Eliot Silverman

Eliot Silverman

Friday, May 31, 2019

Do I have to use Synthetic oil or Conventional Oil?

Simple…. If your car manufacturer specifies synthetic oil, you have no options.   You MUST use synthetic oil.  You will damage your engine if you use conventional oil when the manufacturer specifies synthetic oil.  One of the advantages of synthetic oil is that you only need to change it every 6 months/6,000 miles. 

If your car’s manufacturer does not specify which type of oil to use you can safely use conventional oil or synthetic oil.  I read lots of trade journals, and I have never seen a report which says synthetic oil is better for your car than conventional oil if your car’s manufacturer says your car can use conventional oil.

If your car is designed for conventional oil, you must change your oil every 3 months/3000 miles.  If your car is designed for conventional oil and you use synthetic oil you still need to change your oil every 3 months/3,000 miles.  Hence, using synthetic oil will cost you more money, but it does not give you any benefits.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

How Often Should You Change Your Oil?

I very good question, but I don’t have a great answer. 

I have been repairing cars professionally for over 30 years, and I read a few trade journals each month.  Oddly, I have never seen an article clearly stating when your oil should be changed.

Valvoline, Mobile, and the other manufacturers clearly need to test their oil, and the car manufacturers must also test the oils used in their cars.  Unfortunately no one has ever released the results of their testing.  I have spoken to my oil reps, and they don’t have any test results they can give me.

Years ago Valvoline introduced a new oil for “High Mileage Cars.”  I told the rep I wanted to review the data showing me that this “NEW” oil really was better than their usual oil.  He did not have access to this data, later he called and told me that Valvoline did not release any test results to prove that the new oil is any better than their usual oil. 

If this High Mileage Oil was better how come Valvoline does not release their test results to prove their claim?  They will charge more for this oil, and maybe it is better.  I don’t know if this oil is any better, and as far as I know, they have never released any proof of their claim. 

Getting back to my first question, how often should you change your oil? 
Due to the lack of real data/proof, I fall back on the old adage:
1.        If your car uses conventional oil you should change it every 3 months or 3,000 miles whichever comes first.
2.       If  you use synthetic oil you should change it every 6 months or every 6,000 miles whichever comes first.

I have owned many cars over the last 30 years- mine and loaners.  I have always changed the oil in these cars every 3 months/3000 miles, and I have never had any engine problems  NONE!

Also, by bringing your car to me on a regular basis, you will know of a small problem before it becomes a big and expensive repair. 

Friday, May 17, 2019

Will You soon be taking a Road Trip?

Do you know what needs inspecting before your road trip?

Most people have no idea what needs to be inspected before a long road trip.  From experience, I can tell you that most breakdowns can be prevented with a proper inspection. 

Here’s my list of items you should inspect before a road trip:
1.       Lights – all of them.  You’ll need someone to help you check the brake lights and the tail lights
2.       Belts
3.       Wiper blades – if they leave streaks they need to be replaced.
4.       Brakes – nothing can be worse than needing to get a brake job while on vacation.
5.       Suspension
6.       Battery and Alternator.
7.       Cooling system- check for leaks or bad hoses.
8.       A/C system.  You might not need to check you’re A/C in the winter but I would have It checked this time of year.
9.       Tires- you need to check the pressures and wear.
10.   Alignment- a properly aligned car is significantly easier to drive than one not properly aligned.
11.   Spark plugs

Most of these items you can check, but some of them need a qualified mechanic.