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A Mechanic's Life - Tales From Under the Hood

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  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    Neither GM nor any other automaker can void your warranty because you can't prove which oil you put in---first of all, GM or any other automaker would have to prove that the engine failed due to an oil problem

    These are the kinds of statements that I was expecting to get back.
    Denial, Anger, Negotiation, and finally resigned acceptance as the instructor put it are the emotions that must be dealt with if people are to learn how things have changed.

    Are you in favor of properly educated consumers, or against them being properly educated? If you don't care about them being properly educated about this subject, then go ahead and continue to argue with me. If making sure they know how to make informed choices is important then you can (and should) spend some time and investigate and find out for yourself, as well as listen to exactly what I am saying.

    You cannot trust what you have always believed in the past anymore.

    Fractured oil molecules at sub-zero temperatures?

    Yep, they can prove it and that proof would reveal that a product was used that wasn't equivelant to the specification. The question is "will they"?

    The bigger issue that people use to cloud this has to do with warranties. You can mistreat the vehicle and have the engine get through the warranty period without a failure. But that doesn't mean that problems haven't been occurring. This is about protecting the vehicle for its full lifespan, not just the warranty period.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    It's not a big deal to me; I run LL-01 oil in my BMWs while they are under warranty, after which I might change to a different oil. The LL-01 Mobil 1 0W-40 seems to work well in M42 engine in my 318ti- but less so in the M54 in my son's X3 2.5. I run Rotella T6 in it, and based on UOAs the T6 appears to working just as well or better at 150,000 miles. Per Blackstone Labs

    You are of course following the manufacturers specs, exactly as you should. If you get a chance, look at the ILSAC part of the specs for those products. To meet BMW's spec, those products do not meet ILSAC. ILSAC is too thin for BMW.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,410
    This is about protecting the vehicle for its full lifespan, not just the warranty period.

    Those are different time periods?

    Kidding aside, what it a "full lifespan"? From stuff I've read, Ford designs its parts to last ten years (I don't recall a mileage number, but since most people drive 12 to 15k a year, that would correlate to 150,000 miles).

    Moderator
    Need help navigating? stever@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    edited February 2013
    All this reminds me of the old saying....

    "Measure it with a micrometer, then split it with an axe.".

    That isn't to say I don't follow (nor do I suggest others not follow) the manufacturer-approved lubricants for a vehicle, because that's exactly what I do... For me, I can (and do) purchase oil from my BMW dealer cheaper than I can at Walmart... Seems like a no-brainier to me. I do vary, however, in trusting ANY motor oil to last 15K miles. Fortunately, I don't put nearly that amount of miles on any of my vehicles in a year, and I change my oil annually, at a minimum. For me, problem solved.

    Cardoc, IMO, and I mean this with the utmost respect, if people were required to get into the specifics at the level you're headed towards, there simply wouldn't be an automotive market in existence.

    The existence of quickie oil change lube joints pretty much proves that there (at least, up until now) is a fair amount of tolerance in what the average car's lifetime is being viewed as acceptable by the driving, car-owning public.

    That isn't to say that owners couldn't get more miles out of their engine by using more precise lubricants, but it does say that, for the vast majority, what they're doing is enough to satisfy their expectations.

    Now, the future may be an entirely different bag, but I suspect we'll start seeing tons of lawsuits against quickie-lubes if it turns out to be a significant issue.

    The level of precision one expects is all relative... A mathematician calculating the trajectory of a comet may insist on taking his calculations to 100 points right of the decimal point, but for the rest of us, we'll just take him at his word when he says the comet isn't going to take out the planet... We don't need to do the same calculation.

    I don't mean to sound "flip" about this at all, it's just that 99.9999% of the population accepts "good enough" as OK. I can understand your frustration, but lets face it... If the car gets someone where they want to go, when they want to go there, its good enough for just about everybody.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    About twenty years today is the average full projected lifespan. That's 200-300 thousand miles and it includes the emissions system too.

    Yes a lot of parts are designed to make it ten years at the minimum. That means they should last well beyond that "on average".
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    edited February 2013
    According to USA TODAY, the average age of cars on the road is around 11 years today.

    http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/autos/story/2012-01-17/cars-trucks-age-polk- - /52613102/1

    What isn't addressed in the article is how many owners have the average car for 11 years.

    According to the article below, the average ownership of new cars is in the 6 or 7 year time frame, or even less...

    http://www.foxbusiness.com/industries/2012/11/07/nine-cars-americans-keep-longes- t/

    Frankly, I doubt few car owners really car much about what lifespan is left in a vehicle once they trade it...
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    That isn't to say I don't follow (nor do I suggest others not follow) the manufacturer-approved lubricants for a vehicle, because that's exactly what I do

    I hope you won't mind me pointing out another contradiction.

    For me, I can (and do) purchase oil from my BMW dealer cheaper than I can at Walmart... Seems like a no-brainier to me. I do vary, however, in trusting ANY motor oil to last 15K miles.

    There are two distinct camps here. Those who follow the manufacturers specs, and those who are doing their best to try and argue against doing that. As sure as they are trying to assert that people don't have to follow GM's spec, aren't they also saying that you shouldn't have to follow BMW's? After all it makes no sense for it to work one way, but not the other, does it?

    Cardoc, IMO, and I mean this with the utmost respect, if people were required to get into the specifics at the level you're headed towards, there simply wouldn't be an automotive market in existence

    I'm not sure I follow you here. The cars and their specs are indeed getting to be this complicated. That's why people need to listen to those who are getting the training that they need in order to do the job correctly. I'd rather make the effort for the consumers to understand the specs and the details involved then to have them have to deal with the consequences some day in the future. Keep in mind, we aren't talking only about the engines, that's a part of it. We are also talking about the emissions components. Expensive emissions components.

    The existence of quickie oil change lube joints pretty much proves that there (at least, up until now) is a fair amount of tolerance in what the average car's lifetime is being viewed as acceptable by the driving, car-owning public.

    So I guess GM's aren't having timing chain concerns, nor oil consumption concerns, after all there is no proof that anything bad is happening, right?. These concerns BTW are not limited to GM, but there are a number of forum complaints that can be referenced right here on Edmunds. These problems are real, and they are primarily the result of the use of products that failed to meet the GM specs, and/or service interval issues.

    Now, the future may be an entirely different bag, but I suspect we'll start seeing tons of lawsuits against quickie-lubes if it turns out to be a significant issue.

    Not until the consumers realize what the possibilities are. For now they are only hearing denial about the need to meet the manufacturers specs. Don't you think it would be better for everyone to get up to speed now, instead of having the nightmare happen first?
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,433
    What isn't addressed in the article is how many owners have the average car for 11 years.

    Well, I bought the 318ti new in November 1995, the 1999 Wrangler in May 2002, and the 2004 X3 in November 2005. I don't ever plan to sell the ti or the Jeep, and I plan to keep the X3 until my son graduates from college in 2017. I'd hang on to my 1975 2002, but I have too many cars in the driveway right now so it will have to go... :(

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    Frankly, I doubt few car owners really car much about what lifespan is left in a vehicle once they trade it...

    What happens to the trade in value if a group of cars are known to suffer expensive repairs?

    How is the second owners opinion affected if he/she finds out a car that they are interested in buying wasn't serviced correctly?
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    I bought my Ranger in Oct' 93. My Explorer in 2002, My Mustang in 08 (2007) and my Escape in 2012 (2010). Yea the driveway is a little full too. I'll be giving one of them away (the Ranger) to a niece here in a few more months.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,269
    edited February 2013
    There are two distinct camps here. Those who follow the manufacturers specs, and those who are doing their best to try and argue against doing that.

    Actually, I'm in camp C. For my BMW, I absolutely follow the manufacturer's specs on the type of fluids; however, I change them more often than they tell me to. For all of my other vehicles, I use synthetic when it isn't specified. I do use the specified weight, though.

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country

  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    edited February 2013
    What happens to the trade in value if a group of cars are known to suffer expensive repairs?

    How is the second owners opinion affected if he/she finds out a car that they are interested in buying wasn't serviced correctly?


    My point, exactly. "If" doesn't mean "will occur". It's an issue once it happens, not "if" it happens.

    Wasn't serviced correctly?

    Well, there have been used are bought and sold for 100 years now, and that was a possibility in the first sales transaction of a used car. It's nothing new...
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    I hope you won't mind me pointing out another contradiction.

    For me, I can (and do) purchase oil from my BMW dealer cheaper than I can at Walmart... Seems like a no-brainier to me. I do vary, however, in trusting ANY motor oil to last 15K miles.

    There are two distinct camps here. Those who follow the manufacturers specs, and those who are doing their best to try and argue against doing that. As sure as they are trying to assert that people don't have to follow GM's spec, aren't they also saying that you shouldn't have to follow BMW's? After all it makes no sense for it to work one way, but not the other, does it?


    You aren't getting any argument from me. If there is any doubt at all, follow the manufacturer's specifications. I go a step further regarding motor oil, in that I use synthetics in every auto I own, that fully comply with all the specifications listed in the owner's manual.

    I avoid the quickie lube joints (and the like) at all cost, and I have imbedded that belief in both my daughters and my wife.
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    edited February 2013
    I'm not sure I follow you here. The cars and their specs are indeed getting to be this complicated. That's why people need to listen to those who are getting the training that they need in order to do the job correctly. I'd rather make the effort for the consumers to understand the specs and the details involved then to have them have to deal with the consequences some day in the future. Keep in mind, we aren't talking only about the engines, that's a part of it. We are also talking about the emissions components. Expensive emissions components.


    A noble effort, but as they say... "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink". Most folks couldn't care less about the details until it starts hitting them in the pocketbook.

    So I guess GM's aren't having timing chain concerns, nor oil consumption concerns, after all there is no proof that anything bad is happening, right?. These concerns BTW are not limited to GM, but there are a number of forum complaints that can be referenced right here on Edmunds. These problems are real, and they are primarily the result of the use of products that failed to meet the GM specs, and/or service interval issues.

    I couldn't say one way or the other, so I'll take your word for it. I do know that, until a clear relationship can be demonstrated to the mass market that they need to use the exacting-specified lubricants, most folks won't care. Again, the existence of quickie-lube oil change shops makes it pretty obvious to me that short term costs savings/time savings mean more to a large segment of auto owners.
  • jipsterjipster Posts: 5,345
    Again, the existence of quickie-lube oil change shops makes it pretty obvious to me that short term costs savings/time savings mean more to a large segment of auto owners.

    Still don't understand why you guys are making the distinction between dealerships and quick lubes? I had a new 2004 Mazda minivan, all oil changes done at dealership, every 4,000 miles. They used 5w-20 Pennzoil. When I took my Buick Regal into dealership for oil change, they used Valvoline 5w-30. Same as what many of quick lubes use.

    Really only benefit of quick lubes, are they,well, are quicker. It was $34 for oil change recently done at Valvoline Instant. Hyundai,Kia and Mazda dealerships offer $24 oil changes year thru. So which is better now? :surprise:
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,433
    How is the second owners opinion affected if he/she finds out a car that they are interested in buying wasn't serviced correctly?

    I have a reputation for being a stickler for proper maintenance and as a result I have no trouble selling one of my cas. In fact, the ti and Wrangler have a waiting list.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,433
    For my BMW, I absolutely follow the manufacturer's specs on the type of fluids; however, I change them more often than they tell me to. For all of my other vehicles, I use synthetic when it isn't specified.

    I follow the same regimen; in the case of the Mazdaspeed I change the transaxle fluid every 30,000 miles and the brake fluid every 12 months. In both cases the factory considers the fluids to be "lifetime fills."
    Yeah, right...

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    Typically, dealerships and repair shop mechanics have a full set of tools to do repairs, and are well equipped to do oil changes as well as inspections. There are exceptions, of course, but a good shop will also notice obvious things that may be problems later.

    OTOH, the whole idea of a quickie lube is to get you in and out quick. It's competitively priced against other quickie lube shops, so anything these places can do to cut costs gets implemented.

    While it may not be the order of the day, I've personally seen more than one fast oil change joint staffed by what appeared to be "less than adequately trained" personnel, using the most basic tools such as adjustable wrenches and vice grips to remove/reinstall the drain plug.

    Of course, all fast oil change shops aren't the same, so its not fair to lump them together. Personally, I would use them only as a last resort.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,433
    While it may not be the order of the day, I've personally seen more than one fast oil change joint staffed by what appeared to be "less than adequately trained" personnel, using the most basic tools such as adjustable wrenches and vice grips to remove/reinstall the drain plug.

    A friend of mine watched a quicky lube employee fill a SAAB engine with oil until it overflowed; that was because the guy had pulled the transaxle drain plug...

    Another friend was the General Manager of a BMW/Porsche/Audi store. Customers would bring their cars in for service and would swear up and down that they hadn't taken their car to a quicky lube store. The service tech would then take them into the shop and show them where one of the quicky lube crew had stripped out the oil pan drain plug threads and replaced the metal plug with a rubber substitute.
    All without telling the customer of course.

    No way would I EVER take one of my vehicles there.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • stickguystickguy Posts: 14,433
    in the past, I used a local quick lube place. But that was with some of my older (out of warranty) and much simpler cars (a 626, maxima, stuff like that). But, my rule with the new cars (Hondas really for the last 8 years) was take them to the dealer. A couple of reasons, mostly though because the Honda dealer has a good service dept, with a no-appointment "quick" (if 45 minutes is quick) basic service set up.

    I figured that would make sure they got the right fluids (oil and tranny fluid in particular). And if something went wrong, they had all the records (so better chance of out of warranty consideration). Plus the price was comparable.

    at least if needed the local place is reputable. Family owned, and the same people for a long time. You even had the owner guy working on the car, and he had a real nice 911 Targa out front! I would consider taking my Integra there if needed.

    Sometimes, trying to get to the indy guy (and having to leave the car) just is not workable.

    2013 Acura RDX (wife's), 2007 Volvo S40 (daughter stole that one), and 2000 Acura TL (formerly son's, now mine again)

  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    When I took my Buick Regal into dealership for oil change, they used Valvoline 5w-30. Same as what many of quick lubes use

    It was a significant point of contention when dealership techs knew and understood the specification, while management at those dealerships simply didn't care. I'll address that issue in the future, but you are correct, there were dealerships that weren't following the manufacturers specification. GM's dealers aren't the only ones who have been guilty of such actions. You can find BMW dealerships today who use LL-98 instead of LL-01. (The LL-98 is actually a conventional oil specification, the LL-01 is a full synthetic).

    Mercedes Benz had a major lawsuit that was based on their North American dealers using API/ILSAC specked oil instead of 229.1 (ACEA A3/B3 A3/B4)

    Hyundai,Kia and Mazda dealerships offer $24 oil changes year thru

    Hyundai/,Kia, you are OK with API SN ILSAC GF5. The Mazda you might be.

    Have you seen how big small some of their filters are? There is no way that someone can go to an extended drain interval with such a tiny filter, unless you change the filter more often than the oil!
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    I've never sold any cars that I have owned. They have all been gifts to someone who really needed one.
  • xwesxxwesx Fairbanks, AlaskaPosts: 8,445
    How has that worked out? I've never been an advocate of gifting things like cars, because there's no investment on the part of the new owner so they tend not to appreciate/care for them like they should.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,433
    I've never sold any cars that I have owned. They have all been gifts to someone who really needed one.

    That is very generous. I have loaned a couple of my cars to friends for a week or two while their car was in the shop.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    You aren't getting any argument from me. If there is any doubt at all, follow the manufacturer's specifications. I go a step further regarding motor oil, in that I use synthetics in every auto I own, that fully comply with all the specifications listed in the owner's manual.

    This is widely accepted as such a simple topic and everyone usually thinks that they know all that there is to know about engine oil and specifications.
    We have barely scratched the surface at this point.

    Now just imagine how every possible automotive topic has changed as dramatically as this one has. Shouldn't media types be concerning themselves with getting this kind of information out to their readers instead of just adding to the confusion? It's OK if they admit that they simply didn't understand the changes, but so far all we usually see is still more denial. The delay that has been occurring with getting the right information out to the public has been resulting in consumers who aren't believing shops when they are informed that their car requires a specific oil. Consumers need an easy to access, accurate information source for a reference. Emphasis on the word accurate.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,410
    edited February 2013
    Have you seen how big small some of their filters are?

    Have you counted the pleats and analyzed the filter media then? What if that little bitty filter starts coming with a Dexos sticker on it?

    Next you're going to tell me I should change my oil when it gets dark. :D

    Moderator
    Need help navigating? stever@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    How has that worked out? I've never been an advocate of gifting things like cars, because there's no investment on the part of the new owner so they tend not to appreciate/care for them like they should.

    I got one nephew through the transition from being in the Navy to his life after being in the service. He got two cars over an eight year period.

    My daughters first car was a triple hand-me-down after she graduated high school and I got her a Cavalier. That Old Grand-Am, was gifted, used, re-gifted, used, and re-gifted until it finally met its demise.

    I have a brother who has benefited twice when he needed a hand. One of those cars was passed onto his youngest son.

    The Cavalier that my daughter had was passed onto another nephew when I bought her a Rav4 when she graduated college. That one lasted four more years and it was in an accident and totalled. He managed to get himself through welding school and has had a couple of jobs, improving his standard of living each time.

    One car went to a family that had a fire and lost their car in a garage. They only had liability on their car. They still have that one. All told I've given away about a dozen cars. Most of them were given to me as basket cases that I restored and then passed on.

    I'll never forget the look on my sister in laws face when I gave her the '90 Cadillac Deville. (That was one of the 4.9's that I did head gaskets on BTW)
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    There are times to be humorus and times that it's not quite appropriate. There are articles here that are aimed at telling consumers that they don't have to change their oil as frequently as they have been told in the past. For the most part, those articles are correct. However. The Mazda's that use that tiny filter still have a very short service interval as compared to other manufacturers. If those customers only read the stories, and don't check their manufacturers specs then the stories will mislead them, and they could exprience a mechanical failure that should have been prevented.

    Next you're going to tell me I should change my oil when it gets dark.

    What does your manufacturer say?
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,521
    edited February 2013
    Well, there have been used are bought and sold for 100 years now, and that was a possibility in the first sales transaction of a used car. It's nothing new...

    Was a $7000 engine, or $6000 in catalysts at risk for getting it wrong in the past?
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,269
    edited February 2013
    I'm sure I've mentioned it around here, but BMW is doing a downright criminal thing printing in their book that the fluid in my transmission is lifetime. ZF--you know, the actual manufacturer of the engine--says it should be changed every 50k. So BMW puts it in their car and the magic of their badge makes it lifetime fluid? Good grief!

    I asked my service advisor about it. He said "its lifetime."
    "Oh, really," I asked, "then why can I buy the fluid and filter from your parts counter?"
    After a bit of hemming and hawing, he said it would be prohibitively expensive to have them do it. Somewhere around $1k. I did it myself for $200 and less than 2 hours labor. Now that I know how, I could probably do it in under an hour.

    Same experience with the wife's Chrysler.

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '14 Town&Country

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