A survey says a majority of Albertans don’t use the block heaters in their vehicles when recommended.
The Alberta Motor Association survey found seven in 10 Albertans don’t plug in their vehicles when it is -15 C.
Chris Vasilev, 39, has lived in Red Deer for five years. He said he doesn’t use the block heater in his vehicle.
“It’s never really been an issue for me,” he said. “My SUV hasn’t had problems since I’ve been here.”
Red Deer’s Bradley James Wester, 33, said he usually stores his vehicles in his garage.
“It’s nice to keep the vehicles safe and secure in the garage and it’s an easy way to keep them warm.”
Wester said he hasn’t had any engine-starting issues over the past few years.
“I used to have vehicles that didn’t fit in the garage, and those ones, I had to plug in all the time. Big diesels don’t start when they’re cold, so I used to spend a lot of time with vehicles plugged in,” he said.
Red Deer’s Vanessa Wester, 33, (Bradley James Wester’s sister-in-law) said she uses a block heater whenever possible.
“We have a small car that doesn’t start unless it’s plugged in,” she said. “I haven’t always used block heaters, but I mostly do. When I had a bigger vehicle, I didn’t need to as much.”
Brandon Klassen, AMA’s roadside assistant field manager, said people should utilize their block heater.
“When temperatures dip below -15 C, plugging in your vehicle at least four hours before driving will give you a better chance to get the vehicle started,” he said.
During the winter, AMA responds to between 600 and 700 battery boost calls a month in the Red Deer area. AMA responds to between 200 and 250 a month during the summer.
Klassen said it’s also important for drivers to get their vehicle’s battery tested before the extreme low temperatures hit Red Deer.
“Make sure you’re going into winter with the equipment needed in your vehicle,” he said.
According to AMA’s survey, one in three people who don’t plug in say it’s because their vehicle never has a problem starting in cold weather, while 10 per cent say it’s because they have a newer vehicle.
Across all respondents, 30 per cent have had a vehicle not start because they didn’t plug it in, despite the fact 87 per cent know where to find their block heater cord.