Grosse Pointe Auto Blog

What You Need to Know About Cold Weather and Oil Changes

What You Need to Know About Cold Weather and Oil Changes

During the cold single-digit winter weather temperatures your vehicle’s engine can easily be affected. One particular importance to your vehicle is your engine’s bloodline – oil. Without oil your engine cannot run. You want to make sure to cover your basis so you’re not left out in the cold waiting for a tow truck. One point to consider is when temperatures dip very low is your choice of motor oil and filter.

Different thickness of oil will affect your engine. If your oil id too thin it won’t provide sufficient protection for your engine. For Oil that's too thick will keep your engine from starting in cold weather because the thick oil challenges your battery and starter motor to spin the engine fast enough for it to fire. So, review your owner's manual and choose your oil viscosity carefully.

Many people are surprised to learn that winter weather also puts extra demands on your oil filter. At 20 degrees Fahrenheit, most oils have the thickness of maple syrup. So when your engine first starts up, your engine's oil pump forces cold, thick oil through all the passages in your engine, including those in your oil filter. A number of factors determine if the oil will find its way through the filter to provide lubrication to your engine, while particulates are filtered out.

There are 3 specific elements engineered into filters that help your car’s performance during the winter cold:

1.       Structural integrity: On start-up, in cold weather your engine will experience an initial surge of pressure. This pressure could compromise oil filters at their weakest point and could manifest itself as a blown-out sealing ring, a split crimp, or even a burst canister. Any of these can cause catastrophic engine failure.

2.       Internal Valves: There is a special spring-loaded bypass valve so that, if the filter goes unchanged for an extended period of time and is blocked with debris, unfiltered oil can flow to the engine, providing at least some lubrication – albeit with dirty oil. Instead of a reliable coil spring, some filter manufacturers may scrimp by substituting "spring" steel that may not return to its original shape after cycling. The result can be unfiltered oil for as long as the filter is in place, with potentially catastrophic results.

3.       Filter media: Finally, most important, the filter must remove the smallest particles while offering the least resistance to oil flow.

So, treat your car to fresh oil and a new oil filter in winter at Grosse Pointe Auto. It takes only a few dollars, but the life you save may be that of your engine. Just ask for Dwayne!

CALL (313) 822-3003

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