How to Use a Subaru Block Heater and Keep Your Car Running Smoothly During Winter

If you live in an area with cold climate, you may have experienced the challenge of starting your car on a frosty morning. The last thing you want is to damage your car or be stranded in the cold. Fortunately, owning a Subaru car means you have the option to use a block heater to help keep your car in good condition during the winter season. In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about using a Subaru block heater.

What is a block heater and how does it work?

A block heater is an electrical device that is installed in the engine block of a car to keep the engine warm in cold temperatures. It works by heating the coolant in the engine, which in turn warms up the engine block and oil. By warming up the engine, a block heater helps reduce the wear and tear on critical engine parts, and helps make starting the car on cold days easier.

Benefits of using a Subaru block heater

Using a block heater for your Subaru car can be highly beneficial, especially during the winter season. Here are some of the most significant benefits:

  • Faster engine warm-up: With a block heater, your car’s engine will be warm even before you start it up, resulting in faster warm-up times. This can make a significant difference in very cold temperatures.

  • Improved fuel efficiency: When the engine is warm, it consumes less fuel than when it’s cold. By using a block heater, you can improve your car’s fuel efficiency and save money on gas.

  • Reduced engine wear and tear: The colder the engine, the harder it has to work to start and keep it running. By using a block heater, you reduce the stress on your engine, thereby reducing wear and tear. This can prolong the life of your engine and save you money in the long run.

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How to use a Subaru block heater

Now that you know the benefits of using a block heater, here’s how you can install and use a block heater for your Subaru car:

Step 1: Purchase a block heater

You can purchase a block heater from a Subaru dealer or a reputable auto parts store. Make sure you get the right model for your specific car model and engine type.

Step 2: Locate the block heater port

The block heater port is usually located at the bottom of the engine block, towards the front side of the car. Check your car’s manual or consult a Subaru dealer if you’re unsure where to find it.

Step 3: Install the block heater

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to install the block heater into the port. Make sure it’s installed properly and securely.

Step 4: Plug in the block heater

Plug the block heater into an electrical outlet using a heavy-duty extension cord. Make sure the cord is rated for outdoor use and can handle the wattage of the block heater.

Step 5: Set a timer

Set a timer to remind you when to unplug the block heater. The recommended time varies depending on the temperature, but a general rule of thumb is to leave it plugged in for at least 2-3 hours before you plan to start your car.

Step 6: Unplug the block heater

Once the timer goes off, unplug the block heater from the electrical outlet. Do not forget to disconnect it from the engine block as well.

Best practices for using a block heater

While using a block heater for your Subaru car can be highly beneficial, it’s essential to use it safely. Here are some best practices to keep in mind:

  • Never leave the block heater plugged in for too long or overnight. This can be dangerous and can damage the engine.

  • Always use a heavy-duty extension cord that is rated for outdoor use and can handle the wattage of the block heater.

  • Make sure the electrical outlet you’re using is GFCI-protected to prevent electrical shocks.

  • Do not touch the block heater or the electrical cord when they’re plugged in. The block heater can get very hot and cause burns, and the electrical shock can be dangerous.

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Q: Can I install a block heater myself?
A: While it’s possible to install a block heater yourself, we recommend having it installed by a professional or a Subaru dealer. It may require special tools and expertise.

Q: Can I use a block heater on a diesel Subaru car?
A: Yes, you can use a block heater on a diesel Subaru car. Diesel engines tend to be harder to start in cold temperatures, so using a block heater can be particularly helpful.

Q: Can I use a block heater on a Subaru car that’s parked outside?
A: Yes, you can use a block heater on a Subaru car that’s parked outside. Just make sure to use a heavy-duty extension cord that’s rated for outdoor use and can handle the wattage of the block heater.

In conclusion, using a Subaru block heater can be an effective way to keep your car running smoothly during the cold winter season. By following the steps outlined in this article and using the best practices for safety, you can improve your car’s fuel efficiency, reduce wear and tear on your engine, and minimize the risk of damage due to cold weather.

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Peter Banks

With years of experience as a professional mechanic and Subaru specialist, Peter is one of the most respected members of our team. He's written several articles on Subaru maintenance and repair, and his advice and tips are always practical and helpful. When he's not working on cars, he enjoys cooking and trying out new recipes.

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