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Keeping Your Oil Catch Can from Freezing in the Winter Months

Posted by McNally Electronics on 12/18/2018 to News
We often get inquiries on how to keep an Oil Catch Can from freezing. The truth of the matter is there are some cold environments that a can is going to freeze. The contaminants that are filtered out of an oil catch can consist of Oil, Carbon, Acid and Water. Even though most of those elements have a freezing point well below 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celcius) the water component will freeze. Once these elements are caught in the catch can and sit overnight they will start to separate.  If you open the release valve and the can does not empty due to it is frozen you may be able to take a paperclip and insert into the bottom valve. This pokes a hole in the "frozen water" portion of the contaminants and allows the can to drain. 

In most situations starting your vehicle in freezing weather and letting it run will unfreeze the catch can as well as the hose lines to the can. Take in mind that the hose lines routing to your catch can may be more susceptible to freezing if there are dips in the hose lines. Condensation of water can collect in these dips and freeze. Keep this in mind while installing your can. You will want to hose lines to be a smooth as possible. We have never heard of a hose line completely freezing!

Catch Can owners have come up with some great ideas to unfreeze a can. One gentleman took a bucket of water and soaked his can in hot water. He did this by taking a bungee cord and slip the bucket around the Catch Can. He attached the bungee cord to his vehicle frame and the bucket and let it sit for 10-15 mins. Some owners have taken a glove to cover the can to keep it from freezing. Others have suggested insulated tape or even a battery warmer pad. Many owners relocate the catch can during the winter months to make sure the can is in a warmer section of the engine bay.

The dilemma of having a cool can vs a frozen can. During the cold months, an Oil Catch Can will filter out a larger yield of contaminants. The reason is that an Oil Catch Can that is cooler than the warmer "dirty" air being pushed into the can will collect more contaminants. The GEN 2 Oil Catch Can is engineered to use this to its own advantage by using centrifugal force. The centrifugal force will push the warm "dirty" air down and out to the walls of the cooler can, therefore, having all the yucky stuff stick to the walls of the can. So during the winter months your oil catch can will need to be drained more often. Proper maintenance during the winter months will help keep your catch can from freezing. Some Oil Catch Can owners have stated they drain their can once a week. 

If you live in an environment that has extreme winter months you need to consider what to do with you Catch Can during cold weather. As most do who live in cold freezing environments allow your vehicle to warm up before you start driving. Drain your can more often. Make sure you have no dips in your hose line and if really needed consider moving your can to a warmer section of your engine bay or try an insulated sleeve for your catch can.



Carlyle Forde jr
Date: 3/13/2019
A frozen catch can still cause crankcase pressure issues at idle start up initially when the weather is below freezing causing clogged frozen baffles ,this of course will depend on the design of the catch can.

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