2012 Hyundai Veracruz Melted Block Heater
This happened in Dec. 2013, I plugged the extension cord to block heater plug and started clearing snow from sidewalk, after five minutes while clearing snow close to vehicle, I noticed red glow under the chassis. Immediately unplugged extension cord from wall, opened the hood and could clearly see flames deep down where block heater attaches. I used fire extinguisher to put fire out, called my Hyundai dealer next day, they told me to bring it in, also told me it is safe to drive it.
At the dealership they found it totally melted and also damaged the motor mount. Block heater was replaced after a week but still waiting for the engine mount as it has to be imported from Korea.
They also tested my extension cord (14 ft, 14 gauge contractor grade), no damage to it and no issues found. The tech was unable to answer why and how this happened. I am now reluctant to use block heater until I find some answers. I have attached couple of pics and would appreciate if anyone can shed some light.
Was the block heater sourced from Hyundai or a dealer add-on? I think both of mine were factory (cold weather packages) but wouldn't swear to it. One city I lived offered block heaters at cost to help air pollution - they were only $35, so they aren't anything fancy.
Many imported vehicles don't have factory installed block heaters, local dealer install them. I guess they do go for original parts to cover warranty, this case was submitted to Hyundai by local dealership and melted parts sent to Korea
I'd be curious to hear the outcome. I have a cheap Chinese tea kettle from Canadian Tire. Love the design and it works well, but the plug gets hot. It's not my outlet, so it's probably undersized conductors. You've ruled out the extension cord, but there's a cord from the block heater to the grill and it may just be undersized. Plus that's a harsh environment under the hood.
But I'm no electrician so maybe it was just a defective element in the heater that messed up.
I rarely use mine, but at least my garage is detached from my house and any fire would be unlikely to reach the house. Hm, it's -11 °F this morning, maybe I should go plug it in.