Introduction: Keep Your Block Heater Plug From Scratching Your Paint

Picture of Keep Your Block Heater Plug From Scratching Your Paint

When I first moved to the Yukon, I noticed all the cars here had plugs sticking out of them. These plugs are usually for the block heater and/or oil pan heater and/or battery blanket. When plugged in, these are used to 'pre-warm' parts of the engine in order to help the car start when the weather gets really cold.

Fun fact (you'll only get to experience during life the far far North):vehicles begin having trouble starting at temperatures below -25 degrees Celsius outside - the colder it gets, the longer you should plug it in (and pre-warm) before starting.

The trouble is, these block heater plugs are often loosely dangling on the nose of the car, or out the hood. As you drive they can swing around and with time can cause wear and damage to the paint (see my friends orange car). At the very least, it looks sort of untidy. As you can see from our car (blue), it was unlikely to cause scratches or dents, but it just dangled there in bright orange. So, I came up with a simple but extremely effective fix to keep it out of the way. As a bonus it can be modified and applied to lots of different block heater plug arrangements!

I hope this idea inspires you!

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

You will need:

  1. Some paper towel
  2. Your favourite cleaner (e.g. windex, vinegar, water)
  3. A neodymium magnet
  4. 5 gram packet of Sugru (you will only need about 1/3 of this package)
  5. Scissors
  6. Steel Washer (OPTIONAL)
  7. An unruly block heater plug which needs taming

Step 2: Put It Together

Picture of Put It Together
  1. First thing's first, clean your surfaces! This part of the car gets particularly dirty so grab a paper towel and your cleaner and wipe the plug where you want to put the magnet.
  2. Open the Sugru package by cutting along the suggested lines. Since you will only need 1/3 of the package be sure to put the rest away to keep it for for another project!
  3. Roll your Sugru into a cone, then place your magnet onto the wide side (base) of the cone.
  4. Apply the Sugru, pointy end first, onto the surface of your plug.
    (I learned this technique from this video).
  5. Make sure you allow 24 to 36 hours for the Sugru to cure completely.
  6. Once the Sugru is cured, you can now stick use the magnet and attach it any metal on your car!


Caution: if you're putting your plug straight onto your car's paint, make sure the magnet doesn't have any sand or small rocks attached to it before docking. Otherwise it may scratch your paint!

Step 3: Plug Dock (OPTIONAL)

Picture of Plug Dock (OPTIONAL)

For my car though, I had to take it one step further - I had no metal in my bumper to attach the plug so I had to improvise and build a little docking station.

You'll notice from the photo I have white Sugru on the plug and red Sugru on my bumper. The red Sugru is the docking station that I use to attach the plug when not in use.

In order to do this I used the same technique as the previous step to apply a metal washer to the bumper. You could also use a second magnet if you prefer but, it is not necessary.

TIP: If using a second magnet, make sure you expose compatible sides (i.e. one negative and one positive side exposed) so they don't repel each other!

Final Thoughts:

I've driven over 2000 km and never had the block heater plug fall off of its docking station. It is always ready to go when I need it, and out of the way when I don't.

Good luck and have fun!

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