Engine Heater in 1994 Saturn



With the daily temperatures here staying constantly below freezing recently, there are days I haven’t been able to start my car at all. Some of my guy friends have suggested the oil may be too cold to work properly and suggested looking into an engine heater.

My question is how hard are these too install and should I take on the venture myself or pass it off to a mechanic? And if I do it myself, what kind/brand should I be looking for?


Unless EVERY other car in your area has an engine heater, you shouldn’t need one. If you decide to purchase one, have it installed by a professional.

Assuming the maintenance is up to date and the battery is in good condition, cars are designed to start, even at sub-zero temperatures, without engine heaters.

You’re assuming it’s something in the engine that’s preventing the car from starting. This may not be the case. If there’s a small amount of water in the fuel line or filter it will freeze and prevent the car from starting. An engine heater won’t help if that’s the case.

You, or a mechanic, need to determine, through systems diagnosis, WHY the car won’t start. Guessing won’t help much.


Ah, thank you. I was under the impression cars should start even in the frigid but I’ve learned not to trust logic when it comes to cars, ha.
I know I have water in my battery but that shouldn’t be affecting it this way, right? All of my dash lights come on and the radio works fine.
Nothing more frustrating than cars in cold weather, bah.


Does, “…won’t start…” mean that the engine cranks, but, it cranks sluggishly?
How old is the battery? If it’s past four years old. If so, it may have reached its end. Does a jump start make the engine turn over quicker, and start the engine?
You can go to an auto parts store and get the battery and alternator checked, curb side, for free.


it cranked the first time but now it just clicks.
I was thinking it might be the battery too, but the dash lights work just fine as does the radio (plus its only a couple months old). I haven’t tried jumping it yet (had to rush off to work) but if it still doesn’t rise when i get home, i’ll have to.


In addition to what others suggested, I would make sure your engine oil is the “lightest” for this vehicle. If you use a 0W30 synthetic, it will flow like vegetable oil even at -30F.

We routinely start cars at -20F with no problem! In summary, a good battery (most important), ignition sytem up to scratch, “thin” oil, and make sure your gas has some “gasline antifreeze” to tak care of any water.

Enjoy winter; we always do.