The Fairbanks Package for Cars in the Alaska Cold

A typical block heater cord.
Image via Wikipedia

I was getting my brakes checked the other week at the Toyota dealer in Anchorage, and my husband suggested that I also get an engine block heater. It is pretty typical in Alaska to have an engine block heater (as it is in many cold-weather places). But as I spoke to the mechanic about the heater and told him we were moving to Tok, he offered an additional service.

“You may want to get our Fairbanks Package,” he suggested.

What is the Fairbanks package, you ask? Basically it is the engine block heater PLUS an oil pan heater PLUS a blanket wrapped around the battery. Because when you’re living in a place where 30, 40, 50, 60 and even 70 degrees Farenheit below zero isn’t unusual, you probably want a BLANKET around your engine.

I opted not to get the Fairbanks Package right now. The way I see it, I’m not going to be doing a lot of driving in the dead of winter when I first get to Tok. And I’m hoping my car will fit in our garage just in case. But getting the Fairbanks Package is not out of the question. We’ll see how my 4Runner fares.

Do you have the Fairbanks Package where you live?

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  1. Barbaric

     /  January 11, 2009

    This is a good package to have anyplace ‘Interior” or “Arctic” in Alaska. I would also suggest switching to synthetic grease in the wheel and other bearings, synthetic gear lube in the “pumpkins” on your axles, and synthetic oil in the motor. It costs more but is so much better than paying to fix the damage later. VW even suggests using ATF in the engine and transmission when it is very cold.
    My VW froze solid in 1994 in Fairbanks on Thanksgiving at 80 below. Wheels wouldn’t turn, steering wheel wouldn’t turn, engine would run thanks to heater block but transmission frozen solid with basically caramel for lube. Gear lube is like 95w-100 oil, like cheap maple syrup at best. Synthetic gear lube and grease don’t freeze solid and lubricate extra well.
    It might also be a good idea to get a Redi Heater from Alaska industrial hardware or similar. Then you can cover your frozen vehicle with blankets and tarps, blow warm air under the binkies, and bring the whole shebang up to reasonable starting and running temperatures.

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