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Top Five Ways to Make Your Car Run Forever

Edmunds.comEdmunds.com Posts: 10,059
edited March 2016 in General
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Top Five Ways to Make Your Car Run Forever

Top Five Ways to Make Your Car Run Forever article on Edmunds.com

Read the full story here


Comments

  • rear vents blowin cold air when heater is on
  • This article seems a little dated, but the basic information provided remains valid - with a few exceptions:

    1. Slick-50 provides no additional protection on start-up. It was most likely quickly filtered out right after being added, and even if it wasn't, there's nothing to make the teflon stick to engine parts in the first place. Bearings and cylinder wall interfaces retain sufficient oil to provide lubrication until the oil comes up to pressure (just a few seconds).

    2. Buying higher octane than your car needs to operate is a waste of money. OTOH, if your engine has a carbon buildup that results in some "pinging," running a higher octane will help.

    3. Running the same brand of gasoline can actually lead to engine deposit build-up. Changing brands occasionally will allow the new gas to remove the deposits left by the previous gas, and visa-versa.
  • When buying motor oil, check to see if its certified by the American Petroleum Institute. It is located on the star burst symbol on the front label. Then buy the lowest price of oil that you can find, knowing that it has passed all of the tests they put the oil through. Save money without sacrificing quality. You do not need to buy the name brands oils.
  • The above are all completely logical suggestions. One you might not think of is that if you drive a car with a high performance engine- drive it like it was meant to be driven. On occasion, and after fully warmed up, go ahead and use most of the rpm and throttle range. Let it develop all the power it is meant to, otherwise you may be stuck with a car with a high-performance reputation but will no longer be able to fulfill those demands if it was always babied and not allowed to 'stretch it's legs' on occasion.
  • this is true to some but not to others... i had a 1996 ford explorer purchased with 176,XXX miles did a tune-up COMPLETE. and never did another oil change due to it leaking/burning oil... so never changed plugs/wires/oil/fuel filter/ air filter/ nothing. besides brakes/tires/wiper blades... it lasted till just over 304K and that was because it ran out of oil and blew up the engine.. yet.

    I had a 96 s10 2.2l changed oil regularly did all the maintenance and everything... yet it blew the engine at 172K!!! yeah i try to take car of my vehicles but if it burn/leaks oil why change it if you adding 1-2+ courts a week?!
  • For those of us living in the northern part of the country. You need to remove the salt from your Vehicle after each snow event. Also look for areas that collect road salt and be sure to flush well. The life span of most vehicles seems to be dictated by drive system components and suspension.
    With today’s modern engines I don’t see the need for any protective measures other than routine maintenance. I’ve had a few cars with over there hundred thousand miles, with great compression, no metal in the oil and absolutely no oil consumption.
  • Also don't let anyone borrow it!
  • I would add two things:

    1. Buy a vehicle you know you want to drive for 200,000 miles. You are more likely to take care of it. And you are more likely to drive it like you love it.

    2. When buying a car, use Edmund's True Cost to Own to avoid surprises, especially the frequency of repair and the cost of repairs. It is easy to fall out of love if the repairs are more than you anticipated.
  • 1997 Chevy silverado 4x4 290,000 miles and still going strong. Synthetic oil, in eng., differentials, transmission, even brake fluid. Radiator, brake system and power steering fluids changed every 2 years...My truck has seen, heavy snow, low floods, mud and beaches, it's been on 3, 3500 mile trips towing a trailer with well over 200,000 mile on odometer at that time. I'm a firm believer, if you take care of your stuff, it will take care of you...
  • All the tips are very good. But my experience has taught me to avoid the dealers unless your vehicle needs a major repair. I quit getting my 'inspections' at the dealer and my car repairs dropped by $1000 annually. They were always finding something that was about to fail and I should fix it 'right away'. I got the last 75,000 miles on my Honda dealer-free and traded it in excellent condition at 175,000 for a vehicle that has yet to see the inside of the dealer's shop. I love my cars, I take good care of them, I drive them reasonably, and they serve me well.
  • lowndeslowndes Posts: 1
    I have a comment that NO ONE else has, and NO ONE believes, either!! I always keep the oil level one quart ABOVE the full mark on the dipstick. People will tell me that this will "blow the seals" and other such things.
    My reply is the I am currently driving a 2001 Ford Taurus with the standard 3.0 V6 and over 400,000 miles. Id does not burn or leak oil, never been "worked on", other than water pumps, power steering pumps, alternators. The transmission was rebuilt at 150,000, but it's a Ford. My previous cars, all using the same "one over full" were '72 Ford Econoline - 220,000 miles; '76 VW Diesel Rabbit - 240,000 miles; '78 VW Diesel Rabbit - 260,000 miles; '89 VW Quantum Turbo Diesel - 270,000 miles; '92 Ford Taurus SHO - 220,000 miles. Also, my wife's '95 Camry - 173,000 miles, but she is retired now and doesn't drive much. All of these vehicles were purchased used with 40-60,000 miles already on them.
    I have ALL the fuel receipts with the mileage at fillup on each back to '68, and the motel bills, too!!
    None of these engines ever had any work, other than the water pumps, etc. and none of them burned oil.
    The main reason I have been doing this is for the GAS MILEAGE improvement I get. It has been in the 8-10% increase range. The only reason I can come up with is that the cylinder walls get more "splash" lubrication and there is less internal friction. I change the oil and filter at 5K myself.
    So, does anyone else have any ideas or similar experience??
  • The reason you do an oil change at the proper interval even though you are adding oil frequently is because you replace the filter which will eventually become clogged and limit the flow of oil to critical engine components. Clean oil does no good if it is not distributed properly to all the internally lubricated parts.
  • The reason you do an oil change at the proper interval even though you are adding oil frequently is because you replace the filter which will eventually become clogged and limit the flow of oil to critical engine components. Clean oil does no good if it is not distributed properly to all the internally lubricated parts.
  • The comment by Saint9903 is not entirely crazy. Here is what I was told by the Lubrication Engineers at Borg-Warner, who designed parts of the pumps that pump the oil in the Alaska Pipeline:
    When the metal in your engine is new and young, including the rings, it is strong and elastic (as opposed to brittle). To break in an engine, first baby it and vary speed for 200 miles or so, then change out the oil. For the next few hundred miles, keep varying the speed, and, be sure to run it as hard and hot and high-rpm as you will ever run it. The rings will expand and carve out their channels in the cylinders that will last the life of the engine.
    If you exceed those limits later in the engine life, the rings will be too brittle, and instead of carving out a larger path, they will chip and flake and your engine will start burning oil.
    Since I was told this, I have had four new cars, and none has ever burned enough oil to top-off between changes, nor any (internal) engine problems.
  • joemaizejoemaize Posts: 1
    Why change oil if it burns/leaks 1-2 quarts a week? To get rid of the acids and other harmful chemicals that build up inside the crankcase.
  • aprilia1aprilia1 Posts: 1
    # 1 Don't let your wife drive it.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    Is it obvious to anyone else that this photo shows oil-level which is OVERFILLED above the safe area? This is a good way to blow a seal in the engine.

    The oil-level should be BETWEEN the upper and lower markings in the 'safe' area.
  • bpeeblesbpeebles Posts: 4,085
    Oh - and for the folks suggesting that oil must meet API specs (American Petroleum Institute) You are thinking about a single country too much.

    Asian vehicles often need JASO certification on their oil and European vehicles (like my Diesel volkswagen that gets 56 MPG) REQUIRES special oil that the API does not even recognize nor test for.
  • samwallacesamwallace Posts: 1
    Two words: synthetic oil
  • theshark1theshark1 Posts: 1
    I service my car when due approx every 5k. I change the coolant,brake p/s, every 30k. All my cars have over a 200k and run great. I do not rent a car to go on long trips I take my own vehicles because I know they are dependable. I see the listings of other people commenting on lack of service is better and I think they are fooling themselves and others. Cars and trucks are still a mechanical machine which require maintenance on a regular basis. Oil and lubes now days have improve tenfold within the last 10-15 years. Technology is here and I use that technology on my vehicles. It use to be call snake oil in the past and there are still some out there. But additives do work and porolong the life of engine and transmissions etc. Car dealers want vehicles to wear out to sell you another one, service depts want your vehicle to last as long as possible and safely without buying a new vehicle every 7-10 years. So you do homework and decide how you want to spend your money. If you like new cars every 3-5 years don't service them. If you want to save money keep what you have and maintain it! Its cheeper to keeper.
    Happy motoring!
  • dutchman61dutchman61 Posts: 0
    There is a lot of things associated with long life for a car, but the reality is there are two pieces of mechanical equipment that determine its life: the engine and transmission. Yet of all the things you can do, the oils are the one thing that really matter. When they are new, the components must wear it together to operate correctly. They used to call it the break in period. How a car is broken in is the single most important factor in determining it life. During this period (the first 1200 miles give or take) it is critical to properly warm up the engine and transmission, then operate it through its full range. Vary the speeds and do not stay at one level. Mix city with highway. Start fast and slow. At the end of the break in, the engine oil and the transmission oils should be changed. Why? Because during break in metal parts wear and you will find tiny microscopic fragments in the oils. Many will be filtered out, but not all and they will abrade the wear surfaces like miniture files. Bearings work based on a very thin film or layer of oil between the moving parts. Anything solid causes hard contact and wear. At initial cold start, you have metal to metal contact.

    The second most important factor is the quality of your fluids and regular replacement. If you have a sealed transmission that does not call for maintenance, contact the service representative of your dealer and ask them what the manufacturer tells them. For engine oil, the simple truth is you should always use better oil rather than the minimum standard. natural oil is a mixture of hundreds of carbon chains and the rating is an average. In recent years, the refineries have improved the formulas to limit the total number of elements and make them more consistent. The result is a better average to start with. All oils age with use causing the carbon chains to breakdown into smaller chains with less lube protection as well as accumulating dirt. This is where the synthetics step in. Mobil discovered they could create lube oil carbon chains 3 to 5 times as long as natural oil. The longer chains actually flow better at hot and cold temp so they protect the parts better. Their long life comes from the length of the chains. Like conventional oil, their chains breakdown with wear and age, but they break down into "normal" oil first.
  • tcarlostcarlos Posts: 2
    First, ignore most of the opinions posted in this comments section. You have no idea who we are, or what we know.Seek out a verifiably knowledgeable person on the automotive subject, and get their opinion.
    When you read opinions like the one here telling you that all oils are the same (or "good enough") if they carry the API symbol, you know you are being mislead.
  • warrior41882warrior41882 Posts: 1
    edited September 2016
    I agree with Tcarlos,
    Ignore almost 100% of what you are reading.
    First off......
    Synthetic oil.
    Synthetic oil is The same as conventional oil, The difference being added chemicals to the conventional oil. Nazi's developed it during WWII due to oil shortages.

    That's right, synthetic oil is no more than conventional oil with added chemicals.
    The synthetics run for longer periods between changes due to the added chemicals.
    So when you change your oil at factory service intervals and you are using synthetics you are wasting $$$.
    Go an extra 3-5 k when using synthetics. I go 10k on my 09 Dodge 1500.
    One great way of telling if an oil change is due is to pull out the dipstick, wipe the oil through your fingers and read what it is telling you. Is it still nice and clean looking? Moderate clean looking? Dirty as hell?
    If it falls under the 1sst two categories then keep on trucking. The last category then change it.
    Go by the owners manual for intervals not what Roy at quicky lube says. He doesn't have a clue, If he did he wouldn't be there making min wage would he?

    Could someone on here that says “You'll blow out the seals” please explain!!!
    If you don't know 100% for sure don't say you do. You look stupid to those of us that do know!!!!!!

    The engine and crankcase (where the oil is stored) is open to the atmosphere.... it is not a pressurized system. Oil pressure comes from
    1)The oil pump moving the oil, clearance between piston rod and main bearings create the pressure (resistance to the flow of oil [if the gap was 10 feet wide you would have zero pressure right? ]You still have what the oil pump is flowing just no pressure) There is ZERO pressure at the front and rear crank shaft seals, ZERO pressure at the cam shaft seals, Zero pressure at any seal.

    To the people that keep an extra quart. 6 instead of 5 capacity.
    Errr What are you thinking???? Do you really think the engineers that designed and tested your engine are stupid? Do you really think the engine is running out of oil as it operates? Perhaps if the oil seldom gets changed and the oil galleries are restricting the return flow of oil would this be wise. Gravity returns the oil to the oil pan.
    The only thing you could possibly accomplish is as the crank shaft rotate it is contacting the overfull oil in the oil pan. Such contact causes frothing, think mixer in the cooking bowl, whips it up. You do not want aerated oil. More harm than good.

    As for the other fluids,

    Coolant every 100,000 or 5 yrs.(looses lubricating and rust protection qualities, also has a build up of sediment)

    Brake fluid flush. Every other brake job or 60k. (absorbs moisture, Also the chemicals used to manufacturer the brake lines [inside the tubing] slowly erodes and is suspended in the fluid)
    This is a service you will feel after the very first brake application, if done correctly.

    Trans, I like to do every 60k using a flush machine and drop he pan to change he filter at 100k (Heat kills trans fluid) (Over a period of time operating trans fluid slowly looses it's lubricating properties, Also material from the clutch disc's [felts]inside the trans is suspended in the fluid and filter.)

    Transfer case (4x4 only), same as trans. Every 60k

    Front and rear differentials, Same as trans, every 60k or what the service manual indicates. Pay attention to the miles between changes intervals, some are more than others.

    Power Steering fluid, toss up here, if I am going to keep the vehicle until the wheels fall off then 30k if not then at 60k.

    Spark plugs, if they are not 100,000 mile plugs (Iridium, platinum tipped etc) every 30k.
    If they are 100,000 mile plugs then at 80k. Dodge 5.7 liter owners should never use platinum plugs. Resistance is too great and you'll kill your coils. (use the iridium instead)

    Here's why we change spark plugs regularly: The electrical current has to jump a preset gap in order to create a spark.
    As the plug wears that gap slowly expands. This makes it harder for the spark to be created because it now must jump further putting added work on the coils.
    The coils now must work harder and harder and after too many miles on the spark plugs you'll end up having to replace the coils and spark plugs. Change the plugs regularly and you will save big$$$ on not replacing coils. Coils are not cheap. No no no they are not.

    Fuel system........ Pay attention
    Some vehicles have a replaceable fuel filter. Replace it every 30k
    I have not seen a clogged fuel injector since December 1986.
    You DO NOT need a fuel injector flush/cleaning ever. The fuels we use in our cars now days are extremely clean ( it is the law)and burns super well. Not like it was in the 70-80s

    What you do need every 30k is a
    Fuel induction system cleaning service.
    This service cleans the Throttle Body (think carburetor) including the IAC motor (Idle air control motor) [it's a little plunger like devise that controls idle.] Cleans out the intake plenum of all deposit build up so the air flows to the engine properly.
    The Throttle Body mounts to intake plenum, as a unit they provide a path so the air gets to the pistons from the airfilter via that big black rubber hose where the airfilter is.
    This cleaning service also cleans the top of the piston and piston ring lands of deposits.
    Cleans the backside of the Valves and cleans the valve seats.
    This service if done properly is one you'll feel immediately after driving off the lot.


    Replace the air filter regularly.
    If the kid at “All we do is oil changes INC” says you do, just do it... What is the worst that can happen, You get a nice shinny new air filter.
    He's not trying to steal your $$ in fact he doesn't get your $$$ there is zero in it for him to replace your air filter, just extra work for him,
    Do this, “Put a wash cloth over your nose and mouth, now run a mile. Are you out of breath?

    Same with
    You need an alignment: Go look at your tires, are they wearing funny? If so you probably need more than an alignment, you need front end parts and then an alignment.
    Haggle alignment prices with them. It takes a whole 15 min to do an alignment.

    I have seen dealers now that put on sensors as soon as you drive in the write up area,
    This is CROOKED AS HELL.
    Leave and go somewhere else.
    They can not tell if you car needs an alignment by just sticking sensors on your car. They have to do other measurements (Using the proper equipment) before it is determined your alignment is out.
    What a scam.

    Rotate your tires every oil change Regardless. Every oil change. You'll be surprised at how many miles you can get of of a set of tires just by rotating.

    I like to keep my best tires on the front and rotate every oil change for best wear.
    Try to keep the tread wear even.

    How do I know all this???
    I am a ASE Master Automobile Technician. Have been for 30 years.
    The 5 years before I got master I had at least 1 ASE certification.
    I also have an FAA Airframe and Powerplant License.
    I know just a tad more than the guy that put a ¾ cam in his engine. I always ask that guy why he didn't put a whole cam in his engine, it would run better with a whole cam.

    Hit me up at [Email removed] for questions.
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