When I was a kid, I used to have to get up early in the morning to plug in my Dad's car so it could heat up.

What I was plugging in was an engine block heater. An engine block heater is an electrical device that warms a part of the engine and/or the motor oil to help the car start in cold temperatures. If it isn't built into the engine, it's got a magnet on it and it heats the engine block and its internal fluids, especially the motor oil. If you use an engine block heater when it's cold, your car will start up easier.

So why don't you see people plugging in their cars anymore? I talked to Jacob at Auto Ace Express Lube and he could easily explain it. He explained why we used to use it, that cars ran on heavier oil and so the engine heater would heat the oil so the car could start. We use thinner oil in modern cars so that part makes it easier to start.

There are some other reasons. Jacob said with fuel injectors and change in timing, cars are a little more hearty and can start in cold temperatures.

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However, he said Deisel trucks and semis still have to be plugged in. So I asked him how the semis can start when the driver stops at a sleeping area. He said a lot of the places that have the sleeping area also have a place for the trucks to plugin, if they don't, the truck driver will leave it running.

So, that's what happened to block heaters. I'm glad. I don't have a plug outside my apartment.