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A Mechanic's Life - Tales From Under the Hood

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  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonPosts: 17,946
    You didn't answer my question.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,644
    edited March 2013
    With minimal research there are a couple of important considerations. 1st was this car equipped with a Smart Key system or a regular ignition key and switch?

    With Smart Key the operator has to push and hold the start button, and the vehicle will shut down. If it had a normal key, turning the key would directly open the power circuits to the PCM, BCM, and the smart junction box.

    The brake lights, which you never see come on during the video, are directly controlled by the pedal switch and a relay. I could look at the circuit a little more for cross references but with the smart key system the car would not start if there was a brake lamp circuit issue. Keep in mind, there is always room for something to change after the vehicle was started.

    If the throttle was genuinely stuck open, there would be no manifold vacuum to assist in the brake application. It would take both feet, but the manual operation of the brakes would still over power the drive train and from 110 mph, you can stop the car in about double the normal distance as you would without the engine pulling. Car and Driver (and others) have done some tests on this and there are also some you-tube videos of techs demonstrating various scenarios. They always stop the car, even with the throttle wide open.

    On some cars today, the shift lever is really just an input to a computer, but that is not the case with this Elantra. It uses a shift cable and has a manual valve and park pawl in the transmission just like we have used for decades.

    Sorry for the kid, but I'm not buying any of it.

    PS almost forgot.

    A kiss off of the median, or even one of the cops positioning to let him rear end the squad car would both set off the airbag system, and that results in a complete system shutdown as well.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,644
    There is a lot if that around here, but everyone allows it for each other, but not me?

    There was one product on the shelf, I'll leave the name out for now that was clearly overdosed on ZDP, and it didn't even have the ILSAC donut on the bottle. That product used in a car experiencing above average consumption issues would easily contaminate the O2 sensors and catalysts. A similar product just down the shelf (Royal Purple) correctly identified itself as not for use in any vehicles after 2004, yet the first one did not.

    There is more to it than just "engine damage". Now answer my questions.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,644
    Same question that I asked isell...

    How do you feel about companies that use misleading statements in their advertising, whether it's an oil company or not?

    Now another question.

    Are you in favor of helping consumers understand the oil manufacturers labels and oil specifications, or would you like to keep consumers uninformed?

    From there, who does it serve to try and cast any doubts as to a consumers need to learn about and understand engine oil specifications?
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,956
    edited March 2013
    With Smart Key the operator has to push and hold the start button, and the vehicle will shut down.

    I recall reading somewhere that the new "smart keys" will soon respond to multiple jabs of the button. Might have just been one automaker or maybe it's under consideration by the NHTSA.

    Back to 99 bottles of beer varieties of oil on the wall. :shades:

    (More like 999 - just counted 36 different kinds/weights of oil at Pennzoil, and that was just for the US market).

    Moderator
    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

  • jipsterjipster Posts: 5,345
    If I had a BMW, or similar car, with a high performance engine, I'd probably be wanting the correct spec oil put in. Your average Joe blow car? Probably not.
  • jipsterjipster Posts: 5,345
    kiss off of the median, or even one of the cops positioning to let him rear end the squad car would both set off the airbag system, and that results in a complete system shutdown as well.

    True. But 911 nor the cops would risk the liability. The kid spins out and crashes, is injured, now he's suing the city, the cops, and the car manufacturer.
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    Once again, thanks for your response and analysis.

    I came to the same conclusion.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,981
    Doc asks: "Are you in favor of helping consumers understand the oil manufacturers labels and oil specifications, or would you like to keep consumers uninformed? "

    Actually, THEY aren't much in favor of learning it and I'm not keen on trying to shove it down their throats. I know when to quit. :P

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  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    edited March 2013
    If I had a BMW, or similar car, with a high performance engine, I'd probably be wanting the correct spec oil put in. Your average Joe blow car? Probably not.

    Just curious... Why not use the correct spec oil 100% of the time?

    Chances are, it isn't significantly more expensive that an alternative oil that doesn't meet the manufacturer's specs.

    Assuming the lubrication specifications aren't encrypted in some form of impossible to understand code, or that the correct oil can't be located in the tri-state area... Why would you knowingly use a below-par lubricant?

    Even the cheapest cars aren't that cheap. So, if one puts 100K miles on a car, and changes the oil every 5K miles, we're talking about 20 oil change intervals. If the correct oil costs $2 more/qt, and the crankcase holds 5 quarts, that's a whopping $200 extra over the 100K mile life.... Or $400 over a 200K mile lifespan. Not that much coin at all...

    IMO, if money is that tight for the owner, I can only imagine the condition of the tires on the car after 50 K miles.

    Makes no sense to me...
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    edited March 2013
    Actually, THEY aren't much in favor of learning it and I'm not keen on trying to shove it down their throats. I know when to quit

    That's been my point all along. You simply can't make the average car owner get interested in the minutia of what it takes to keep his car running at peak efficiency, unless the interest is already there.

    There's always a significant number of people that will spend $50+ large on a luxury vehicle that calls for hi-test gas and yet only run 89 octane in it.

    The same goes for service. Penny wise and pound foolish...
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,644
    Chances are, it isn't significantly more expensive that an alternative oil that doesn't meet the manufacturer's specs.

    In some cases, the products that actually meet the manufacturers specs are less expensive than ones that do not.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,981
    I pay attention to things that I know matter to me and my car---I drive a supercharged car and I drive it...er....rather fast most of the time. So I'm paying attention to spark plug heat ranges, engine cooling, octane ratings.

    I can't expect those to seem important to everyone, nor can I bother myself with minutiae about oils. If my engine blows up it's probably not going to be an oil-related issue, it's going to be a detonation issue, since I'm running higher than normal boost.

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  • jipsterjipster Posts: 5,345
    edited March 2013
    Well, I get my oil changes done at the dealership... at least until 110-120k miles. I assume they are putting in the correct oil. Once they put in wrong viscosity. I called back after seeing on statement. They said it was a computer error. Difficult to believe. So, if I'm doing my own oil changes,I'd go ahead and get the correct spec, now that I know what to look for. But, for the average Joe blow car, doesn't seem likeitwould matter much ...to the extent of asking every oil change if they are using correct spec oil.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,644
    Well, I get my oil changes done at the dealership... at least until 110-120k miles. I assume they are putting in the correct oil

    Your also assuming that they know how to choose the correct oil. Plus your assuming that the competition to try and have a low price isn't resulting in poor choices being made.

    I called back after seeing They said it was a computer error. Difficult to believe

    The computer didn't put the oil in the car, and it only generated the repair order based on what someone entered into it.

    So, if I'm doing my own oil changes,I'd go ahead and get the correct spec, now that I know what to look for.

    Have you noticed any pressure to try and make that confusing for you here?

    But, for the average Joe blow car, doesn't seem likeitwould matter much ...to the extent of asking every oil change if they are using correct spec oil.

    It does matter, a lot! There are groups who have an interest in allowing the consumers to not understand the need to learn how the specs have changed.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,644
    More like 999 - just counted 36 different kinds/weights of oil at Pennzoil, and that was just for the US market

    Did you then wonder, why does one company have that many different products? Words like "equivelant" get to take on a whole new meaning when you can grab four bottles of 5W30 off of one shelf and find out they aren't equivelants. Then when you know what to look for, you find out that that store, with four different 5W30's still might not have the one your car calls for. That doesn't mean that a given company doesn't make it, it means there isn't enough correct information out there yet.

    I didn't even mention during our trip I found one store only had type F transmission fluid on the shelf, and several others only had bottles of "Dex/Merc" which quoted the expired dexron III spec.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,644
    Actually, THEY aren't much in favor of learning it and I'm not keen on trying to shove it down their throats. I know when to quit.

    So then you support the misleading statements used in advertising that can result in a consumer, shop, or technician using the wrong product in somone's car?
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    "Actually, THEY aren't much in favor of learning it and I'm not keen on trying to shove it down their throats. I know when to quit. "

    So then you support the misleading statements used in advertising that can result in a consumer, shop, or technician using the wrong product in somone's car?


    That's not what I see him saying at all.

    There are multiple factors in play, one of which is a gross lack of understanding/ignorance by the general population regarding lubricant quality needs and requirements, and another is the confusing way lubricants are labeled, if for no other reason of having multiple standards, both industry-wide and those set by individual manufacturer.

    If an engine seized immediately after having the incorrect oil installed, owners would stand up and take notice. Since that rarely, if ever, happens, owners don't see the correlations between incorrect oil and the use of said oil in their car, especially when it can take 50, 75, 100K miles or more before any direct correlation can be identified. Even then, when a correlation CAN be identified, the damage is usually blamed on something else, so the consumer still doesn't get the "education" he needs.

    Simply put, some folks care, but most don't.

    I'm not sure how to change that perception, or even IF it can be changed.
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,644
    So then you support the misleading statements used in advertising that can result in a consumer, shop, or technician using the wrong product in somone's car?

    That's not what I see him saying at all.

    Then why doesn't he answer the question, yes or no?
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 17,689
    Thing is, we don't actually know. Its not like we have a video of the entire hour-long escapade.

    '13 Stang GT; '15 Fit; '98 Volvo S70; '14 Town&Country

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,981
    I don't think there is any conspiracy to mislead consumers---what is happening is that the people who write the advertising don't know, and the people who read it don't care.

    I have no intention of becoming the Billy Graham of motor oils--I'd rather just sit like the Buddha and let everyone figure it out for themselves.

    My only responsibility is to try, to the best of my ability, to convey manufacturer's specs to consumers. If GM can't get it right, then it's out of my hands.

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  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,644
    My only responsibility is to try, to the best of my ability, to convey manufacturer's specs to consumers.

    How does the suggestion that you could get away with using the wrong product no matter what the cause was support this?

    If GM can't get it right, then it's out of my hands

    Why does this have to specify GM, when the issue is also a concern with BMW, Mercedes, VW, Ford, Chrysler, some Nissans, new Hyundai's, etc.etc?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,981
    It doesn't specify GM---I'll just pick the specs out of ALL DATA or Mitchell. I suppose it's possible there could be some error in that data, now and then, but I'm not about to call up each automaker to confirm.

    As for me dumping any old oil in my car, that's my business. I have no intention of inflicting my habits on the consumer.

    I'm not a missionary--I don't have to always practice what I preach :P

    One might say, with I hope some modesty, that I have the knowledge to know when to push limits and when to obey them---and I don't think every consumer has that knowledge---so I am very careful to be as "right" as I can with them.

    On the other hand, I don't want the consumer to waste money heedlessly.

    If I can save them money by pushing them to have codes read rather than guess, by steering them away from "scams", and by conveying accurate information from trusted databases, then I feel okay about what I'm doing.

    But I'm not going to advise them on how to re-wire their car via my Internet instructions. I'm not crazy. :shades:

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  • crkyolfrtcrkyolfrt Posts: 2,345
    It doesn't have to be as complicated as it is, or is being made out to be IF just a two simple parameters were revised for future specs. (admittedly the first one is not as simple as the second one).

    a) either MAKE manufacturers authorize whatever form of nationally recognized min spec you want (pick one) to be used in all their engines past and future, (future ones governed by a new year spec of course) SN, SP, SQ, SR or whatever..like I said, designation chosen as nationally recognized,

    .........................OR............................

    b) owners damn well buy their oil from their home brand if they do their own oil changes, keep their receipts or forfeit future claims..as simple as that... or have their home brand service shop DO ALL their oil changes!

    Pick one..

    This confusion stems from NON licensed oil brands, wanting a piece of the pie, WITHOUT manufacturer's ble$$ing$. Why are we catering to them, if the consequences of using the wrong oil (regardless of who is to blame for labeling/interpretation/there's-that-can-o-worms again omitted/solved) are that serious, then why are we bowing down to allow such free-enterprise WHEN IF SOMETHING GOES WRONG, EVERYONE WANTS THE OTHER TO TAKE THE HIT!?

    So...a or b....pick one, no negotiation..."is that a 'but' I hear back there from the cheap seats?!" But NOTHING!

    Pick one.....
    :shades:
  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,644
    This confusion stems from NON licensed oil brands, wanting a piece of the pie, WITHOUT manufacturer's ble$$ing$. Why are we catering to them, if the consequences of using the wrong oil (regardless of who is to blame for labeling/interpretation/there's-that-can-o-worms again omitted/solved) are that serious, then why are we bowing down to allow such free-enterprise WHEN IF SOMETHING GOES WRONG, EVERYONE WANTS THE OTHER TO TAKE THE HIT!?

    Part of the confusion stems from old habits that didn't immeadiately result in an obvious failure, and now people still want to carry on with those old habits when the cars are different. The worst part of all of this is the people who try to pooh-pooh someone when they do try and alert the consumers. When I first attended the oil class I was just as amazed as everyone else at how things had changed and at the same time felt betrayed that the suppliers that I was trusting to give me the products that I needed to take care of my customers didn't do their part and make sure that I knew about the changes. I followed that up with hours and hours of additional study and confirmed everything that Kevin M was explaining to us.

    Since adapting to the changes, I have had to deal with all kinds if suggestions that the reasons we were doing this different from everyone else were everything and anything except for the simple fact that we learned that we used to be doing it wrong, and now we are up to speed for our customers and their vehicles. When you read all the way back through this, you will see that same kind of pressure that continually suggested that following the manufacturers specs isn't necessary and that goes all the way back to some specific lines in Ron's article.

    As Kevin say's, and I quote him here. Everyone goes through Denial (This can't be true) to Anger (Why didn't those SOB's tell us) Negotiation (Can't we just get a list of what oils to use in what cars) to finally Acceptance that its different today, and we will just have to work a little harder to ensure that we are taking care of our customers cars correctly.

    There are times that I like to refer back to the title of this thread, "A Mechanics Life". This little war that went on here on this one "simple" (not) subject is a real reflection of just what it has been like trying to keep up with the changes in the cars for our customers, and getting them and the IMO self pro-claimed experts to realize what doing the job correctly really looks like today.

    When the toy tools get someone's blessing it suggests to the consumer that they are seeing how we do our jobs, and that can't be further from the truth. They will try to prove their perception by touting only the lowest denominator but that isn't even close to our world. Our world today is easier seen with the purchase of a tool like Chrysler's WiTech, at some $7000. Someone who buys a parts store code puller can at best do about 20% of what the car is really capable of which can only be truly seen with the WiTech. The problem is, at $7000 we don't own the tool. We only own the license to use it for a year, and then if we don't pay another $1700 by it's "birthday" it turns off. Now repeat that for every manufacturer that a shop tries to support today and you have made a big step towards understanding a little more about what it takes to be a full mechanic today.

    I first came to this site because of Mr. Reeds involvement in that sting with NBC. The second part that they aired of course praised a shop who didn't charge for the time spent diagnosing the car. That sends as incorrect of a message to the consumers as much as anything else did in regards to that "story". The perspective that they wanted to push on the TV, as well as the ones you saw here that did everything they could to discredit the need to really follow the manufactures specs are based entirely on a lack of up to date training and current experience. Fortunately that can be addressed, but not until people realize that they need to get up to speed with what it really takes to fix cars today.
  • crkyolfrtcrkyolfrt Posts: 2,345
    edited March 2013
    Part of the confusion stems from old habits that didn't immeadiately result in an obvious failure, and now people still want to carry on with those old habits when the cars are different.

    I hear what you're saying. And I have followed this oil debate, I think, from the beginning. More as a lurker in the beginning though. And there is a pattern with the content in your posts. And to address just this part of your quote above..

    To me, your points are made, they seem consistent for the most part and much is repeated, and I appreciate what you are saying, but there is a but. I still maintain that there are only two viable options (if a true solution is the goal)..and really..when you get right down to it, it is the manufacturers that should be left holding the bag. They CHOOSE to build an engine requiring a certain spec of oil. It is not the other way around. If a mfrgr wants to be different and veer off from a set standard, that is on them! So basically if you, as a consumer, decide to buy brand A, then you damn well use ONLY the oil that brand A SELLS. Not what they say meets there ever-changing specs..LET THEM BE ON THE HOOK FOR MISLABELING OF THE OILS, OWNER'S MANUALS ETC. RIGHT? Isn't that obvious? And in doing this, IT IS ON THEM, who they trust to supply them with the right oil, 100% of time. And if someone screws up, the mfgr PAYS. 100% of the time.

    Once you are out of wty, that is when the consumer will determine by voting with their $ which non-licensed oil brand gets to sell product.

    Since there is so much confusion in the industry and since mfrgs can NOW TELL if you have used the wrong oil, it is just so obvious that a smart consumer will continue to buy their oil from their brand mfrgr and that way, if you do have a failure just outside of wty or if it becomes known that a certain build date on a certain engine was found to have faulty components that failed almost always outside of wty, but it was easily determined to be a fault due to the numbers involved, that brand is more likely to go to bat and cover the repair.

    Again, why cater to ANY brand of oil that doesn't measure up? Let the mfrgr decide which oil brand gets to sell oil, not the consumer. Put it ON the mfrgr.

    Neysayers will say that sounds too idealistic. I say it is doable...unless there is something right under my nose that I can't see that says it isn't.

    edit: perhaps monopolization abuse..that one occurs to me.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,956
    edited March 2013
    I think we're going about it the wrong way.

    Oil doesn't really "wear out" does it? The additive packs do. Just start doing like transmissions and seal the system up. Use an access port to refresh the additives every 15 or 30k or to top up the level. Change the filter at similar intervals.

    What happens to the waste oil now? It either gets burned in the shop or sold to a recycler. And some of those recyclers take the waste oil and turn it back into base stock (link). May as well figure out how to take that step out of the process.

    Moderator
    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,644
    Oil doesn't really "wear out" does it?

    Yes, it does. The idea that it doesn't is a myth. Engine oil gets damaged by crankcase acids, the moment it's acid fighting properties are depleted. Plus as I explained in one response GM and Ford can both prove that with the reduced bearing clearances, too thick of an oil will have the molecules of the oil torn apart by the shearing forces in the bearings. You'll remember that' some wanted to make fun of that statement, without checking into the facts first.

    Just start doing like transmissions and seal the system up. Use an access port to refresh the additives every 15 or 30k or to top up the level. Change the filter at similar intervals.

    We can do this two ways. I can repeat this whole exercise with transmission fluid, and even engine coolants exactly as I have with the engine oil, or you can choose to accept the fact that a lot of the ideas that you hold dear are no longer valid. :surprise:

    It either gets burned in the shop or sold to a recycler. And some of those recyclers take the waste oil and turn it back into base stock (link).


    If they get approved for use by the auto manufacturers, then what a great way to save resources. If not then they might just as well be used for heating the shop.

    I think we're going about it the wrong way

    I don't agree, the other way left everyone thinking that they knew all that they needed to, and that includes Ron's article. The thing you have to realize is there is still way more to this subject than just what you see here, and its still changing and will continue to in the future.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,956
    edited March 2013
    My link is from Vavoline and they are making API approved oils out of waste oil. I don't think it's much of a stretch to extend oil life, even if you ultimately have to send it out for re-refining. People hate doing maintenance and some of us (lots?) would like buying a car with the hood welded shut.

    Moderator
    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Posts: 1,644
    when you get right down to it, it is the manufacturers that should be left holding the bag.

    In a perfect world that might be true. In this one any shop who has failed to keep pace with the changes will easily be the ones holding the bag if a customer experiences a failure that isn't covered by the manufacturers warranty. We are in a position of superior knowledge, we are supposed to know what car takes what oil, regardless of how many people try and say differently.

    They CHOOSE to build an engine requiring a certain spec of oil.

    If you really want a one size fit's all, then why doesn't everybody drive a Mustang GT in the summer, and an Escape in the winter exactly like we do and the problem would be solved as well. The simple reality is everyone doesn't want to drive the same cars, and to meet the power and fuel economy, and emissions demands of the governement, as well as the consumers the technology in the cars is driving the changes in lubrication demands.

    BTW SAE is mandating a change and another catagory of oils, SAE16 A and SAE16 B to try and accomplish some of what you want. But they are about five years behind with that right now, or said another way they should have done that five years ago, and upgraded it from there to meet today's needs.

    it is just so obvious that a smart consumer will continue to buy their oil from their brand mfrgr and that way, if you do have a failure just outside of wty or if it becomes known that a certain build date on a certain engine was found to have faulty components that failed almost always outside of wty, but it was easily determined to be a fault due to the numbers involved, that brand is more likely to go to bat and cover the repair.

    This is where the FTC and people who spout the Magnuson-Moss act contribute to the confusion. The manufactuers are not allowed to force you to buy their oil, even when it is in their, and your best interest. All they can do is require to use a product that meets their specs. from there you need to know how to recognize what does (and is truly equivelant) and what does not. You do not have to use VW's oil in a VW, but you do have to choose an oil that meets VW's specifications.

    Again, why cater to ANY brand of oil that doesn't measure up? Let the mfrgr decide which oil brand gets to sell oil, not the consumer. Put it ON the mfrgr.

    Does GM's move to have licensed approval for dexos make sense now? It isn't and was never about the money. It was all about making it absolutely clear for a customer how to choose the correct product for their car. Anything else you have ever seen about this has been a total misdirection at play.
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