm. However, it’s still cold enough that jumping into an unheated car would be uncomfortable.

Types of engine and block heaters

There are several different types of engine heaters, some of which are not necessarily block heaters.

  • Oil heaters are heating elements that are installed in place of the dipstick or attached to the bottom of the oil pan. The heat they radiate keeps the engine oil loose and warm, preventing engine damage and increasing fuel consumption. Use these types of heaters if you live in a particularly cold area. However, they will not make you more comfortable.
  • Integrated coolant heaters heat the coolant to supply heat to the radiator. The coolant supplies warm air to the car interior. In cold weather, the coolant may take some time to absorb and dissipate heat from the engine. Integrated coolant heaters speed up this process by installing the heater directly into the radiator hose.
  • Contact heaters are bolted to the engine, usually a block, and heat the engine by conduction. They are similar to oil heaters that are attached to the oil pan. Contact heaters heat the coolant and oil. In extremely cold conditions, block heaters keep engine oil and coolant thinner, preventing catastrophic engine damage. They are not needed in temperate climates.
  • Heaters are large pads with resistive heating elements woven into them. They do not directly heat the engine or its fluids. They radiate heat into the engine, warming up the engine compartment. They are useful in freezing climates where there is a high risk of engine damage during cold starts.
  • Other Electric Heater Options

    You can connect the block heater to the electrical outlet timer using a remote starter. While this is a somewhat tricky solution, it allows the car to be started from a distance, as well as preheating the engine to reduce wear and tear.

    Plug-in electric car heaters — this is another way to warm up the interior of the car before entering it. To do this, you will need a garage or access to an electrical outlet. However, this more efficient method than starting the engine via remote starter. Depending on the source of electricity where you live, this may also be better for the environment. However, you must be careful about the type of heater you use, as most residential space heaters are not safe to use in cars .

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