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Do All Duramax Have Block Heaters?

When the temperatures drop, starting your Duramax can become a nightmare. So, the question is, do all Duramax have block heaters to make cold weather starts a little easier? Let's take a look below to see if this is a standard feature for the Duramax.

All Duramax engines come with a block heater. However, finding the block heater plug on some models can be hard. They have one because the engine oil gets very thick in cold weather. This can make it hard for the engine to turn over and start.

A block heater can be a game changer when starting your truck in cold weather. In this article, we will discuss why some Duramax have them and some don't, as well as the benefits of having a block heater. In addition, we will answer other frequently asked questions about block heaters, so read on!

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An extension cord plugged into truck in winter, Do All Duramax Have Block Heaters?

Does The Duramax Have A Block Heater?

The Duramax diesel engine has been in production for over 20 years and is still being produced today. It was first used in the GMC Sierra and Chevy Silverado trucks.

Like other diesel trucks, the Duramax has a block heater. This device is used to heat the engine block and oil before starting the truck. This is to make it easier to start the engine in cold weather.

The confusion stems from not knowing where the truck's block heater plug is located. For some models, it can be difficult to find. It is usually located near the front of the engine, on the driver's side.

While you will find several forums that say all Duramax trucks have a block heater, it is still important to check your specific model. If you are unsure, you can always consult the owner's manual or take it to a qualified mechanic to have them take a look.

It's possible that some years had packages that didn't come with a block heater. These would most likely be the lower trim levels or work trucks that don't have all the bells and whistles.

For example, in the video below, you will see that the block heater plug-in is on the side of the front bumper. While this is easy access for newer models, the older models might take some searching to find the access point. 

The good news is that even if your truck didn't come with a block heater, you can always add one.

What Are The Benefits Of A Block Heater?

Extension cord plugged into truck on freezing cold night

A block heater has many benefits, especially if you live in an area with cold weather.

One benefit is that it can help the engine reach operating temperature faster. This is because the block heater will heat the engine block and oil, making it easier for the engine to start in cold weather.

Another benefit of a block heater is that it can extend the life of your engine. This is because when you start your engine in cold weather, the engine has to work harder, which can put unnecessary stress on the engine and lead to premature wear and tear.

In addition, a block heater can also improve the fuel economy of your truck. This is because when the engine is cold, it burns fuel less efficiently. Using a block heater to heat the engine before starting it can improve your truck's fuel economy.

A block heater can be a game changer for people living in regions where temperatures drop below freezing.

At What Temperature Should I Use A Block Heater?

Closeup of extension cord plugged into vehicle on cold day

Typically, you will want to plug your block heater in when the outside temperature is below freezing.

However, the exact temperature will vary depending on the make and model of your truck as well as the climate you live in.

For example, older trucks may have a harder time starting in cold weather and may require a block heater at temperatures just above freezing.

On the other hand, new trucks may not need a block heater until the temperature drops below freezing.

If you are unsure of what temperature to use your block heater at, then consult your truck's owner's manual or speak to a qualified mechanic.

How Do You Know If Your Truck Has A Block Heater?

Extension cord plugged into truck in winter

There are several ways to tell if your truck has a block heater.

One way is to look for an electrical cord protruding from the front of the engine bay. This cord will be connected to an outlet, typically located on the side of the truck near the front bumper. If you see this cord, then your truck has a block heater.

You can also check your owner's manual to see if your truck has a block heater. Newer Duramax trucks will have a flap on the driver bumper with an electrical outlet. If you see this, your vehicle is equipped with a block heater.

Finally, you can speak to a qualified mechanic or the dealership where you purchased your truck. They will be able to tell you if your truck has a block heater and how to operate it.

How Much Does A Block Heater Cost?

Depending on the make and model of your truck, a block heater can cost anywhere from $50-$200.

However, the installation cost will vary depending on the job's complexity.

For example, some trucks may require special tools or equipment to install the block heater, while others may not.

To save costs, you may want to install the block heater yourself. However, this is only recommended if you are comfortable working with tools and have a basic understanding of automotive systems.

If you are uncomfortable performing the installation yourself, you should take your truck to a qualified mechanic or dealership. They will be able to install the block heater for you.

Why Do Diesel Engines Need Block Heaters?

The reason diesel engines need block heaters and gas engines don't is that diesel engines operate differently.

Diesel engines rely on compression to ignite the fuel, while gas engines rely on spark plugs.

Because of this, diesel engines are more difficult to start in cold weather. The block heater helps by pre-heating the engine block and oil, making it easier for the engine to start in cold weather.

Again, if you live in a region like Arizona, where it rarely gets cold, you may not need a block heater. This is also why your truck may not have come equipped with a block heater from the factory.

How Do I Know If My Duramax Block Heater Is Working?

There are a few ways to tell if your block heater is working. Typically, a block heater will click when it is turned on.

If you do not hear this sound, you should check the electrical cord to ensure it is plugged in and receiving power.

Another way to tell if your block heater is working is to feel the engine block. If the block feels warm to the touch, then the heater is working.

Lastly, you can check the block heater plug with a multimeter. This will tell you if the heater is receiving power and working correctly.

How Long Do You Plug In A Block Heater?

As a general rule, you should plug in your block heater for at least 2-3 hours before starting your truck.

This will give the block heater enough time to pre-heat the engine and oil, making it easier for the engine to start in cold weather.

If it is extremely cold outside, you may want to plug in the block heater for longer. For example, if it is -20 degrees Fahrenheit [-29 degrees Celsius], you may want to plug in the block heater for 4-5 hours.

For example, an older diesel truck in frigid conditions may need to be plugged in for 8 hours or more.

Final Thoughts

Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD display

While many Duramax trucks come with a factory-installed block heater, not all do. If you live in a region with cold weather, double-check to see if your truck has a block heater.

If it does not, then you may want to consider installing one. Block heaters are relatively inexpensive and can make starting your truck in cold weather much easier.

Made it to the end? Here are other articles you might find helpful:

What's The Life Expectancy Of A Duramax Engine?

What Is A Duramax?

How Big Is A Duramax Fuel Tank?