Many drivers in places like Canada rarely consider this question because their dealerships sell vehicles with pre-installed block heaters. You can ask some dealerships to remove the block heater to lower the vehicle’s price tag.
But most drivers in cold countries prefer to keep a block heater on hand in case temperatures plummet, threatening the integrity of their engines. If you want to buy a block heater for a car that doesn’t have one, VVKB Heater expects you to consider factors such as:
- The heat source
- Rated voltage
- Power consumption
- Operating temperature
These variables determine whether or not a block heater can fit under the hood and perform the functions you need. But what about the overall cost? How much will a mechanic charge you to install the block heater? You’re looking at $50 to $1500.
Block Heater Installation Cost
|$50 – $300
|$80 – $500
|$50 – $300
What Can Influence The Block Heater Installation Cost?
$50 – $1500 is incredibly broad. Why is the installation cost so wide-ranging? The following factors will shape the installation cost:
1). Cost of the Block Heater
You can buy a decent block heater for $100 or less. But if you visit a retailer, they will ask you to specify the type of block heater you want. The block heater type changes the price tag. Your options will include the following:
- Many consumers favor dipstick block heaters because of their simplicity. These devices look and act like conventional dipsticks. In fact, you can install one by yourself without hiring a professional, eliminating the labor fees. You can get a dipstick heater for $50 – $150.
- Oil Pan heaters warm the oil by heating the pan. The installation process is mildly challenging because it involves bolting the device to the pan. Some people use magnets. However, any mechanic you consult will encourage you to bolt the heater in place. A savvy driver can install an oil pan heater without help. The device costs $60 – $180.
- In-line coolant heaters will warm the engine coolant. They serve the same purpose as the other options because the coolant will warm the engine as it travels through the lines. In-line heaters cost $100 – $300. Additionally, laypeople cannot install one without assistance. This means hiring a professional and dealing with the labor fees.
- Bolt-on heaters are common. Their reliability makes them popular. They make direct contact with the engine to warm the oil and coolant. While a layperson can install this component alone, you may configure the attachments poorly. It is safer to secure professional help. You can get a bolt-on heater for $300 or less.
- Some warming blankets are expensive. Don’t be surprised if you find price tags as high as $400. But installation is easy. Therefore, you can forego labor fees.
- Freeze plug heaters are the most expensive of the bunch, with price tags rising as high as $1000 – $1500. They appear in areas with extremely low temperatures.
Technically, you can make do with any block heater type. Modern vehicles can start in cold weather. Many of them use synthetic oil. They don’t need particularly powerful heaters to run in the winter.
However, it is safer to consult a dealership to identify the best block heater type for your needs. If you have a restrictive budget, buy the block heater type you can afford.
2). Labor Fees
Labor fees don’t sound so terrifying. After all, the average rate is $80 – $120. However, you’re paying that amount per hour. The longer it takes to install the heater, the more money you will spend. The process is not quite as straightforward as you think. For instance, installing freeze-plug heaters involves the following steps:
- Remove the coolant.
- Remove the freeze plug.
- Flush the radiator and engine block.
- Apply grease to the O-ring and freeze-plug hole.
- Install the freeze-plug heater.
- Connect the cord.
- Add coolant.
- Test the heater.
Most installations follow a similar pattern. You will drain the coolant and install the heater before refilling the coolant. The mechanic will also dispose of the old fluid. Depending on the heater type and vehicle model, it could take hours to complete the task.
That sounds like an exaggeration, especially when some drivers install their block heaters within sixty minutes or less. Ask for a quote before allowing a repair shop or dealership to install the heater.
3). The Dealership/Repair Shop
If you intend to hire a professional, where will you find one? Dealerships are the most attractive option because they know your car better than anyone. You can trust them to find and install a block heater that fits your model’s unique needs and specs.
They use highly trained personnel that specialize in repairs, replacements, and installments associated with your particular vehicle brand. Unfortunately, dealerships are too expensive for many drivers.
Their prices may exceed those of a conventional repair shop by hundreds of dollars. Dealerships only make sense when you have a warranty. Otherwise, find a local mechanic. Stick to repair shops you can trust. Check reviews from previous customers.
Consider multiple candidates before making your decision. Don’t settle for the cheapest repair shops. They usually do shoddy work. Look for competitive prices, promotions, and discounts.
Where do you live? Installation costs will change with the location. Mechanics and dealerships in expensive places tend to charge more per hour because their administrative costs are much higher. Block heaters will also come with heftier price tags.
For instance, Global News identified Toronto as Canada’s most expensive city. Therefore, it is only natural for installation costs in Toronto to exceed installation costs in Ottowa, which is the tenth most expensive place in Canada, according to Moving Waldo.
Obviously, you can’t drive from an expensive city to its cheapest counterparts in search of affordable block heater installation costs. You’re better off buying block heaters from an online store in a cheap location and using a repair shop or mechanic in your area to install them.
5). Additional Costs
Drivers expect to pay for the labor and the new block heater. But what about the cost of the coolant? If you intend to install the block heater yourself, how many tools do you need? How much will they cost you?
What happens to the coolant once you drain it from the engine? The National Automotive Parts Association warns against the careless disposal of antifreeze because the substance is toxic. It has glycol, a substance that kills both humans and animals.
Do you have the means to contain the coolant after flushing it from the car? What about the gloves and goggles to protect your eyes and skin? Do you have any service stations in your vicinity that accept old antifreeze?
What about repair shops and recycling centers? If you usually pour antifreeze down the drain, the authorities will eventually find and penalize you. Keep in mind that antifreeze is sweet. Wild and domesticated animals have no reason to reject it.
Are you ready to juggle the cost of containing and disposing of the coolant? If you’re not, talk to an expert. Pay the labor fees and let them resolve all these issues.