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.




Don’t Beam Me Up Yet, Scotty!

14 06 2012

Dale BertramBeing a “car guy” I enjoy reading all about the latest in car technology and all that is to come in the near future.   Automotive researchers are throwing around terms such as “human/machine interface” and “moving sensor platforms.” Basically this just means that your vehicle can be a computer-robot meeting your needs while keeping you safe.  Driver error is the cause of most accidents so the idea is to take us humans out of the mix whenever possible. Technology is the easy part…overrides for safety is the difficult part and is the reason we aren’t enjoying all of this technology right now.  Here is what we have to look forward to:

  • Voice-recognition technology coupled with in-car applications.
  • Adaptive cruise control, somewhat available right now, keeps your vehicle a safe distance away from another vehicle to avoid accident.
  • Self-parking cars are already available and use sensors and radar to guide the car.
  • Automated Guided Vehicle Systems should be available by 2018 and this drives the car for us!
  • Traffic lights that consider how changing a certain light can impact the entire traffic flow, enabling a reduction of delayed time by up to 30%.
  • Already in the wings is a plan to give vehicles a grade.  When shopping for a new vehicle you can tell if it gets an “A” or a “C” based on tailpipe emissions and also rate fuel savings.  For example, if you were deciding between two cars and car choice number one’s sticker price is $2,000 cheaper, but car choice number two will save you $3,000 in fuel costs…which do you buy?
  • As we know, OnStar can help us find a stolen vehicle but now it may even help us connect with our friends on social networks.  The OnStar Virtual Advisor service can let subscribers update their Facebook and enable them to listen to news feed messages.  The slogan?  “Safely connecting you in ways you never thought possible.”
  • A vision-based collision prevention system the size of digital camera.  It will be mounted behind the windshield of a car.  Its monitors will scan the road in front of the vehicle while you drive.  If it spots danger in the way it will flash color-coded icons and sound an alert to help the driver avoid impact with a pedestrian, another car or an object in the way.

What would Henry Ford think these days?  The car has come a long way since the Model T.  Even though George Jetson’s car could fly I don’t think it was a media machine.  As long as they keep making vehicle’s that connect with the roads I’m happy.  I’m not sure I’m ready for Scotty to beam me up just yet.  I love cars too much!  Still…service and repairing a spaceship might be fun!

Happy Motoring!