I haven't been driving as long as many of you, but I have been since '72. Last week on the coldest day so far this winter, the pcv valve was frozen closed when I started the wife's 2000 Dodge car to go in for her weekly physio. Unknown to me, the engine immediately pumped out most of the oil onto the garage floor. The only thing that saved us from bad damage to the engine was that the garage door didn't closed behind us when mother tapped the clicker. I got out to close the door and found all the oil. I quickly pulled the car back in the garage and called for a local vulture truck to take it away. The next day it was ready to come home with a new head gasket and a few other minor sundries. The bill came to $600 for everything and I'm happy it wasn't worse - we could have been stranded on the highway for awhile which is not fun for a disabled person. The mechanic said I was lucky that the head gasket went instead of crank seals which would have been quite a bit more expensive to repair. So, in all these years since '72, how many times have I ever heard of this happening - zilch, zip, zero ... and finally, nada. Just for entertainment that afternoon I typed "frozen pcv" into Google and got a real education - I'm not alone in having been bitten by this malady. In every vehicle I've owned, I changed the stupid valve every Fall or every other Fall. In the wife's car .... (gulp) not once, and I can't understand why it was ever overlooked. So for the price of a $5 or $10 part I ended up spilling $600 onto the mechanic's counter. Our car never does any short runs around town here - it's a minumum of a 30 minute drive when we go to the city. You'd think it would be enough time to draw out any water vapor but I guess not so much on the real cold days. Funny thing is I passed a school bus in early morning darkness that had a huge cloud coming out of the hood and over the bus that I had to drive thru when I passed him. It wasn't antifreeze which is easily recognized, so now I'm guessing he might have been suffering the same thing. I kept an eye on him after passing him and sure enough, in a short minute or two he was pulling over onto the shoulder. The temperature was -32°C or about -25°F which for these parts is still above what it can get down to, but the wind chill was brutal. So the next time you pass yer local autoparts store, mebbe stop in and replace yer pcv valve - it just may save you some bigger bills !!!
Interesting, Garnet. Expensive education. That's a shame. It was a well sealed engine - until it blew. You could never do that to a T.
Garnet - Not something that'll ever happen to me in this "Mediterranean Climate" here in WA. State on the ocean side of the Cascades, however, two of my four boys and their families live in Northern Wisconsin. As you know, they just went thru' some sort of "record breaking" cold snap (got down to -21 deg. up around St. Croix Falls where they are I believe) and I didn't hear that they had any car trouble, but I'll be sure to tell them of your "experience" for future Garnet,.....thank you,.......harold