On cold winter days in Iowa, you’d never walk into the gym and hit the weights or cardio machines without a quick warm up to get your blood flowing, right? We encourage you to treat your vehicles with the same care and respect as you treat your body. Whether you’re running late or just don’t want to take the time to let your car warm up, an immediate start and go could cause engine damage and a shortening of engine life. One of the most important things to remember during the colder months is to make sure your oil has ample life left on it.    

At LOF-Xpress™ we invite you to visit us for your winter oil change. Think you don’t have enough time? Well, think again because we have the fastest oil change in both Ames and Ankeny. We will have you in and out within three to five minutes, all without an appointment. LOF-Xpress™ only uses premium oil that meets the manufacturer’s recommendations for winter driving. Fresh oil is a great way to take care of your engine in the winter time, but properly warming up your car is one great way to extend your engine life.

An engine at full operating temperature typically runs at about 200 degrees, at least that is what your dash is telling you when the temperature gauge is in the green sweet spot. While this may seem like a fairly low temperature due to the violent nature of internal combustion, 200 degrees is exactly where the engine runs its best. Add another 100 degrees and the engine is at risk for heat related damage. If you keep going higher into the red end of your temperature gauge, more and more problems will present themselves. Warped cylinder heads, cracks in the engine block, and metal damage will result from very high temperatures. Keeping the engine cool is the job of the coolant, like we discussed in our previous blog post.

There is a lot going on when you start your car and that is especially true as the weather dips to subzero temperatures. For the sake of argument, let’s say that you park your car in the driveway overnight and temps drop to below zero, then stay there for an extended period of time. When you return to your vehicle, the outside temperature is a balmy -4, the first thing you need to do is take a picture of your thermometer for social media purposes. Then it’s time  to resist the temptation to scrape a tiny hole in the iced over windshield and drive to work with your head out the window. 

Before starting the car, make sure that the heater is off. This may sound counter intuitive but the less heat you are blowing into your car the faster your engine will warm up. Every time you start your engine, regardless of the temperature outside, you do so with little or no oil in the cylinders. It is a simple fact of physics that cold oil flows much slower than warm oil., This means that cold oil is sluggish and will very gradually coat the cylinder walls, meaning that a cold engine with old oil is more vulnerable to scarring the cylinder walls. While modern oils and cylinder construction have made this condition much less of a problem, the potential for engine damage every time you start a cold vehicle is increased by dirty oil.

Okay, so heater is off, the key is in, and you are ready to start the engine. The temptation to throw the car in gear and burn rubber to work is probably pretty high, but this is the time when patience will pay off. Take a moment to scrape the bulletproof ice from your windshield, post your picture of the subzero thermometer on Facebook, and just enjoy a bit of music. Do whatever you have to do, but be sure and let your vehicle warm up completely. It is much better for your vehicle in the long run and you will have a clean windshield. You might even have time to take advantage of the LOF-Xpress™  Early Bird Special on your way to work, because of course,  there is no appointment needed. Stop on by today, get your oil changed and warm up with a cup of coffee in our exceptional waiting lounge.

We look forward to seeing you and thank you for your business.