Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘preventative maintenance’

This will be my 2nd post this weekend and I’m combining a few of different topics starting with brand loyalty and my disdain for those who hate particular car makers for no particular reason. I’ve got a lot to say so make some popcorn or something.

Brand loyalty and the unwarranted hate for American cars.

Ive noticed many people are only Ford fanatics others GM, while others are Toyota only and so forth. I’m okay with liking a particular car maker im a GM person myself while i do have a particular set of favorites  (in order of course) with Chevrolet, Ford, Honda and lastly Dodge. Most of my favorite car makers are of American, considering that well i was born and raised as an American, besides the fact my grandfather was a Chevy only guy.

The fact remains however that some really go out of their way to hate a particular brand of car. One of them being Pontiac. It seems like since i took this job in the auto industry that uses old machines that Ford automaker originally had that we now use and possibly other automaker machines from the 70s that still get the job done. Anyway i have had several people i should get rid of my Grand Am because its junk? Except the fact that it runs beautifully and i wouldn’t trade it for anything else. I was planning on keeping the car running and considering they don’t make Pontiac any more im sure eventually someone might want to pay more money than it’s worth. I am saving money for another car, just in case i need that money for a new vehicle, because the Grand Am is over 20 years old. Driving over 60miles a day certainly will one day take its toll but if people were at all concerned about reliablity of Pontiacs and American cars in general, they are just as reliable as any other car provided that they are well cared for.

This one guy i work with trades his car in every 6 years. Then tells me i need to get a new car. Funny thing considering switching cars can be just as unreliable as buying a used car with little care.

Besides the Ford jokes being funny the feud is often between Dodge, GM and Ford. Some people hate American cars all together. That certainly doesn’t make any other automaker any better and while there are differences they are all using the same or similar technology. And every automaker has its defects. While certain cars are more reliable than others, it all comes down to defective parts. A lot goes into building a car and therefore a lot could go wrong.

Even my car has some defects or issues. The windows for an example has plastic and often break if you try to open them in cold weather. BCM or Body Control Module malfunctioned, a gasket leak which was under warranty at the time the hazard switch was not soldered correctly and a few other small things. But they were inexpensive to fix and i stuck through them and now the Grand Am is doing well, which it always has done well.

But had i bought a new car every 5 years or so i may not be so lucky. And its always a gamble. But people can and should have the right to drive what car they feel most comfortable with without prejudice. And its sad that some people call a car, junk based on what the name says on the outside.

Driving reckless, road rage.

This seems to be getting worse as when i first had drove, people seemed to be less in a hurry and didnt speed all the time but with accidents becoming worse and people staring at their cellphones instead of driving the highway has become a dangerous place to be. I drive to Chicago via 290 and you have people doing 90+ swerving in between lanes just so they don’t have to slow down in order to get to their destination 2 minutes faster. I take about half an hour. I used to drive 65-70 with bursts of 80 to pass in the left lane but after seeing driving only 60 im saving 1-2mpg. Driving back and forth i saved about 3-4mpg and in some cases 5! That ends up being a lot and instead of using 1.3gallon of gas per drive im only doing 1 gallon per drive. That translates to bigger savings and im only taking an extra 2-3 minutes out of my day.

However impatient drivers can’t see this logic the faster you go the more gas you consume. And i have to figure out my mileage by dividing the mileage trip counter and how much gas i have to put back in. Most current cars you can see this in real time. So theres no reason they can’t see their dimished mileage capacity on the dash. Or maybe its because they don’t care. However some of us do and wasting gas to get to your destination a couple of minutes faster is just ridiculous. Of course people do what they want and they probably never get pulled ovet for it.

Cities tried to put in speed cameras but that was removed. People got upset that they were breaking the law by speeding. But their speeding is causing problems on the highway because for one you got people racing one another to work and another,

WHAT IS THE SPEED LIMIT?

Seriously, the fact you got someone doing 45, another 60 and then 65, 70, 80 (you get the idea) so it makes driving on the highway that much more dangerous not to mention you have someone lingering in the passing lane going slower than the middle lanes. So this makes driving hazardous and people die on the highway because of this.

If these people feel they need to speed across the highway unsafely, then they really should evaluate their schedules. Leave earlier, move to a different location whatever the case is there is ni need to endanger yourself and others. The speed limit is there to avoid this sort of problem but without it being enforced there is little hope that this will change.

On a side note, i sometimes get rocks thrown at me due to the fact trucks do not clean their cars off and already its damaged my windshield, but not to the point where its cracked, just irritating. Something should be done about this.

Car preventative maintenance for maximum life.

Engine oil. Most people know to get the oil changed and there is still controversy on when that should be done. It used to be every 3 months or every 3,000 miles but automakers and oil companies claim you can go longer. Some new cars mainly Ford and GM have oil life percentage monitors that tells you when you are in need of changing the oil in your car. People claim this is accurate however i always err on the side of caution and when it gets past 6,000 miles, 6 months or 30% of oil life remaining to get the oil changed. Some might be bothered by it but for those who want to maximize engine longevity this is the way. I personally change my oil after 4,500 miles  (its an older car) which is about every 3-4 months. I always try to change it during summer and winter as the changes in temp could affect the oil. May not be completely necessary but i sometimes would then change it early or extend it to 5,200 miles depending on climate history. City driving with lots of stop and go traffic requires more frequent oil changes as early as 3,000 miles. Especially when driven hard.

Other fluids need changing and lifetime fluid is false.  No matter what anyone tells you those fluids in your car break down over time just like oil so while fluid change is different for every car its best to follow your trusted mechanics advice. No fluid is lifetime especially transmission fluid, people were told this and then 100,000 miles or so later the transmission locks up and  like your stuck in neutral. Get that changed every 30,000 miles. Or if your mechanic can’t work on it, get rid of it and post negative reviews. Cheaply made cars without the means to change the fluid is bad. Not that I’ve heard of this but auto makers are making fluid changes more difficult.

Fix any problems or noises right away.  Sometimes a problem might creep up, sometimes it’s normal but other times a small problem can turn into a big one. If it sounds odd or you have a smell or a leak have someone check it out. Note the AC unit will produce water when ran during the summer especially in humid areas so dont panic. If you want to be sure stick a finger and look at it, you might have to smell it too but if you dont want to do that, run the car without the AC in the morning. Check all the fluids, make sure you are not losing anything.

If you do have a leak get it checked out. If it looks like an oil leak, find out if the oil plug bolt needs replacing, sometimes the oil filter is not tight enough or something is wrong with the seal.

Some problems like windows won’t function might not need attention right away but if you plan on keeping the car for life, may be a good idea to get it replaced provided you have the money.  Other problems may creep up that’ll cause a chain reaction of “oh that doesn’t need fixing” to this car is junk now.

Clean undercarriage and body, if possible keep the car out of direct sunlight.  Keeping the car clean is just as important as keeping the engine in proper working order. Washing and waxing will help prevent sun fade and using touch up paint will help prevent rusting. However that’s only half the battle. Cleaning the undercarriage is just as important and will prevent rotting. I’ve made this mistake and can be costly to repair. And people will then say its not worth to fix. If you want to go the extra step and get additional protection which is highly recommended is to have an autobody shop put a protective oil underneath. The autobody shop owner i spoke to uses Fluid Film (you can look it up) and it costs about  $300. It may be different elsewhere but if i do this every couple of years my car won’t fall apart rusting.

It works best with a new car with very little rust but its important to check up on this and is easily done by looking under the car.

If you live in a snowy/salty place this oil should protect your car. Its recommended to follow what your autobody guy tells you but its important to verify they are doing the correct way.

Even if you don’t plan on keeping your car the resale value of your car will remain well due to little or no rusting, especially in snowy climates.

Don’t wide open throttle your car or do burnouts and other advice. This may sound like you can’t ever have fun  constantly flooring your gas pedal and doing burnouts can wear out your car quicker, requires additional and more frequent maintenance. If you want to extend the life of your vehicle, don’t do them all the time. Every so often though its not a bad idea to floor it every so often to get everything going. Just dont do it when the engine is not fully warmed up when the temp gauge hasn’t reached its normal peak spot (usually in the middle of cold and hot). Do it safely too and if you got a performance car it may be better to learn what not to do when hitting full acceleration. Safety first. Also Seafoam in the gas tank is good once in awhile (but research this first). I also use Shell V-Power premium gas, more expensive but my cars fuel system is happy.

 

Other tips like warming up your car, i had previously talked about this in an earlier post but it must be said, for safety reasons and for longevity warming up your car in winter for a couple of minutes is recommended.

Some people may claim that they never warm up their car and never have any issues but its most likely that they dont hold onto their cars for very long. Some auto experts may say its unnecessary and that you should drive slowly after a 30 sec warm-up. You should take it easy on the throttle during the first 5 minutes anyway but not to the point where you are going too slow.

Im right near the entrance to the highway so i have little time to allow my car to fully warm up but during winter i let the temp gauge move before taking off. And i try to increase speed on the ramp as early as i can to get up to speed. You have to time it right. On the way home though i got ample time to reach optimum temp. For some though its going to take a little more than 3 minutes of warm up time especially if you don’t have a garage and live near the highway.

Another tip if you got a garage, use it. I see many people that do have a garage but don’t use it for their car. I could understand people using it for projects and some don’t have the space but sometimes its better to have someplace to shelter your car from the cold and sunrays. The dash can warp, and can fade the paint.

Hopefully this was informative and sorry it was really long but i havent written a post (besides yesterday) but i wanted to talk about this.

Read Full Post »

car-coldShould you warm up your car Part I

I recently posted about whether you should warm up your car and i have found a few additional things, a few of them actually prove that warming it up will not damage it. (warning, contains explicit language)

But also too, modern cars don’t have oil problems like what some people say (your oil is like maple syrup). It may be true if you are not using the recommended oil for your car (where the oil is thicker) in which case you already may be doing damage to it if the car isn’t designed for the oil you are using.

So oil circulating through the engine is definitely not an issue, as the guy explained in this video, if you don’t have oil circulating through your engine by that time your engine is in trouble. But what he doesn’t explain is what the cold oil is doing to the engine. The oil needs to circulate (among other engine components, like the power steering, coolant) all these things need to work and for me to be able to drive and accelerate at a decent pace, i need at least 1.7x (1,700 RPMs) rpms. Most of the time it’s around 2x rpms. So waiting 30 seconds or waiting until the engine rpms settle isn’t enough for me. He doesn’t really exceed 1.5x (2x at the most) and most others will say don’t exceed 3x. Not only that he has a turbocharged engine. It may be best to just drive it cold and it won’t hurt it anyway.

One of the more major problems is that being in 32°F or below your defroster doesn’t work very well in the cold. It works much better when it’s warmed up, but it’ll take longer for it to work if you are driving the car and sometimes it won’t work right at all because all the air that is coming out of the vents can’t counteract the fog/frost forming on the windshield. I believe someone has said in a comment in a video or article somewhere to hold your breath while driving or breathe slowly. Why would anyone do this for the convenience of having a warm defroster is beyond me. While it’s true, less idling cars in the winter will reduce emissions and gas waste as the first video i linked proves, it only takes around 40 seconds to warm the car up so it’s not running too rich, driving off prematurely isn’t always the best. Some cars do not work right when they are cold and especially a critical component like the brakes or being able to accelerate moderately to get onto the highway is ideal. You need to get the car up to the speed traffic is moving on the highway and more times than not i see people not accelerating fast enough which causes either a slowdown in traffic or it causes the people on the on ramp to slow down and then it makes it more difficult to get onto the highway or tollway. In some driver ed courses they want you to gun it, at least 3-4x on the tachometer. I only need like i said 1.7x to 2x and on the highway i need at least 2.5x (up to 3x) but most of the time i can deal with 2-2.2x early in the morning as there is less traffic.

Much of the more common reasons why you shouldn’t warm up your car, is that people will start their car, with the key in the ignition and need to leave the doors unlocked so they can get back in,

which can invite thieves. Which is very true, which is why near the end of that video they recommend that you get a remote start. I do have one on mine, one that allows you to monitor whether someone is attempting to get into the car which then would signal to the remote and shut it down, causing the alarm to go off. This may be because my remote start is basically a feature of my alarm system. So if anyone is messing with my car, either kicking the tires or trying to push the car (rocking it) it may set off the alarm sensor and that includes trying opening the car door when it’s locked (which will automatically set off the alarm and the car will shut off). Also you need to have the key otherwise the car will shut off if you attempt to put it in gear.

It’s generally best to wait with the car, but as long as you can see it out your window to see if something is going on that’s ok too (and this is with the remote start). If you don’t have a remote start, then it’s best to wait with the car, it’ll be cold but again if you at least wait until the defrosters are working which is generally 2-4 minutes depending on the temp outside you may be better to drive off at this point. Some people won’t wait and just drive off despite there is no heat which will generally help the car warm up faster. If you don’t think your car is worth a remote start (or an alarm system), it’s definitely a good idea to consider getting a different car (and it’s not worth putting a remote start in if the car is on it’s last legs or you constantly run into engine issues) because you need to have the defroster working and everything mechanically sound before taking off. Some cars do not shift properly in the cold or they shift harder putting more wear and tear on the transmission and also it gives a chance for belts and other engine components to warm up adequately before putting a load on it. So bottom line, warming your car up is ideal in the winter so you are safer when on the road. Stuff breaks when they are at their most extreme so if something were to break it would most likely break when you are pulling out of the driveway with an engine that has only warmed up for 30 seconds.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: