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Engine Warmer: The Ultimate Guide

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I know you’re looking for an engine warmer, and that’s why you should read this guide.

It saves you from excess exhaust emission, high fuel consumption, cold starting, wears and tear of your engine.

But, how can you find the right one?

Today’s guide answers this as it takes you through every aspect; from definition, parts, classification, working principle, and many more.

Let’s get started…

Chapter 1: What is Engine Warmer?

Let’s begin with the basics

An engine is a machine that converts thermal energy into power to produce motion.

Most automobiles have engines that provide the power they need to move from one place to another.

It is, therefore, important to maintain the engine in good working conditions for better efficiency.

An Engine warmer is a device that warms up the engine and increases the chances of starting during the winter season.

Just from the name, you can deduce that the device is an important part of the engine in the cold weather.

It ensures that your engine is free of frost even in the most severe cases of cold weather.

Cold starting an engine has been a major cause of tear and wear of the engine parts.

An engine warmer has inbuilt components that keep the engine of your car warm all the time.

It has a self-regulating thermostat and an inbuilt pump that reduces wear and tear of the engine parts.

Vehicle engine

Vehicle engine

An engine warmer is compact, robust and light in weight, with a heating system that can fit any engine.

It provides consistent and rapid heating of the engine ensuring that it is warm enough to start.

Depending on the type of engine warmer, you may find one that can warm the interior of the car as well.

Have a look at this:

Diesel engine warmer

Engine warmer

Just like any other machine, an engine warmer needs an extra source of power to function.

Some of them depend on diesel or gasoline as you will find out later in this guide.

Chapter 2: Advantages of using the Engine Warmer

You might be wondering why an engine warmer is so important to your car.

As you are about to find out, an engine warmer has numerous benefits.

It is a product that will add value to your engine and support many functions.

Here are some of the advantages of using the engine warmer on your car.

 Engine warmer

Engine warmer

· Reduce engine wear due to cold starting

Starting your car engine especially in the cold weather can cause engine wear.

This is because the engine oil might not be warm enough to flow freely.

Consequently, the engine warmer will make sure the engine oil is fluid enough to flow.

It will lubricate the parts and reduce engine wear.

· Reduce excess emissions

Attempting to start your car after a long period in the cold usually leads to excess emissions.

This is because the vehicle uses a lot of fuel in the attempt which might go without full combustion.

The engine warmer will make sure the engine is warm enough for a quick start.

· Reduce fuel consumption

The engine consumes a lot of fuel in an attempt to do a cold start.

Most of it goes to waste since it does not burn well.

Using an engine warmer will make sure the engine starts faster and more efficiently.

In the long run, you will reduce fuel consumption.

· Warming up the cabin

Temperature in the cabin can be very low during the winter season.

To avoid freezing inside the cabin, use an engine warmer.

The device will warm your engine as well as your cabin at the same time.

You can be sure of a warm cabin without affecting your fuel reserves.

· Increases the battery life

Cold weather can affect the chemical reactions in the battery.

A cold start will trigger unnecessary damage on the battery.

Keeping the engine compartment of the vehicle warm using the engine warmer will improve the chemical reaction in the battery.

It will, therefore, increase battery life.

· Reduce condensation in engine sumps

The cold weather can lead to the condensation of the moisture inside the cool engine parts.

It will become part of the engine oil and affect the quality of the engine oil.

Keeping the engine warm using an engine warmer will reduce condensation in the engine sumps.

· Maintenance free device

An engine warmer is a device that is self-sufficient and does not require continuous maintenance.

It will ensure your engine is warm all the time with minimal interference.

Position the device well on your engine and let it perform efficiently.

A routine check on the device is also important for surety.

Chapter 3: Parts and Components of the Engine Warmer

I am sure your curiosity is at a higher level now than when we began.

Let’s have a look at some of the key components of the engine warmer that enables it to function properly.

As a rule, you have to request for the product manual of the engine warmer.

The manual will take you through every component and part of the engine warmer.

a) Combustion-air fan unit

The combustion air fan unit allows the air the engine warmer needs for successful combustion.

Different designs of engine warmers have different components.

Some of the components include:

  • Impeller and Engine
  • Heater label
  • Combustion air openings and pipes
  • Control unit for electrical contacts



b) Diesel or Petrol burner

Engine warmers can either use diesel or petrol to produce enough heat to warm the engine.

It has a diesel or petrol burner that will burn the fuel once it gets in contact with the air.

Thus, it will make sure that the system operates sufficiently and produce necessary heat.

c) Heat Exchanger

The heat exchanger will transfer heat from the combustion chamber to the rest of the engine and the cabin.

It has the inner and outer section to ensure efficient heat exchanger to the engine and the cabin.

Most of the have O-rings that will ensure appropriate sealing and minimal heat loss.

d) Temperature and Overheating sensor

The temperature sensor will detect coolant temperature in the heat exchanger.

Normally, it signals the control unit of the condition and the process of combustion begins if it is necessary.

It will signal the control unit on when to start the healing process and when to stop the heating process.

e) Circulating Pump

The circulating pumps will provide different feed rates on the coolants in the car or the heater circuit.

It is easy to control the circulating pump from the control unit.

Cooling car system

Car coolant system

For better heating, the pump is always operating throughout the combustion process to ensure sufficient supply of heat.

e) Metering Pumps

Some heaters will depend on the fuel supply from the reserves of the car fuel tank.

The metering pumps will combine metering, transport and shut-off system for efficient fuel transfer to the heater.

In this case, the fuel in use will be coming directly from the fuel tank of the car.

f) Solenoid Valve

A solenoid valve will ensure that the fuel flows into the combustion chamber in startup phases at specific times.

It is a component that many of the engine warmers may lack.

Also, it will prevent fuel from flowing into the combustion chamber after turning the heater off.

g) Air Bleed Screw

Air bleed screw will ensure that the engine is at the right place.

The engine warmers will malfunction especially when it lacks the air bleed screw.

Whenever you are doing a routine check, make sure the air bleed screw is tight enough to hold the engine.

h) Temperature limiter

To ensure that the temperature is at a specific level, the temperature limiter will control the heating process.

It assists in keeping the temperature at the right limit and not beyond.

Besides, it is one of the safety measures or components you will find in the engine warmer.

i) Flame detector

It is another safety component in the engine warmer that will detect any possibility of fire.

Basically, it is a sensor that will detect any flames in the engine warmer.

It can, therefore, reduce any possibility of fire that can cause a lot of damage.

j) Thermostat Control

Some of the engine warmers have a thermostat control that regulates the heating process.

Using heaters for a long period might lead to damages on the coolant hose.

High temperatures are the main cause of damage on the coolant hose.

The thermostat will help in controlling the temperatures and avoid damages.

l) Exhaust Pipes

Combustion in the combustion chamber produces exhaust fumes.

t is important to get rid of the exhaust fumes from the combustion chamber of the engine warmer.

The engine warmer has an exhaust pipe that will assist in removing the excess smoke from the combustion chamber.

m) Heating Tubes

These are important components of the engine warmer that ensures sufficient supply of fuel and other fluids.

They are the channels that guide fuel and other fluid components to the engine of the vehicle.

The main material is often compatible with the fluid flowing through the tube.

n) Electric cord

This is a key electrical cord for every engine warmer that depends on electricity as a source of power.

Depending on the type of engine warmer, you are likely to find different sizes and lengths of electric cords.

It is responsible for supplying electric power for the efficient operation of the engine warmer.

o) Coolant Circulation system

The coolant circulation system allows the coolant to flow in the engine and provides enough heat to the engine.

It is among the most important components of the engine warmer that spreads the heat evenly to every part.

Apart from the engine, it also spreads the heat to the cabin.

Have a look at this:

Engine coolant and heating system

Engine cooland and heating system – Photo courtesy: How Car Works

With that in mind, let us move to the next important aspect of the engine warmer.

Chapter 4: Engine Warmer Installation Process

You may ask yourself,

“Why is it important to know about the process of installation?”

Well, let us dive right in and find out the reason behind it.

Many people wonder how difficult it is to install an engine warmer in the engine of your car.

The good news is; the installation process is not in any way a complicated process.

Note that the process may not be the same in all the installations.

This is because varying engine warmers have different specifications.

Normally, the configuration and the design may vary slightly but that should not worry you.

The simplest among the engine warmers available consist of an oil dipstick.

It is easy to install and replace the oil dip stick.

Normally, the most difficult engine warmer to install and replace splices into the radiator hoses.

The process will not take a lot of time and you will have to get the necessary tools.

This guide will take you through the process of installing an engine warmer through the easiest aspects.

First, ensure you have all the tools in place.

Some of the tools you will need include:

  • Screwdriver
  • Torque wrench
  • Tape measure
  • Drain pan
  • Felt tip pen
  • Ratchet
  • Socket
  • Engine warmer
  • Engine oil or coolant oil
  • Silicon heat transfer grease

After that, you should jack the vehicle and remove the engine cover to expose the engine well.

You should be very careful during this process because a warm engine might cause burns.

The hot engine is also the most appropriate for the installation of the engine warmer.

Because it is easy to remove the drain plugs in a warm engine than in a cool engine.

Especially when the component materials are metals and not engine blocks.

You should also consider that the engine warmers have varying designs and wattages.

Make sure the engine warmer you will choose is sufficient enough for your vehicle needs.

This is in terms of fuel consumption and the efficiency with which it warms up the car.

Next, drain the engine to get rid of oil.

Look at the engine warmer manual before attempting any of these processes.

It will guide on the dos and don’ts of the installation process.

Remove the clips that keep the cover of the radiator in place.

Remember to remove the bolts that hold the mounting brackets of the radiator.

Take the pan and place it under the engine so that it can collect the fluid draining from the engine.

You can now remove the drain plug by pulling it off gently.

Many people may not know the exact location of the drain plug.

Make sure you look at the rear of the engine block and you will locate the drain plug.

To accelerate the draining, you can remove the radiator cap.

The next process involves plugging in the engine warmer.

You can pre-fit the connection between heating rods and power cords just in case you need a blind fitting in the future.

Drop the male end of the cords into the engine compartment.

Engine heater

Engine heater

Use grease to lubricate the hole or the rod and make sure you don’t go beyond the metal clip.

After that, you can place the rod inside the hole which might cause a little resistance.

The resistance is as a result of air trying to escape from the hole.

To make the process simpler, displace the air in the hole using extra grease.

During the fixing process, you better ensure that the metal clip faces the rear of the car.

When the heater gets to the right position, you will hear a loud snap.

Since there are different types of engine warmers, you may need to use a wrench to make a tight connection.

The wrench will tighten it to a specific torque to ensure it fits properly.

Next, route the power cord which involves plugging the cords into the rods.

Have the wire run harness through the compartments of the engine.

Make sure it goes out of the front grill.

During the installation process, these are some of the points you have to note:

Make sure that the parts of the engine and the engine warmer such as the hoses are intact

After positioning the cords right, make sure it is secure using a wire.

Do not leave any slacks behind the first ties

Keep the cords behind the manifold of the engine

Following the manual will ensure that the car works properly even in the lowest of temperatures in winter.

It is important to test if the engine warmer is working properly from the control unit of your car.

You can be sure of a reduction in the amount of fuel the vehicle will consume.

I believe the process is not as complicated as you might imagine.

The engine warmer manual will also give you more information on the installation process.

Remember that the installation process will vary according to the type of engine warmer you have.

Follow the link below and watch a video that will take you through the installation process.

Chapter 5: How the Engine Warmer Works

I know you could be asking yourself how an engine heater works.

Don’t worry, I will explain.

During the cold winter season, the temperatures usually go lower than a degree centigrade or worse.

The low temperatures will affect the fluidity of the engine oil and it will begin to deteriorate.

In this condition, the engine oil will not lubricate the engine parts fast enough when you start the engine.

Engine warmer

Engine warmer

It can result in tear and wear of the engine parts which is dangerous for the normal operations of an engine.

In a situation where the temperature goes below five degrees Celsius, the fluidity of the engine oil is at its worst.

Thermal contraction and expansion of the metal parts start showing up.

In case you start the engine at this point, you will be putting the engine at risk of:

  • Tear and wear of the integral parts of the engine
  • Wasting fuel reserves as it will consume more fuel than normal
  • Increasing the level of pollution as the car will produce a lot of emissions

When the temperatures are below zero degrees, the best oil to use is the low-grade engine oil.

Thermal contraction and expansion of the metal parts are even worse.

Apart from that, chemical reactions in the battery become inactive due to the low temperatures.

The battery will lose its power in the process.

Starting the engine at this critical level will have extensive damage, increasing the level of fuel consumption.

The exhaust emissions will also be higher thus causing more pollution to the environment.

Same effect occurs on the engine of the vehicle as the temperatures reduce with time.

Cold starting the engine will only lead to further damage on the engine.

At this point, you will need the engine warmer to maintain the temperatures of your engine at normal.

With that in mind, let’s have a look at how engine heater works.

Remember, the working principle may vary depending on the type of engine warmer you choose to use.

It might involve different heating procedures for the engines.

How engine heater works

How engine heater works

 Note that there are many types of engine warmers that have different sources of power.

This guide will take you through two types so that you can have a better understanding.

· Electric Engine Warmer

This type of electric warmer needs an external source of power which is electricity.

Let’s find out what really happens when you are using the electric engine warmer.

Most of the electric engine warmers have heating elements in the engine blocks.

The heating element also has an external cord which you can connect to an electric source.

A cord will supply the electric power for running the engine warmer.

Since there are different types of electric warmers, you can replace one of the engine cords with the engine warmer cord.

The heating element of the engine warmer usually goes inside the engine coolant.

By heating the engine coolant, the fluid will warm up.

Just as the fluid flows through the engine to keep it cool, it will flow through the engine and keep it warm.

Many countries that experience extreme winter conditions have electric cords that you can connect to the electric engine warmer.

Most of these cords are available at the parking lots so that you can warm your car in the idle mode.

Electric engine heater

Electric engine heater

Most of the engine warmers do not have pumps for pumping fuel.

The type of pump you will find will help in distributing the warmth through the car engine.

Whenever you are shopping for an electric engine warmer, do not compromise on the length of the cord.

Make sure that you check the voltage of the engine warmer to avoid unnecessary complications.

There are some types of electric engine warmers that will depend on electric power from the battery.

You should be careful not to drain the battery of the car.

In some instances, you will have to install another battery that will supply the electric power.

In this case, you will have to purchase a battery warmer as the battery may become culprits of the cold weather.

Extreme conditions of cold weather might affect the chemical reactions in the battery thus affecting the supply of power.

· Gasoline or Diesel Engine Warmer

This type of engine warmer does not need an external source of power to function properly.

It gives you the opportunity of warming up your engine anywhere at any time.

These heaters depend on diesel and gasoline as the source of power to heat up the engine.

You can either have a fuel reserve for running this type of engine warmers.

Apart from that, you can depend on the gasoline or diesel from the tank of your car.

In this case, the engine warmer has a combustion chamber where the heating takes place.

In the combustion chamber, the diesel or the gasoline will mix with the air coming in through a different inlet.

The mixture will get to a particular threshold where it will burn producing heat and exhaust fumes.

Since the diesel engine warmer has an exhaust pipe, the exhaust fume will pass through the exhaust pipe.

With the help of the heat exchangers, the heat will spread all through the engine of the car and the cabin.

The engine warmer has a pump that will assist in pumping gasoline or diesel to the combustion chamber.

Have a look at the following diagram.

Engine warmer

Engine warmer

The diesel or electric warmer will depend on the thermosiphon principle.

Thermosiphon principle involves the engine warmer preheating the coolant of the engine through convection.

Since hot air rise, the warm air will rise and flow through the piping system to the parts of the engine.

It will also go through the pipes to the cabin to warm it up.

As the air rises, the cold dense air replaces it by flowing downwards into the combustion chamber.

It will mix with fuel and burn to produce more heat.

The process continues under the control of the controlling unit until the engine heats properly.

In most of the engine warmers, these are the main principles at work.

Modern engine warmers may have better working principals for better efficiency.

It is important to have the engine warmer technical manual to assist you to understand the process.

Chapter 6: Engine Warmer Applications

Let’s have a look at some of the key applications of the engine warmer.

As the name suggests, it is a very important part of the engine.

You can use it in different engines of different cars as you are about to find out.

Engine warmer

Engine warmer

· Engine Warmer for a car

In warm and sunny weather, you will never hear about an engine car warmer.

During the winter season, you will probably need one to warm your car engine and cabin.

It will prevent the engine of your car from freezing.

Many modern cars come with an inbuilt engine warmer.

· Engine Warmer for a truck

The engine warmer will keep the engine and cabin of your car warm making it easy to start.

You will not have to idle the engine of your car to make the engine warm.

This will reduce air pollution and increase the level of fuel conservation and save you money.

· Engine Warmer for Marine

Operating your boat and other marine equipment such as submarines will require an engine warmer.

The engine warmer will keep the engine warm and also make sure the occupants are comfortable.

It will reduce the tear and wear of the engine for a longer operational life.

· Engine Warmers for Bus

To improve the performance of the buses in the winter season, make sure you have an engine warmer.

It will save you from a cold start and improve the efficiency of the bus with minimal emissions.

The bus engines will also last longer with minimal maintenance.

· Engine Warmer for Generators

Your generator will also need an engine warmer for efficient operations in the cold season.

The engine warmer will improve the fluidity of the fluids for better operations.

It will ensure that the engine can start efficiently in the deep cold winter season.

· Engine Warmer for Sprint car

Just like any other engine, the sprint car will need an engine warmer for efficient operations.

A sprint car does not require cold starting, especially in a race.

The engine warmer will reduce emissions and eliminate cold starts completely.

Remember to purchase a good engine warmer from a supplier you can rely on.


I believe that you are now an expert and you can make better decisions to improve the health of your car.

Visit your dealer and order for a good engine warmer for your car or any engine operations in preparation for winter.

Remember to request for a manual to guide you on how to use the specific engine warmer you have.

And, in case you have any questions, VVKB team is here to help you.

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