Should I Get A Block Heater For My Toyota Prius?
When winter rolls around and you live in a colder climate, you can bank on seeing a pretty significant drop in your fuel economy. Winter is a harsh on your Toyota Prius for more than that reason though. In this article we will look at reasons to get an engine block heater, the benefits of it, and why not to install one.
What Is An Engine Block Heater?
An engine block heater is a unit that fits into your engine block and keeps it warmer in freezing cold temps. It is designed to warm the engine antifreeze, oil and engine parts.
Why Is An Engine Block Heater Useful?
In very cold temperatures, keeping your engine fluids and components warm do several things. First, it helps reduce wear on your vehicle. Warm engine oil will flow faster and protect vital engine parts. Second, the engine will get up to operating temperature faster meaning you will see less of a drop in your Prius fuel economy.
Between keeping your engine in a constant "ready to go" warm state and helping improve you fuel economy, an engine block heater sounds like a complete win right? Well from those standpoints yes. However there are a few things you should know before installing one of these.
Why Not To Install An Engine Block Heater
If you are like me and live out in rural area, you may want to reconsider getting that block heater. The reason is only because of where I live. Out where I am in the vast rolling fields of grain and other things we grow in these fields are these pesky creatures called mice.
Now in the winter believe it or not mice love to go where it is warm. If your engine is warm where do you think those mice will want to go? Bingo. I have enough problems with these darned creatures already and giving them a nightly warm hideout is not something I am interested in doing.
An engine block heater is something that certainly help improve your fuel economy by about 10 percent or more depending on your climate. Other things to consider are the cost of plugging your vehicle in on your electric bill.
My take on this is that a block heater is worth it if you live in an extremely cold climate, away from rodents, and have a way to offset your added electrical costs.
They do, reduce wear on your engine and help to maintain fuel economy. If I were going to change where I live and want to maximize my fuel economy I certainly would do it.
That is all for now, thank you for reading. Remember, Today's Adventure is Tomorrow's Story. If you are getting in some last minute travel for the dry season here are some tips to help your Prius get the best MPG.
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Peter Neilson is an automotive consultant specializing in electric cars and hybrid battery technologies. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Automotive Service Technology from Weber State University. Peter can be reached on Linkedin and you can tweet him at The_hybrid_guy on Twitter. Find his page on Facebook at Certified Auto Consulting. Read more of Peter's stories at Toyota news coverage on Torque News. Search Toyota Prius Torque News for more in depth Prius coverage from our reporter.