The Concern With Obsolete Oil

6 07 2017

Dale BertramThe use of obsolete oil is not something consumers think about when they get an oil change, even if they change their own oil. Lately though, this concern has been brought to our attention.  A lawsuit has been filed against a retailer in New Mexico claiming the oil they sell does not meet specification for newer cars. Modern cars are designed with much tighter internal engine clearances than in years past so using the correct oil is critical.

If your star burst symbol oil label does not specify GF-5 SN it is not suitable for most cars newer than 2011. The labeling on the oil contains “obvious and unambiguous language” regarding its intended and appropriate use. I am sad to report many shops don’t understand the consequences of incorrect oil labeling.

ALL cars have specific oil that needs to be used or damage will occur! This is why some cars’ engines have 200,000, 300,000 or even 400,000 miles on them while others only get half that many miles. The use of incorrect oil can also dramatically lower fuel mileage and cause damage to systems that result in the increased emissions of toxic substances and damage to emission control systems, including catalytic converters and oxygen sensors.

If you have heard the term “sludge” and I hope your never do in relation to your own car, it is caused by two things; waiting too long to change the engine oil or using incorrect oil for that specific application. Be warned also that European cars have even stricter additive packages that if not adhered to, will really wreak havoc on the internal parts of the engine.

Here is a link I hope you will use to educate yourself on engine oils.

http://agriculture.mo.gov/weights/fuel/pdf/MotorOilsandLubricants.pdf

The automotive industry has no standards for servicing your car. Any shop can add any oil with no consequences, so it is truly a consumer beware industry when it comes to fluid standards.

I recommend knowing what oil is recommended for your car and asking questions when you arrive at your trusted automotive shop. Be an informed consumer, not one with a broken car.

 

 





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.

 

 





Will my engine oil and oil filter go the distance?

9 02 2017

Dale BertramChoosing the right engine oil and oil filter for your vehicle is tougher than ever with all the different products on the market today. Oil and filters today need to lubricate better and filter more particles than ever before, due to the longer change intervals.  Vehicle manufacturers in the 80s and 90s set oil change intervals to 3,000 or 3,500 miles because oils and filters of those days would break down fast as a result of the oil refining process and engine design.

Oils are much better, with synthetic products and are actually required in the majority of cars today with extended service intervals of 7,500 to 15,000 miles; it is more critical than ever to use the correct oil and oil filter. Many oil filters are only designed to filter for up to 5,000 miles, of course these filters will cause engine failure on a 15,000-mile oil change.  Filters not designed to go the distance will clog up and can start bypassing so no oil is being filtered at all. This can be disastrous on today’s high performance engines.

Don’t use just any oil. Our shop has what I call the wall of oil. We carry 20 plus different oils; they are not compatible with each other and don’t let anyone tell you different.  If your car requires a 0w20 oil, that’s what it takes, the engine is designed to work at peak efficiency and emission levels for that specific oil.

The sad thing is some people don’t have all the oils and will use what they have on hand. While the incorrect oil will work and you may never know the difference, it slowly wears out your engine and failure is imminent.  The difference between a car going 100,000 miles and one going 400,000 miles is directly related to the oil and filter you choose and interval change frequency.

Make sure you check your owner’s manual and talk with your service professional to ensure the oil and oil filter they are using on your vehicle will go the distance.

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Fairway Auto Repair





Why My Vehicle Needs an Inspection

26 01 2017

Dale BertramThere are a lot of questions about inspecting a car when it comes into a shop for service.

In years past vehicle manufacturers suggested you change your oil every 3,000 miles. That meant you visited a service facility 3-4 times a year; that was 3-4 times a year that your technician had the opportunity to look over your car and catch potential failures in your vehicle’s tires, wipers, brakes, fluids, leaks or any other concerns.

Today, the vehicle manufacturers are now extending oil and servicing to 7, 10 and even 15 thousand miles. This also extends the time your technician gets a look under the hood of your vehicle. This gives your technician less times per year to inspect and identify issues with your vehicle.

Consider air transportation; a jetliner goes through a safety inspection before each flight. In fact, all public transportation including planes, trains and city busses all go through a certification and regular inspection process to find, identify and fix potential problems before they happen.

Our personal vehicles, on the other hand, usually see their technician for oil changes and maybe get a check over every few years.  Just as regular oil changes keep your car healthy, having a professional inspection done on a regular basis will save you time, money and avoid the headaches of major mechanical repairs.

A basic inspection can be simple, fast and efficient. It will allow the technician to fill your tires, top off your fluids and give you peace of mind when you are on the road.

Talk to your service professional about a scheduled inspection program to supplement your vehicle’s service plan.

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Fairway Auto Repair





Using the Right Motor Oil Is Imperative!

6 10 2016

Dale BertramThose of us in the automotive service and repair business understand why having oil in a vehicle’s engine is important, but few drivers actually understand the labeling and codes that are found on motor oil packaging. At Fairway Auto Repair we are very conscientious about using the correct oil for each vehicle and there are many different types out there.  Sometimes consumers wonder why the pricing is different on their oil change from car to car…this is the reason why.  Different makes and models require different oils.

The Bare Bones of Oil

Most everyone understands that engine oil keeps the engine parts lubricated in both low and high temperatures and it helps protect the emission system and provides enhanced fuel economy. They have heard for years that engine oil is the life blood of a vehicle. Many find out the importance of oil at an early age because they mow lawns.  Additives are added to the oil to make sure seals stay conditioned in older car’s engines or to help aid in better fuel economy. Manufacturers of the most popular makes and models basically deal with three types of motor oil.

Conventional oil, or refined crude oil makes up 75 percent to 80 percent of the mix, and then additives are put in to the mix to distinguish one type of conventional motor oil from another. Full synthetic oil is a popular alternative to conventional oil and its purpose is to provide enhanced engine protection. It enables a car’s engine to maintain good viscosity at all temperatures, although it also has characteristics that prevent solidification at lower temperatures. The third type is a blend of synthetic with conventional.

The various additives are necessary to engine performance. These additives include such ingredients as detergents, antioxidants, viscosity index improvers and many more. Their functions do everything from stopping oil oxidation, keeping the oil at the right thickness, to keeping high-temperature surfaces clean. They also collect dirt and contaminants to prevent buildups on engine parts. Additives for older cars are also available and they have special seal conditioning ingredients that rejuvenate internal seals in order to stop internal oil leaks and also help to keep the seals soft enough to be pliable.

The American Petroleum Institute (API)

To avoid confusion about motor the various motor oils, the API has developed a “donut” label that helps certified technicians and shop managers make educated decisions. For example, “API Service GF4” means that the motor oil is approved for use in most gasoline engines by API. The middle of the donut should say “SAE,” and is followed by a code such as 5W-30. SAE stands for Society of Automotive Engineers, and the number code refers to the motor oil’s viscosity.

Viscosity simply refers to the oil’s flow capability at various temperatures. It also refers to as the motor oil’s weight, or the “W” in the code. The first number shows how well an engine will start in cold weather. The lower the number tells us that this oil will start up in winter weather, and shows us how well engine parts will be lubricated in colder temperatures. The second number indicates the high-temperature viscosity or how much thickness the oil has at high temperatures. The bottom half of the donut indicates that the oil has met or exceeded energy conserving requirements.

Make Sure Your Shop is Certified

How can you know that the motor oil you’re getting from your provider is really intended for use in all vehicles? An ASE Certified Shop knows what oil to use in each vehicle it services. That is why we go to continuing education classes…so we are up to the minute to provide our customers with the right products for their cars, SUV’s and light trucks.  Improvements are being made all the time and we have to stay current in this constantly changing industry we specialize in.

Using the Wrong Oil

If a shop or quick lube uses the wrong oil in your vehicle you probably won’t notice an immediate problem but it will develop if it is repeated time and time again. Metal on metal contact or heat damage is serious and can cause major damage.  It also lowers fuel economy. Our goal is to keep our customers’ cars healthy and running for many miles to come!

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Premium Filters Go The Extra Mile

5 05 2016

Dale BertramCars that indicate when to change the oil are using a software system. It can’t detect the condition of the oil.  It is a mathematical formula that guesstimates. The owner’s manual is generic or “one size fits all.” Manufacturers can’t produce a separate manual based on each driver’s situation or even our Phoenix environment and climate. How often you need to have your car serviced depends greatly on you.

  • Oil isn’t the problem. It is the dirt and debris that gets into it.
  • Today’s engines have smaller passages so we need to keep the dirt and/or sludge out. 

The Filter’s Role

Regular filters are smaller now than they used to be. If sludge develops it crushes the filter and stresses the engine. Imagine using the same coffee filter and grounds for one month.  You still get coffee but the chemistry has changed.

What We Do?

As your car care provider, Fairway Auto Repair knows your car type, your driving habits and the environment and climate in which you drive.  We can determine how often your car needs to be serviced for a long life. We don’t make a big profit on the oil/lube/filter job but it is the most important thing we do to keep your vehicle healthy. We don’t benefit if your car falls apart from neglect and you have to buy a new one. We are here to help you!

What I Recommend

I look at premium oil filters as the means to get extended life out of your oil change.  They are made of better materials.  The regular oil filter is made of paper or cellulose whereas the premium is made of a synthetic.  This synthetic material is able to capture smaller particles and they can hold more than their paper counterparts.

A filter is what protects your car’s engine from contaminants that if allowed to get to the engine can destroy it.  The premium filter keeps your oil clean for a much longer period of time and this keeps your engine safe.

The really good news is:

  • The premium filter is compatible with regular and synthetic oils.
  • The premium oil filter is compatible with almost all makes and models of vehicles.
  • Should you go over your oil change interval a thousand miles or so you don’t have to panic.

The premium oil filter does cost a bit more but since it extends your oil change interval it really comes out equal.

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Fairway Auto Repair