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Engine Preheater: The Complete Guide

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You may not hear about the “engine preheater” before, but this product may really benefit your family and your business.

An engine preheater will warm start your engine in super cold winter, if you are in the business, congratulation!

This product will skyrocket your business in the near future.

In this guide, you will know everything about the engine preheater.

Let’s dive right in.

Chapter 1:

What is Engine Preheater?

The engine preheater is the device that preheats the engine at low temperatures in winter before starting.

It protects and warms up the engine by heating up the coolant and transferring the heat to the engine through the coolant.

In this way, the engine temperature rises, viscosity of the fuel reduces.

Protecting the engine and achieving the effect of hot starting.

So its main function is to reduce the engine fuel  viscosity, to avoid the engine wear and to lower the engine exhaust pollutant emissions.

Different countries have different callings for engine preheater, such as engine heater, block heater, coolant heater, etc.

In the cold winter, when others are busy starting the car,  our users just need to connect the engine preheater to power supply in advance.

After a short period of time, the car can be easily ignited and our users can enjoy a warm cabin environment.

Engine preheater renderings

Engine preheater renderings

Why You Need Engine Preheater

In the low temperature environment, due to the shrinkage effect, the matching gap between the engine parts will become larger, resulting in poor air tightness, incomplete vaporization of the fuel, increased lubricating oil viscosity, and easy to freeze.

The ignition coil and battery voltage will drop correspondingly.

And the cold start of the car will cause difficulty in starting the car in a short period of time; the power will drop, and the long-term cold start will cause damage to engine parts.

The most vital issue is insufficient lubrication.

If the engine parts are not well lubricated, the surface of the moving parts will be under dry friction state.

The wear will increase greatly.

If it works for a long-term time, it will greatly shorten the engine life and even damage the engine parts– it will cause the engine cylinders scrapped, and then will also affect vehicle emissions and cost much fuel.

There is also a part of the oil left in the lubricating oil passage.

When the temperature lowers, the oil will freeze and block the lubricating oil passage.

When the users make a cold start, the blocked lubricating oil passage will greatly increase the oil pump pressure, and may damage the oil pump.

The solidified lubricating oil will greatly increase the resistance of the engine starting.

That may cause excessive wear of the engine starter, and even more serious, will cause damage to the starter.

Following is one answer about car repair charge from quora.com

A small independent garage in a small town may only charge $50-80 per hour, based on book rates, not actual time.  A high line dealer in a major city? Likely over $200 per hour.  Most dealerships are between $80 and 120 per hour…many offer discounted flat rates for service (you NEVER pay that rate for an oil change). ”

“I live in Germany and see that a mechanic can charge from 55-80 euro per hour. If you go to a franchised dealership it can be up to 120 euro per hour!

So if the engine falls faulty, it takes a long time to maintenance and also costs a lot.

In this way, VVKB engine preheater allows our users to reduce their car costs by more than $5,000 per year.

Advantages of Engine Preheater

In cold winter, the correct way is to use engine preheater to preheat the engine up to 30-40℃ahead of time before starting.

It can help:

  1. The cooperation between the engine parts are restored to the original gap; the airtightness becomes normal, and the fuel can be completed fully atomized and burnt in the cylinder, so that the engine reaches the output power and can be quickly started, greatly reducing the pollutants emissions.
  2. The oil melts. It can quickly reach at the various lubrication nodes through the oil pump.
  3. The lubricating oil melts and engine starting resistance is greatly reduced. With the small resistance, only a small amount of battery power is required, and the engine can be started normally and quickly. In this way, it can greatly extend the life of the car starters.
  4. After the engine is warmed up by VVKB engine preheater, the entire circulatory system will start to be warm gradually. When our users enter the car, they can enjoy the warm interior cabin. In this way, our users do not need to wear heavy clothes to drive in the cold winter. We all know that wearing heavy clothes will slow down our users’ driving response. That can be very dangerous.

In conclusion, VVKB engine preheater let users start the cars more easily to protect the engine parts and enjoy the warm interior cabin in cold winter, but also save a lot of vehicle costs and pollutant emission.

Why not choose VVKB engine preheaters as the winter companion for vehicles?

VVKB Engine preheater will enrich your product line and make you more competitive in your market!

Chapter 2:

Types of Engine Heaters

Engine preheater can also be called as in-line coolant engine heater, in-line coolant heater, in-line engine heater, etc.

According to different design and different occasion, it can be divided into the following models:

Oil pan engine heater

It’s a kind of silicone rubber heating pad, with a heating cable in the middle of the silicone rubber.

It can either warm the sump or directly stick to the engine.

But it’s still the most commonly used to heat the sump.

In this way, both the sump and the engine oil can be heated.

This oil pan heater is one of the indispensable engine-heating accessories in the cold area.

Representative brand: Proheat, Wolverine heaters, etc.

Representative brand: Proheat, Wolverine heaters, etc.

Magnetic engine preheater

Magnetic engine heater is similar to oil pan engine heater.

The difference is that the magnetic engine heater adsorbs on the iron surface and transmits heat to the engine by magnetic eddy.

Representative brand: Zerostart, Kat’s.

Engine heater with built-in pump

As the name suggests, its biggest advantage is that it has a built-in circulating pump.

This pump can assist to circulate the heated coolant.

It will make the engine more evenly heated, and greatly shorten the heating time.

They also have a built-in temperature control system for heating.

The heating temperature will be always maintained between 45-65℃.

This temperature range can reduce the engine’s wear by 20% and reduce the pollutants by 30%.

VVKB Engine preheater Titan-P1
VVKB Engine preheater Titan-P3
VVKB Engine preheater Titan-P5

Representative products: VVKB Engine preheater Titan-P1, Titan-P3, Titan-P5, Titan-B1, etc. 

  • Engine heater without a pump

For easier installation, some companies have designed an engine preheater without the built-in pump that can be directly connected to the water pipe.

Heating up the coolant by thermal convection.

According to the market’s feedback, some users have a problem that coolant can not flow smoothly due to the different installation height.

We have our VVKB engine preheater Titan-P6, which is without the pump.

To solve this problem, we designed a check valve for this Titan-P6.

So it allows the antifreeze to flow out of the heater’s water outlet.

And we also designed a metal thermostat to guarantee the safety.

DEFA Engine Heater SafeStart 710-757

DEFA Engine Heater SafeStart

VVKB engine heater Titan-P6

VVKB engine heater Titan-P6

  • Engine warming blanket

It can be covered on the engine to warm up the engine by thermal convection.

Engine warming blanket

Engine warming blanket

Freeze plug engine heater

Insert this heater into engine cylinder.

It can warm up the engine by heating up the engine coolant.

But its biggest disadvantage is no thermal control system and troublesome installation.

Engine Block Heater

Engine Block Heater

Freeze plug engine heater

Engine Block Heater

Head bolt heater

This is a kind of heater used about half a century ago, and nowadays rarely used.

It has a simple structure, and it’s directly immersed in the engine liquid.

It provides heat to the coolant by heating resistance wires.

Head bolt heater

Head bolt heater

Diesel Engine Heater

The diesel engine heater, also known as engine coolant heater, is different from any other types of engine preheater.

The diesel engine heater burns diesel or gasoline, and transfer the generated heat to the engine through the coolant.

Unlike other engine preheaters, It uses 12V or 24V battery in the car, so there is no need to be connected to a household electrical power.

And it is very easy to use and provides continuous heat to the cabin.

The only drawback is that the diesel engine heater is kind of expensive — it needs to consume the fuel and requires regular maintenance.

Representatives brand: Webasto,  Eberspaecher and VVKB

VVKB Diesel Engine Heater

VVKB Diesel Engine Heater

Parts and Components of Engine Heater

Here we mainly refer to the engine heater with built-in pump

Pump system

Mostly are ma agnetic built-in pump.

It has petite structure, so can make engine heater itself more compact design.

Pic as following

Engine preheater Pump system

Engine preheater Pump system

Pump rotor

The pump rotor sleeve is die-cast from PPT material.

And PPT is wear-resistant, so can make the rotor sleeve work for a long time with less wear.

The magnetic pump is a permanent magnet made of RE (rare earth material).

A stainless steel shaft goes through the middle of the permanent magnet, so the entire permanent magnet is installed inside the rotor sleeve.

At the top of the stainless steel shaft, there is a small impeller made of PPT material.

When the magnetic pump is energized, it will generate a magnetic field, and the rotor starts to rotate rapidly.

It will drive the impeller to rotate, so that the water  can flow fast and efficiently through the engine preheater.

engine heater pump rotor

engine heater pump rotor


To meet the low temperature requirement, the heater cord outer layer should be made of rubber, and it must also be able to withstand the temperature as low as -40℃.

What’s more, there are different plug types for different countries.

So far, in the market, there are American standard (used in the United States, Canada, Japan, etc.), the European standard (used in Europe), and Australian standard (used in Australia).

DEFA Safestart Connection kit

DEFA Safestart Connection kit

Engine heater European standard plug

Engine heater European standard plug

Engine heater North American standard plug

Engine heater North American standard plug

Engine preheater cord

Engine preheater cord

VVKB Connection Kit

VVKB Connection Kit


The timer is an extra accessory.

It’s an optional choice, so it is not included in every engine preheater.

It can set the certain time for both starting and shutting down the heater, which saves much energy.

The supermarket usually sells the timers.

engine heater Timer

Engine heater Timer

Thermostat control

A thermostat plays a very vital role, although some engine heaters do not use a thermostat.

In fact,. It can control the temperature of the coolant inside the engine.

It does not happen because the heating time is too long.

Usually, the thermostat used on the engine preheater is a circular thermostat of a ceramic casing.

The inside is a bi-metal, which relies on the different thermal expansion and contraction principle of the metal to control the opening and closing of the thermostat.

The contacts of the thermostat use silver-containing contacts, which greatly extend the life of the thermostat.

The VVKB heater has been using the dual thermostat to control the heater since 2012, which will make the heater safer.

Engine preheater thermostat

Engine preheater thermostat

Thermostat control

Thermostat control

VVKB Engine preheater Titan-P1 Thermostat

VVKB Engine preheater Titan-P1 Thermostat

Heating tubes

The main heating element of the engine preheater is the electric heating tube.

There are copper heating tube, stainless steel heating tube and iron heating tube.

Copper heating tube has good heat dissipation function, and are relatively easy to process, but expensive.

So it’s commonly used in mostly heaters. Stainless steel heating tubes and iron heating tubes are rarely used now.

Some companies have cast the heating tube in the aluminum block, such as VVKB engine preheater Titan-P3 and VVKB engine preheater Titaa-P4.

In this way, there is no problem for lack of antifreeze, and the heating tube damage won’t be damaged due to wrong installation.

And in 2010, VVKB began to design PTC as heating elements for engine preheaters.

After numerous experiments, we successfully developed the reliable PTC engine preheater named Titan-B1 in 2015, and obtained German patent and EU patent in 2016.

Engine block heater Heating tubes

Engine block heater Heating tubes

Engine heater Heating tubes

Engine heater Heating tubes

Engine preheater Heating tubes

Engine preheater Heating tubes

Coolant circulation system (inlet and outlet connection)

The engine preheater has a water inlet and outlet for connecting the vehicle cooling system.

They are respectively distributed on both sides in a straight line or a right angle.

The diameter of the inlet and the outlet are in accordance with mostly vehicle models.

It’s 16 mm, so can be compatible with the inner diameter at the range of 16-19 mm coolant hose.

Coolant circulation system

Coolant circulation system

T connector

Some trucks or construction machinery vehicles have a large amount of coolant.

To save heating time, it is necessary to use a T-connector to allow to shorten the coolant circulation path and reducing the heating time.

VVKB engine heater T connector

VVKB engine heater T connector

How does VVKB Engine Heater Work

The engine preheater is device mainly to heat up the engine coolant.

Connect the heater into the hoses from the cooling system of the vehicles.

Supply to AC110V or AC230V power, so the inside electric heating tube starts to produce the heat to warm up the coolant around.

Then the built-in pump delivers the heated coolant to the water jacket, allowing whole engine to warm up.

In this way, the engine can be started smoothly even in the cold winter.

Engine Heater Installation Process

  1. Find the right coolant hose and cut off.
  2. Connect both water inlet and outlet of the engine preheater to hose and tighten the screws.
  3. Add antifreeze and check whether there is any leaks.
  4. Start the engine, and let the engine idle for a few minutes to expel excess air in the coolant line.
  5. Connect the heater to power sully and run.
  6. Check the antifreeze level in the water tank whether it’s sufficient. If not, please add.
Engine preheater installation picture

Engine preheater installation picture

Chapter 3:

Engine Heater Applications

Car engine preheater

When the car is parked over night, most of the oil will return to the sump due to gravity.

In winter at low temperature, the engine cannot be warmed up in a short time.

When the car starts, the oil fluidity will deteriorate, and it will be difficult to reach at each lubrication point.

Meanwhile, the oil between the piston and the cylinder solidifies a lot.

It leads to the difficult to start.

The car engine preheater can solve this problem, allowing the oil to be lubricated and let the engine to start more easily.

Car engine preheater

Car engine preheater

VVKB Car engine preheater

VVKB Car engine preheater

Truck engine heater

Mostly trucks have the diesel engines.

As we know, when the temperature drops to 0℃, it’s very hard for the diesel engine to start.

Under such circumstances, a truck engine heater will prevent this troublesome issue.

By heating up the antifreeze from the cooling system, the engine temperature can quickly increase and the oil between the piston and the cylinder can be lubricated well.

Here is the advantages to use truck engine heater.

  1. Easier start for the truck.
  2. Save lots of fuel that is lost during the ignition period.
  3. Reduce the engine wear.
  4. Reduce the exhaust pollution
  5. Provide heat for truck in a short time.
Truck engine preheater

Truck engine preheater

Tractor engine heater

The truck heater can also be used into different kinds of tractors, as they are similar and both of them have diesel engines.

The only difference is that normally the tractor is kind of smaller than the truck.

In this way, engine heater with lower power rate can fit in the tractor well.

Tractor engine preheater

Tractor engine preheater

Marine engine heater

Normally the boat or other marine has diesel engine (or sometimes gasoline engine)  Both engines can get cold start problem in winter, and we should use a marine engine heater to fix that.

Marine engine preheater

Marine engine preheater

Boat engine heater

People often install diesel engine (or sometimes gasoline engine) on boat.

Both of engines can get cold start problem in winter, and we should use a boat engine heater to fix that.

Boat engine preheater

Boat engine preheater

ATV engine heater

Compared to common household cars, the ATV is usually parking in the parking lot, and won’t be much daily used.

So in the winter when at low temperature, much engine oil remained in the bottom of the sump.

Thus, it need ATV engine heater to warm up the engine, let oil go through each lubrication point.

It can protect the ATV’s engine from much wearing.

ATV engine preheater

ATV engine preheater

Snowmobile engine heater

It’s necessary to provide heat for snow mobile’s engine since it usually works at low temperature.

After warming up the engine, the snow mobile can start easier with less exhaust emission.

Snow mobile engine preheater

Snow mobile engine preheater

Snow mobile engine preheater

Snow mobile engine preheater

Bus engine heater

After one night parking, it will be very hard for bus to start the engine in the early morning when it’s cold winter.

With the bus engine heater, the engine can be warmed up quickly and the bus can be started more easily.

In this way, bus drivers have no worry for cold start problem, and get more time for rest.

Bus engine preheater

Bus engine preheater

Generator heater

Normally the generator is made of engine and coils, so it also has the engine cold start problem.

Generator engine heater provides heat for the engine, and also reduces its wear.

Generator engine preheater

Generator engine preheater

Racing car engine heater

It’s necessary to maintain the sufficient temperature for the racing car during the car race, because the engine of the racing car is kind of expensive.

In order to fit well in the racing car, the racing car engine heater is designed into smaller size with lighter weight.

This engine preheater is able to keep the enough temperature for the racing car and reduce the possible engine wear.

Racing car engine preheater

Racing car engine preheater

Sprint car engine heater

Between the interval, it’s important to keep the engine running at high temperature to get ready for the next race.

It can also help reduce a lot of wear caused to the engine.

Nobody wants to see his/her expensive sprint car engine get damaged.

Therefore, it’s highly recommended to use our engine heater ,(small, light and easy to install) to protect the engine and get a good ranking.

Sprint car engine preheater

Sprint car engine preheater

Karting engine heater

Many years ago, the air-cooled engine is the standard part for karting.

And this kind of engine can’t maintain the sufficient temperature for the next match.

But now, kartings mainly use water-cooled engine.

So karting engine heater can keep warming the engine during the match intervals to maintain the sufficient temperature and to be ready for the next match.

Karting engine preheater

Karting engine preheater

  • Engine Heater Technical Specifications
  • Main manufacturer for engine heater around the world

There are 5 main famous engine heater manufacturers around the world.

1. Phillips&Temro Industries. The company was founded in 1920 in Minnesota, USA. It manufactures various kinds of heating products. In addition to engine preheaters, they also produce a variety of cooling and ventilation products. With abundant product range, it becomes one of the major manufacturers among the auto heater market.

Phillips & Temro Industries

Phillips & Temro Industries

2. HOTSTART was founded in 1942, producing engine preheaters, oil heaters and battery heaters. Their products are widely used in North America. (



3. Victor Industries Ltd.  was established in 1996, specializing in the production of various engine preheaters, parking heaters, and fuel heaters for all kinds of vehicles, such as trucks, cars, ships and RVs and tents. All products comply with FCC, CE, RoHS standards. VVKB engine preheater is known for its superior design and high quality with competitive price.

Victor Industries Ltd.

Victor Industries Ltd.

4. DEFA Groupfounded in 1946, was a well-known company from Norway. They provide products and services for charging, preheating and securing all kinds of vehicles. DEFA’s engine preheaters are well known in Europe and own many Nordic customers.



5. Kat’s Engine Heater is a brand from Five Star Manufacturing, founded in 1948. It’s a manufacturing company that provides winter cold start solutions for heavy machinery vehicles and trucks. It’s main products is the Frost Plug Heater, which has no thermostat and no built-in water pump. It’s very simple, and is directly mounted onto the engine.

Kat's engine heater

Kat’s engine heater

The above five are not only engine preheater manufacturers around the world.

But they can be the top companies in the global market.

Their engine preheaters are commonly used in the global market and have been tested in the market for some certain time.

Therefore, they have more experience in this industry and know to provide users with better and more professional service.

You can click their website link to learn more about each company.

  • Safety issue and standard compliance

Since the engine preheater is used in various fuel vehicles, electrical safety is most important.

Meanwhile, there is antifreeze flowing inside the heater, so its sealing performance is also strictly required.

Therefore, it must comply with TUV, CE, RoHS and FCC standards.

  • Material – IPX4

Sealing materials are vital for engine preheater, and they must bear low temperature and resist fuel.

Usually, we use silicone rubber as sealing materials.

  • Rated power

It has rated power of500W, 1000W, 1500W, 2000W, 2500W and 3000W.

  • Rated voltage

It has rated voltage of AC110V, AC120V, AC220V, AC230V and AC240V

  • Life and types of the pump

The heater uses an improved magnetic pump.

Its electrical part is completely separated from the coolant.

It guarantees the sealing issue, so no need to worry about electrical broke down due to leaking.

And its lifespan can reach at 5000 hours.

  • Temperature sensor(thermostat)

The outer casing of the temperature sensor is made of ceramic, while its metal contact is made of silver alloy.

The selected good materials can greatly extend its service life.

  • Heating material and its lifespan

The electric heating tube is made of copper.

Copper has good thermal conductivity, so can quickly transfer the heat generated by the heating wire to the coolant.

It can also greatly extend the service life of the electric heating tube.

Normally the lifespan of electric heating tube is about 8000 hours.

  • Outer casing material

The outer casing of the engine preheater is die-cast from aluminum, which is easy processed and corrosion-resistant.

  • Cord

The cord of the engine preheater must be low-temperature resistant.

And normally for VVKB engine preheater, its cord is resistant to low temperatures of -45 degrees Celsius.

  • Dimension and weight

11cm X 9cm X 8cm is the dimension of the smallest VVKB engine preheater.

And its weight varies from 0.8KG – 1.5KG. VVKB engine preheater can fit well in most vehicle models.

engine heater Titan-P4

engine heater Titan-P4

engine heater

engine heater

engine preheater Titan-P5

engine preheater Titan-P5

Engine preheater-3D

Engine preheater-3D

  • Engine Heater Cost – How Much Should I Pay for an Engine Heater

The price of engine preheaters varies widely, from $100 to $600, according to different function and brands.

But normal price range is between US$120 and US$200.

The following  is the price from Amazon:

Engine preheater-3D

price of VVKB engine preheater

Engine preheater-3D

Engine preheater-3D

  • Engine Heaters Troubleshooting

No. 1 The built-in pump works intermittently.


There is air in the heater or water hose, causing no circulation of the pump.


Re-install the heater and expel the air.

Make sure there is no air.

No. 2 The built-in pump cannot work.


Too much water scale in the circulation system blocks the pump.


Clean the heater and replace the coolant.

No. 3 Electricity Leakage


Please check the heater’s electrical part whether it’s dry.

Because there may be water leakage in the heater or there is liquid infiltrating into the electrical part from the heater interface.


Dry up the heater and use the multimeter to test the motor.

If its resistance is around 600-700Ω, the pump is in good condition.

If not, replace the pump.

The pump’s part number is T18012P220.

No. 4 Connected to the power, but the heater has no reaction.


The electric heating tube burned down or the thermostat is damaged.


  1. Test the electric heating tube with the multimeter. The normal resistance will be 10-50Ω. If exceeds, please replace the electric heating tube. Its part number is T18012P215.
  2. Test the thermostat with a multimeter. If its resistance is infinity, it means the thermostat is damaged. Please replace the thermostat. Its part number is T18012P268 (for Tian-P2,Titan-P3, Titan-P4, Titan-P5 and Titan-B1), while part number T18012P269 for Titan-P1.
  • Engine Heaters Installation Precaution
  1. All engine heaters have been tested before sending, and approved by the TUV certificates, so you don’t need to test them again when received it.

PS: The engine heater will be damaged if tested it without coolant inside. And this damage is out of our warranty.

  1. Make sure the engine heater is full of coolant, and there is no air inside.
  2. The engine heater must be installed 20cm lower than car water tank and must be away from the fuel pipeline.
  3. The outer shell of the engine heater must be dry.
  4. When the heater is working, the outer shell temperature is similar to the ambient temperature, and the water hose won’t be so hot. So if the heater shell is very hot, please follow the Troubleshooting solution 1 to solve it.


According to the advice from professionals, please use the engine preheater to warm up the engine before starting.

It can both extend the engines’ service life and to protect our environment.

Perhaps, some people from the warmer area will say that the temperature from the city they live hardly drops below 0 degrees.

But the normal working temperature of the engine is around 90 degrees Celsius. Usually, the engine needs to be warmed up if the temp is below 10 degrees.

It will greatly reduce the vehicle failure rate.

This guidebook has already covered all aspects of engine preheaters, from the basic structure, parts, benefits, working principle, product application to key manufacturers.

There are many options for all types of preheaters.

However,  considering the convenient installation and the maintenance cost, people are more likely to choose engine preheaters with built-in pumps.

Regarding the market prospects, we can see a clearly rising curve on Google Trends about engine preheater.

It’s very wise to choose to join an industry with an uptrend.

It will promote greatly to your business.

For more inquiries, please contact our VVKB team.

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