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3208 International St, Fairbanks, AK   |   907-455-7450

Oil Change Philosophy matters more than you know

Ever tried to sip frozen custard through a straw? 

Welcome to what your car engine does when you choose the wrong oil-change provider.

Oil changes alone are the difference between a tight, lasting engine and a car racking up an expensive repair.  Maintenance is when you run out of toothpaste, wear out a toothbrush or get your teeth cleaned by the dentist. Repair is when you get a cavity. 

Intelligent vehicle service philosophies keep expense in the “maintenance” column rather than the “repair” column on a driver’s balance sheet. We can assure you that maintenance is far less expensive than repair when it comes to cars.  

So why the imagery of sucking frozen custard through a straw? Because using the wrong parts in a vehicle service is a like handing your engine a coffee stir stick instead of a spoon with its Wendy’s Frosty. Especially in Alaska. 

A simple oil change is not that simple in Alaska. Most things are more complicated here, and honestly we all take pride in the fact that our lives are different. So yes. Even oil changes are special. 

But oil changes are REALLY special.

Oil Filters: Choice Matters

Believe it or not, there are a multitude of flavors out there when it comes to oil filters. However, there are not that many filters that perform well in our climate. 

An oil filter is a system of mesh, a fancy spaghetti colander that sifts metals and contaminants out of engine oil. This filtering process keeps oil lubricants silky smooth and able to provide a fluid barrier between the moving parts of an engine. 

Oil Pathway

The filter is part of what is essentially an oil plumbing system inside the engine. The filter is located strategically along this plumbing pathway. If this pathway ever becomes plugged or restricted, it starves the moving engine parts of lubricant. 

The wrong oil filter is like that kid at the water park who decides he wants to stay INSIDE the tube instead of splash into the pool. Everyone piles into him and they close the park for a day. 

Filter on the right became blocked and ballooned due to faulty engineering

Bypass Valve and Filter Volume

Engine manufacturers have planned for that kid who stays in the tube, however. They have designed oil filters with a “bypass valve” as well as different surface areas of filtration materials.

If the filter becomes clogged, rather than restricting or stopping the flow of oil to the engine, oil will bypasses the filtration process altogether and provide lubricant—no matter what. 

This is a great system and it prevents catastrophe, particularly when drivers wait too long between maintenance intervals. 

However, in Alaska, this bypass valve can cause problems right out of the box during the winter months. 

Most oils lose viscosity (pourability) in the cold. Because of this, when engines are not heated prior to starting, cold oil cannot strain through the filter. A poorly designed filter will cause thicker oil to bypass the cleaning process. This ends up being seven months of unfiltered oil in your engine!

When it is time for an oil change, pick the people who pay attention to details like which filter performs best for your engine and in your climate. An inexpensive oil change can be the most expensive thing you do in your car’s life!

Consider METRO as your service specialists! Book online. metropolitangarage.com