Engine Oil Maintenance

22 06 2017

New synthetic engine oils may not break down as quickly but they get just as dirty as conventional oils. Many new vehicles now require expensive synthetic oils and the manufacturers are recommending oil change intervals at or over 7,500 miles. In our experience, this is not a wise practice.

This is a modern engine that requires synthetic fluid and has had its oil replaced every 7,500 miles. The engine was operational for less than 65,000 miles. As you can see it has a lot of sludge and sediment deposits built up throughout the oil passages in the timing case. These deposits are restricting oil flow to all the moving components in the timing chain assemblies. These deposits are also inhibiting the movement of the timing chain tensioners which keep the chains in place. These malfunctions have led to the demise of this engine. If the oil had been changed more frequently this could have been prevented.

The sludge and sediments are byproducts of the combustion process, burning oil, moisture build up and normal engine wear. For now, there is no way to avoid these byproducts so for the time being the only way to prevent them from becoming an issue is to change your engine’s oil.

The above photo shows what your engine oil looks like after every 1,000 miles of normal use. The oil starts getting discolored after 3,000 miles but we don’t see any suspended particles in the fluid. While the discoloration isn’t optimal it is not yet dangerous. In the 6,000-mile vial, we can see that the oil is brown due to suspended particles in the fluid. This is when the deposits form and start to cause issues.

While synthetic oils perform better, they get just as dirty as conventional oils over a given period of time. It is important to change your engine oil between 3,000 and 5,000 miles to keep your engine oil passages as clean as possible and protect your investment.

The most common problem we see with vehicles that come into the shop is low engine oil. Low engine oil can cause lack of lubrication to vital moving parts which can lead to high repair costs. GM has stated that it is not uncommon to burn one quart of engine oil for every 1,000 miles of operation. Most engines require around five quarts of engine oil for normal operations. This means by 3,000 miles your engine has lost over half its capacity which can cause some serious damage. It is very important to regularly check your engine oil level. Your owner’s manual recommends checking every time you fill up with gas and we believe this is a good rule.

 

 





The Light…What Does It Mean?

15 06 2017

Understanding your service reminder Light

Dale BertramMost of us don’t read the owner’s manual, if you even have one anymore. Many car manuals can only be found online now. Carmakers have come up with service reminders in the form of a warning indicator light, that appears on the gauge cluster (near the speedometer). Often, it comes on well before the service is required to give you time to schedule the appointment.

There are several types of warning systems:

  1. Set mileage system. The light comes on every time you have driven a set number of miles and an oil change is needed. This varies among different carmakers, but it is roughly every 5,000 miles. In some systems, you can set the interval yourself.
  2. Oil sensor system. An onboard computer analyzes how the car is being driven, and the light comes on when an oil change is required. Driving only short trips will trigger the light sooner; highway driving means you can go many more miles between service visits.
  3. Oil Level or Low System. This light should not be ignored! It means the oil level is low and needs immediate attention. You should visit your trusted shop for advice or check and add the correct type of oil for your vehicle. Using incorrect oil is not recommended unless it is an emergency and you have no choice.

Servicing your car is a choice made by you. I recommend finding a trusted maintenance shop and consulting with them for service intervals. The random statement of changing oil every 7,500 miles does not apply to every car. Some manufacturers have issued service bulletins to rescind the extended oil change interval due to excessive engine sludge build up

New technology, the direct fuel injection, the 0W20 oil, the higher system temperatures and the smaller engines creating more power is great for fuel economy, but makes servicing your car on time a must. Ignoring your fluid changes will cost you big time in the future.

 

 





Women and Car’s Early Years

8 06 2017

Dale BertramWomen played a role in the history of the car.  Here are a few facts that are interesting to know!

1903 – Mary Anderson was granted a patent for the windshield wiper in 1903. The first windshield wiper was a swinging arm with a rubber blade that could be operated manually from inside the car. She first tried to sell her idea to a Canadian firm in 1905 but they decided it was “not of such commercial use as would warrant the undertaking of its sale.” Hmmm…big mistake!  Wipers became standard in cars by 1916.

1909 – Alice Huyler Ramsey, at age 22, drove cross country (3,800 miles) from New York to San Francisco. It took 59 days! Keep in mind that most of those miles were on unpaved roads and she didn’t have maps (those things we used before GPS!). Alice had to change 11 tires, repair a broken brake pedal, and clean spark plugs! She became the first woman inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame.

1913 – Can’t imagine a car without turn signals or brake lights?  Isn’t it annoying to drive behind someone without them? Silent film star, Florence Lawrence certainly felt they were necessary.  She invented an “auto signaling arm” which was activated by pressing a button.  It would raise or lower an arm that had a sign, showing which way the driver was turning. When the driver wanted to stop, a “stop sign” would pop up.

1915 – Wilma K. Russey became the first female New York City taxi driver…on New Year’s Day!  She dressed very elegantly as a taxi driver and was also an expert (and stylish) auto mechanic.

1943 – Helene Rother became the first female automotive designer. She was hired by General Motors to create stylish and glamourous interior designs for cars. Helene was the first woman to address the Society of Automotive Engineers and was awarded the Jackson Medal for excellence of design.

The next time you use your wiper blades, turn signals or brake lights…think of these innovative women!

 

 





Brake Dust

1 06 2017

Dale BertramI’m sure most of us have experienced this…you drive through an automatic car wash and when you get home you notice the clean shine of your entire vehicle…until you look down at the wheels.  What is that grime on the wheels?  That is brake dust… metallic particles, carbon fibers and adhesive residue from your vehicle’s brake pads that attaches to your wheels.

To keep it from building up it should be removed weekly as it essentially bakes on to the surface of alloy wheels.  It is recommended that you wash the wheels when they are cool to avoid streaking, discoloration and pitting. The adhesive residue in the dust causes it to bond firmly with the wheels and since they are most often acidic it starts a corrosion process.  The metal filings in the dust usually oxidize with the metal of the rims causing galvanic corrosion to occur. If you are removing the dust yourself be careful not to inhale the dust or the vapor from cleaning products especially designed to remove the grime.  This can be toxic and if you are asthmatic, harmful.

If your vehicle seems very prone to brake dust, you might consider having brake dust shields installed.  They come in a variety of colors, are inexpensive and easy to install.

You might also consider higher quality brake pads as poor quality ones produce a lot of dust. Having your brakes checked regularly (quarterly) is recommended as many times an adjustment is needed and this helps stop excessive dust.

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Brakes made from organic materials (glass and rubber) wear faster so create more dust than brakes made from semi-metallic and metallic material. Ceramic brake pads have less metal and therefore less dust is created.
  • Brakes installed improperly can cause excessive dust.
  • If you have installed larger diameter wheels to your vehicle the size of the brakes and pads need to be larger as well or they will wear out quickly and increase the amount of dust during the process.
  • If the springs are worn it causes continual rubbing and if the pads are always touching the drums you get an increase in dust.
  • Overloading a vehicle with weight, driving hard, short stop and go trips, and leaving your foot on the brake pedal all increase brake dust.

Now we know that brake dust, though not harmful to your vehicle, is a nuisance and if you feel annoyed by it you are not alone as it is a top complaint among consumers.

 

 





Is Your Vehicle Ready For Summer?

25 05 2017

Dale BertramMemorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer… and that means summer vacations are just around the corner!  Is your vehicle ready to hit the road?

We know we can feel our energy ooze out of us in the summer heat and your car feels it too!  Just imagine sitting there day after day on the hot pavement while the relentless summer sun shines down on you.  Car’s components such as rubber are very sensitive to heat and tend to become brittle and crack.  Here a just a few things we look for when we service your vehicle for summer:

  • Batteries take a beating. Between the car’s vibrations and heat, they usually only last three years.  It is always a good idea to have them tested to determine how much life they have left in them.
  • Cooling systems are very susceptible to summer heat. You will notice more cars sitting on the side of the road with steam pouring out from under the hood during the summer months.  We always check your cooling system thoroughly to make sure the coolant isn’t contaminated.  We also check the rubber components for cracks and frays.  If they are past their prime, we will recommend replacing them so you don’t end up on the side of the road.
  • Tires need the proper inflation to function well. They don’t operate well if they are over-inflated or under-inflated. They need to be just right!
  • Fluids and filters need to be checked and replaced if needed. They do a lot of work to protect our vehicles.
  • Air-conditioning systems need to be looked at so you and your passengers stay comfortable no matter how high the outside temperatures climb. We make sure to check the refrigerant and other components.

A quick inspection will let you know if your vehicle is good to go or if it needs a little service & repair before you head out.  Call today to schedule an appointment!





Our Pledge To You!

18 05 2017

Dale BertramMany of our customers are keeping their cars longer.  I thought I would just take a moment to reassure you that we will do our utmost to keep your cars in great shape.  It is just one less thing you need to worry about.  Peace of mind is one of our specialties.  Here are a few other things you can always expect from us:

We pledge to always treat you like a person, never just another number to be served.
We pledge to always give you outstanding customer service.
We pledge to keep current with our certification training so we are always up-to-date with the latest manufacturer information.
We pledge to keep you informed of services/repairs you will need “down the road” so you can be financially prepared.
We pledge to be available to answer any questions you may have.
We pledge to treat you like we would want to be treated and how we would want others to treat our family members.
We pledge to keep you informed about manufacturer recalls.
We pledge to give you a choice when it comes to parts…original manufactured or aftermarket parts.
We pledge never to apply high pressure sales tactics on you.
We pledge never to sell you something you don’t need.
We pledge never to take your business for granted.

Rest assured that as our customer, you will receive the very best from each of our staff.  Keeping you happy is our number one priority!

“There is only one boss. The customer. And he/she can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his/her money somewhere else.”  – Sam Walton





Late Model Cars Can Be A Challenge To Your Car’s Battery Life

11 05 2017

Dale BertramToday’s newer models have a lot of “bells and whistles” and this puts a lot of demand on battery charging systems.  We all know that climates with excessive heat take their toll, such as our Arizona temperatures.  Our hot weather causes the electrolyte inside the battery to dry out.  The popular maintenance free type battery has a sealed top so it doesn’t even allow water to be added, so its life expectancy in Arizona is low.

Ideally, the battery should be at full charge.  When it starts to lose its charge, sulfate builds up on the plates.  As it sits, the sulfate takes hold and is difficult to loosen once the battery is recharged.  Sadly, it then becomes more difficult to “recharge” and will quit all together.

To keep the “bells and whistles” going strong in modern cars, they need to draw current from your car’s battery even when it is not running.  Here is an example; you use your key fob to gain entry to your vehicle as it is “keyless”, draining power from the battery.  You go on a two-week vacation and leave your vehicle at the airport parking garage.  Even as it sits your car’s battery is still discharging power to these systems.  You may return and find the battery cannot turn over the engine.

Damaged battery cables can also make your battery fail because that causes a faulty electrical connection.  What can you do?

  1. Whenever we install a new battery for you, rest assured that we always check out the cables. Sometimes they just need to be cleaned but other times they need to be replaced.
  2. Manufacturers are starting to use absorbent glass mat batteries in new vehicles because they last longer in cars that have the stop/start systems and other battery draining options. Ford Motor Company says 70 percent of its vehicles will come equipped with this battery this year.

With our heat constantly pulling life from our cars’ batteries in Arizona, have them inspected frequently.  All of us at Fairway Auto Repair are here to keep your car going strong…and to make sure your battery is up to the challenge.