Nov 17, 2015
Rüsselsheim. The new Opel Astra is living up to its reputation as a wellness oasis: even in sub-zero temperatures of the deepest winter, the compact car’s optional block heater ensures full visibility and a pleasantly warm cabin at the push of a button – a real boon not only in the morning on the way to work, but a wonderful luxury after playing sport or out an evening appointment. Thanks to the Opel block heater, ice-scraping, iced up door locks and fogged-up windows are all a thing of the past.
"Our block heater is available for most of the Opel model range – direct from the factory as a perfectly integrated system and not only as a retrofit kit for later installation," says Peter Christian Küspert, Vice President Sales and Aftersales Opel Group. "In addition, drivers with an Opel block heater are extremely safe on the road because they always have full visibility. A lot of accidents happen in winter at the beginning of a journey when the car’s windows have not been completely de-iced." And there is one more safety plus: thanks to the comfortable interior temperature, drivers don't need thick clothing when starting their journey which could restrict their freedom of movement at the steering wheel.
The Opel block heater is available for Opel’s light utility vehicles, Vivaro and Movano, as well as for all variants of the Corsa, Astra and GTC, Cascada, Meriva, Mokka and Insignia, right up to the Zafira Tourer. Prices start from just 1,400 Euro (RRP including VAT in Germany). But the works solution from Opel is not merely a comfort feature. It protects the engine and ensures more environmentally-friendly start-up behavior compared with a cold-start, which puts unnecessary strain on the engine. With a warm start, the oil and the catalytic converter reach their operating temperatures more quickly. There is less wear and tear and toxic emissions on driving off are significantly reduced.
The Opel block heater can be activated in advance by remote control, and programmed to run for a certain amount of time. Alternatively, the customer can store a desired drive-off time. A temperature sensor then registers the exterior and interior temperature and automatically calculates the switch-on time and the necessary operation duration. Depending on the exterior temperature, 20 to 30 minutes is generally sufficient to thaw the windscreen and side windows, and preheat the interior to a comfortable temperature. The Opel block heater is set as standard for an operating time of 30 minutes, but this can be easily extended or shortened.
Depending on the model, Opel uses water heaters supplied by Eberspächer or Webasto. These are operated with the aid of fuel from the vehicle's own fuel tank, and electrical current from the vehicle's battery, regardless of whether the engine is running or not. A dosing pump operated by the battery supplies fuel from the tank to the combustion chamber, where it is mixed with air to form a combustible fuel-air mix. At the same time, the additionally installed water pump (circulation pump) sets the cooling circuit in motion. The heat generated in the combustion chamber heats up the cooling water in the heater. The resulting exhaust fumes are led off via a separate exhaust duct with muffler (which is why block heater operation is not permitted in a garage or filling station). At a certain water temperature, an electric circulation pump then ensures further distribution of heat in the interior via the car’s blower.
The block heater has a heating output of 5 kW. It can be used as a "parking heater" when the engine is switched off, or as an "auxiliary heater" while driving if the exterior temperature falls below 6ºC. It then serves as the perfect complement to the extremely efficient new Opel engines, which give off very little heat themselves, and ensures a comfortable interior climate. At an engine/cooling water temperature of more than 78ºC, the auxiliary heater automatically switches off.
And by the way: customers who have not enjoyed the benefits of an Opel block heater fitted directly ex-works, can still have a certified original parts block heater retrofitted for models such as the Astra, Meriva, Mokka, Insignia and Zafira Tourer at their Opel dealer.
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