Join Date: Apr 2006
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Re: Oil Pan Heater
Craig, they use them on cars in Alaska and Canada and New England pretty commonly. The purpose of an oil pan heater is to keep the oil warm, and therefore thin, for easy starting. And it mighg keep excess moisture from condensation away, assuming you don't normally run the engine enough (20-30 minutes at a shot) to do that.
Now, when it is 40 below zero out, that's a big deal. But if you are someplace where you don't need to wear a coat and hat...just use multi-viscosity oil. There are all sorts of multi-vis oils out today, 5W30, 0W40, and anything like that will allow your engine to start up with very little effort, then lubricate properly at operating temperatures.
I have yet to hear a good reason from anyone why a multi-vis can't be used, even when the original engine maker was too lazy to specify one.
Of course if you REALLY want to pamper your engine, you do what marine aviation folks do. A lube failure in mid-ocean is not a good thing for a flying boat, so they used to build in pre-oilers. Throw a switch, the electric oil pump starts, you build oil pressure and lubricate the entire engine BEFORE you hit the starter. Engines just love that. A bit cheaper to just use a premium multi-viscosity oil these days though.