Everything you need to know about maintaining your car — Ricks Free Auto Repair Advice Ricks Free Auto Repair Advice

*A cold start is any start where the engine hasn’t run for at least three hours.

So what exactly is the definition of severe service?

Shocks and struts provide more than a comfortable ride

Anti-wear additives are activated by the high heat caused when metal-to-metal contact occurs. The anti-wear additives “melt out of suspension” and react chemically with the metal surfaces to form a film that minimizes wear.  They also help protect the base oil from oxidation and the metal from damage by corrosive acids. Like most other additives, the anti-wear additives get used up the more you drive.

• Repeat driving in dusty conditions is severe service

There is no one-size-fits-all advice when it comes to oil change intervals. Oil change intervals are set by the carmaker, not self-proclaimed “Internet experts,” family “know-it-alls,” or even extended oil change intervals claimed by oil brands.  You can’t even trust the claims made by motor oil manufacturers unless you read the fine print. Don’t take oil change advice from self-proclaimed “experts” on the Internet or family “know-ot-alls.”

Many late model vehicles are equipped with oil life monitors. None of them actually test the condition of your oil. Instead, they use sophisticated algorithms that estimate oil life based on number of cold starts, engine load, idle time, engine temperature, RPM, and days since last oil change. However, the algorithms assume that you’ve used the recommended oil, check it monthly and top off when needed. If you’re not doing that, all bets are off on oil life monitor accuracy.

What you need to know about Spark plugs

transmission fluid manual

Anti-oxidants (oxidation inhibitors) are used to extend the operating life of motor oil. But they are sacrificial additives, i.e. they are consumed while performing their duty

Everything you ever wanted to know about Differential Fluid

Not checking things

Everything you need to know about tires

1) Driving on worn out coolant can cause heater core corrosion and failure in winter. Heater core replacement requires removing the entire dash at a cost of around $1,800. During the heater core replacement, the shop will still have to replace the coolant.
2) Driving on worn out coolant cause cause radiator corrosion, clogging and engine overheating. A new radiator costs around $600 and overheating can cause head gasket failure, costing almost $3,000.
3) Worn out coolant can also cause early water pump failure and corroded heater hose/tubing failure, costing at least $800 on most vehicles.

Everything you ever wanted to know about Brake fluid

Bumpy roads cause cause suspension components to cycle more often than when driving on smooth roads. That causes accelerated wear on suspension bushings, sway bar links, shocks, struts, ball joints and tie rods. Mud splash makes those parts wear out even faster. If you drive in these conditions, you’ll need more frequent inspections to catch the wear early and avoid accelerated tire wear or serious on-the-road failures.

Drive belts wear out and must be changed before they break

Trailing and hauling heavy loads or driving in mountainous areas puts added stress on motor oil, causing it to run at a higher temperature for longer periods. The high engine load shears the oil’s viscosity index improvers, causing the oil to thin, oxidize and degrade faster. Plus, high engine loads wears out the oil’s anti-wear additives faster.

Salt corrodes brake and fuel lines, suspension components, and critical frame/body components. Performing more frequent inspections and applying rust remediation products can prevent costly rust-related failures.

Everything you need to know about belts

Not changing your transmission fluid, CVT fluid, or differential fluid can cause complete transmission, CVT, or differential failure. A transmission rebuild costs around $4,600 and a differential replacement can cost upwards of $3,000, depending on the vehicle. In comparison, a transmission fluid change costs around $200. If the carmaker recommends a transmission fluid change every 30,000 miles, you’ll pay $1,400 over 200,000 miles versus $4,600 for a transmission rebuild and then fluid changes every 30,000 miles after the rebuild.

That’s what this article is all about; explaining what the carmakers’ car maintenance guide actually means for you the car owner.

Every carmaker has a slightly different definition of severe service, but it usually comes down to these  driving conditions:

Every carmaker has slightly different definition for severe service, but here’s typical description from Subaru.

clutch fluid

Not understanding the difference between normal wear and tear and an unexpected repair.

battery

The hydraulic power steering units used in older vehicles use several types of power steering fluid. Some use transmission fluid like Dexron III, or ATF+4 (for Chrysler vehicles). Still others use a special fluid you can only get from the dealer, like Honda power steering fluid.

©, 2023 Rick Muscoplat

Detergent Additives

SCAM ALERT: Many shops recommend a power steering fluid flush every 30,000 miles. There is no scientific basis for that recommendation! Not a single carmakers agrees with that recommendation. Do not fall for this! It’s an unnecessary service designed to flush your wallet, and it provides no benefit to your vehicle. Say no to this service and find a more reputable shop.

 

Everything you need to know about suspension and steering systems

drive belt

Why checking tire pressure monthly is so important

suspension

Coolant life is based on time and mileage. Continuing to drive on worn out coolant allows corrosion to set in and that corrosion can damage the heater core ($1,500 repair), radiator ($600 repair), and water pump ($750 repair), and even head gaskets ($3,5000 repair).

cooling system

 

• Driving/living in high humidity coastal or mountainous areas

There’s a direct relationship between tire wear and tire pressure. Under-inflation causes rapid wear on the inner and outer edges of the tire, while over-inflation causes rapid wear on the center tread. In addition to rapid wear, under/over inflation causes increased stopping distances and increases the likelihood of hydroplaning on wet surfaces.

 

Posted on by Rick Muscoplat


منبع: https://ricksfreeautorepairadvice.com/everything-you-need-to-know-about-maintaining-your-car/

Anti-oxidants

• Short trips of less than 5 miles in warm weather and less than 10 miles in cold weather
• Frequent idling for long periods of time, such as stop-and-go driving in heavy traffic. Urban commuters routinely experience this kind of driving twice a day.
• Sustained highway driving in hot weather, such as vacation travel.
• Towing a boat or trailer, carrying heavy objects on a rooftop rack.
• Driving in dusty conditions, such as dirt or gravel roads.
• Prolonged operation at sub-zero temperatures.
• Driving on steep hills or mountains on a regular basis

tires

Trailing and hauling heavy loads puts added stress on the engine, transmission, drive shafts, suspension components and wheel bearings, requiring more frequent inspections and service (fluid changes).

• Driving on bumpy muddy roads is severe service

To accomplish those four jobs, motor oil contains specific additives in addition to the base oil. For example, most motor oils contain around 75%-80% base oil and 20%-25% additives.

transmission cvt fluid

If you’re not checking oil level and topping off when needed, you can no longer trust the oil life monitor in your vehicle and you can no longer follow the carmaker’s recommended oil change interval.

Time between oil changes also affects oil life

Demulsifiers

Anti-foaming Additives

Motor oil can remain stable in the bottle for five or more years. But once it’s in your engine, the clock starts ticking. The additives degrade from exposure to air (oxygen), heat, friction, water, and acids. Once the degradation starts, it continues even when your engine is off. In other words, the additives are always working and they are used up in the process.

Viscosity Index Improvers

fuel filter

There’s a lot of misinformation online and in the media about oil changes. Most news articles say the 3,000 mile oil change is dead. That’s simply not true. Some late model vehicles DO require oil changes around 3,000 miles, even with synthetic oil. Yet other vehicles can as long as 10,000 miles between changes. Here’s why there can be such a huge difference in oil intervals with the same oil.

Oil change intervals are is based on the type of engine and how you drive

Some engines require more frequent oil changes simply because of their design

Dispersant Additives

The same applies to oil changes. All carmakers list a mileage and a time interval, whichever comes first. Read on to find out why time is so important when it comes to oil changes.

Everything you need to know about tires

Just like towing or hauling heavy loads, driving on steep hills or mountains puts added stress on the oil, causing oil shear and viscosity breakdown

Oil loss/oil burning between oil changes dramatically reduces remaining oil life

Anti-oxidants, rust and corrosion inhibitors, detergent, dispersant and demulsifier additives work 24/7 to protect your engine and they all degrade once they’re exposed to oxygen, heat, fuel, and water.

Everything you need to know about maintaining your car

All the services your car needs are listed in your owner’s maintenance guide. Unfortunately most car owners never read it.

This article explains why each service in the maintenance guide is important, and which “up-sell” services you should turn down cold.

Lets start with oil changes

What you need to know about oil change intervals

Yes, you read that correctly. Not performing the recommended serviceds

What’s the definition of short trip?

What happens if you don’t inspect/change shocks/struts?

All spark plugs wear out and must be replaced with the recommended type and at the recommended mileage. The spark plug change interval is listed in your maintenance checklist.

Rust and corrosion inhibiting additives work by neutralizing the acids that form in the crankcase and by providing a protective chemical barrier on metal surfaces to repel moisture. Once these additives are exhausted, corrosion sets in.

Rust and Corrosion Inhibitors

All blow-by gasses contain water (by-product of combustion) which winds up in crankcase oil. When oil and water mix, they form a thick emulsion that begins the process of sludge formation. A demulsifier additive prevents the formation emulsion by separating the water from the oil.

• Driving/living in high humidity coastal or mountainous areas

engine oil

All tires loose approximately 1-2-psi per month, so checking monthly and topping off will keep you at the correct pressure.

Brake components operate in a harsh environment, causing the sliding components to rust and seize. Once rust sets in, the brake pads and rotors wear out quickly. However, if caught early, the shop can remove the rust, lubricate the moving parts and prevent costly early wear. Skipping brake inspections and waiting until brakes make noise, usually results in brake repair bills in the $600- $1,000 range.

Engine coolant does more than keep your engine from freezing in the winter or overheating in the summer. Coolant contains anti-corrosion additives and pH balancing additives. They wear out over time and when they do, corrosion sets in. Coolant replacement costs about $225 every 100K miles

Detergents prevent deposits from forming on metal components and they neutralize acids that form in the oil.

Normal wear and tear

Everything you ever wanted to know about motor oil

• Repeat driving in dusty conditions is severe service

• Driving short distances in extremely cold weather is severe service

Most unexpected repairs are caused by owner’s not following the carmaker’s maintenance schedule.

The fuel and water mix in the oil to form Formic and Nitric acid which degrades the oil’s anti-corrosion, anti-oxidant, acid neutralizing, and dispersant/suspension additives. Over time, those short trips degrade your oil’s ability to keep your engine clean and corrosion free.

That’s why all carmakers recommend changing your oil based on mileage AND time. If your owner’s maintenance guide calls for oil changes every 6,000 miles OR six months, whichever comes first, change your oil at 6 months even if you haven’t driven 6,000 miles. Why? Because the additives have been working for 6 months and they’re most likely depleted.

• Short trips cause rapid oil degradation

Everything you ever wanted to know about Engine Coolant

However, VII molecules degrade when exposed to high loads in gears and bearings. The “squishing” forces in gears and bearings can permanently deform the molecule or cut into smaller pieces. At that point, the additive can no longer perform its intended function. So the oil becomes too thin at normal operating temperature, providing less protection against wear.

Anti-wear Additives

On the flip side, many late model vehicles use 6 or 9 speed automatic transmissions or Constantly Variable Transmissions (CVT). Those transmissions allow the engine to run at lower RPMS which puts less stress on the oil; extending oil life to as much as 10,000 miles.

Why your driving habits affects oil life

coolant

Brakes and traction control

Dispersant additives keep soot particles suspended in the oil so they can be captured by the oil filter and not settle out of suspension to form sludge deposits.

Your maintenance guide lists TWO service schedules for oil changes. when to change oilOne is for Normal Service and the other is for Severe Service. Most car owners living in an urban environment follow the Normal Service Schedule when they should be following the severe service schedule. They’re saving some money, but under-maintaining their vehicles.

What is the definition of severe service?

Everything you ever wanted to know about Power Steering Fluid

Short trips are much harder on your oil than longer commutes or highway drives. A cold engine* needs a richer air/fuel mixture to start. Some of that extra fuel winds up in the oil, along with water condensation (byproduct of combustion) and soot. When you drive a short distance after a cold start, your oil never gets hot enough to evaporate off the fuel and condensation, nor does it run long enough to filter out the soot generated during the cold start.

Bumpy roads cause cause suspension components to cycle more often than when driving on smooth roads. That causes accelerated wear on suspension bushings, sway bar links, shocks, struts, ball joints and tie rods. Mud splash makes those parts wear out even faster. If you drive in these conditions, you’ll need more frequent inspections to catch the wear early and avoid accelerated tire wear or serious on-the-road failures.

How long your trips last, and how you drive determines which schedule you must follow

In addition, some engines utilize low tension piston rings to reduce friction and improve MPG. Unfortunately, those energy saving piston rings also can allow more blow-by gasses into the crankcase and degrades the oil faster, requiring more frequent oil changes.

Many carmakers recommend routine brake fluid flushes due to moisture infiltration. Water in brake fluid decreases braking ability, and worn out anti-corrosion additives allow rust to form, which damages the system from the inside-out. In addition, the anti-corrosion and pH balancing additives in brake fluid wear out.  Brake fluid flushes cost less far less than the damage caused by corrosion.

However, running an engine when it’s one quart low can reduce the life of the remaining oil by at least 25%. So you could be driving on worn out oil long before your next oil change, and that causes accelerated engine wear.

Dusty conditions clog engine and cabin air filters faster, and can reduce engine and transmission cooling, requiring more frequent filter changes and radiator/cooler cleaning.

• Towing a trailer, hauling heavy loads, or using a roof rack

Friction modifiers help make engine oil more slippery to reduce friction and improve fuel economy.

High humidity causes brake and clutch fluids to adsorb more moisture, reducing its effectiveness. It also corrodes body, frame and suspension parts, requiring more frequent inspection and rust remediation. Driving in mountainous areas requires more frequent brake inspections to spot brake wear early.

FACT: Mose car owners follow the Normal Service Schedule schedule. But the way most urban car owners drive their car means they should be following the Severe Service schedule.

Follow the maintenance guide recommendation for coolant change intervals and get a full coolant flush, not a radiator drain and fill, when it’s due. Make sure the shop uses the carmaker’s recommended coolant and not a “universal coolant.” Shops use universal coolant so they don’t have to stock the coolant recommended by the carmaker. But universal coolants are not the same as the factory recommended coolants. Insist the proper coolant.

Trying to squeeze more miles out of old spark plugs is self-defeating. Worn spark plugs dramatically reduce your gas mileage, cause no-starts in cold weather, and can damage other expensive ignition components.

Motor oil has 4 jobs: Lubricate to prevent wear, cushion to prevent metal-to-metal contact, remove heat from high friction areas, and clean your engine.

Here’s why maintenance checklist guides list services and inspections based on time and mileage

• Driving in areas where road salt is used is severe service

cabin air filter

brake fluid

• Driving on steep hills or mountains on a regular basis

• Repeat short distance driving is severe service

air filter

Everything you need to know about suspension and steering systems

Motor oil is cooled by oil pan convection; air passing across the oil pan’s surface area. In sub-zero conditions, multi-viscosity oil can be cooled to the point where it is of less-than-optimal viscosity when it returns to the engine.

† The Auto Care Association is dedicated to helping every one of those vehicles last longer, perform better, and keep drivers safe. Our global member companies manufacture, distribute, and sell every single part and component, and perform service, maintenance, and repairs on every class of vehicle on the road.

Everything you need to know about brakes

Everything you need to know about fluid changes

Turbochargers run at speeds as high as 200,000 -RPM and they run very hot. Turbocharging packs more air and fuel into each cylinder to get more power out of a smaller engine. The extra heat causes oil to degrade faster and the high shear forces in turbocharged engines cause oil to lose its original viscosity. That’s why some turbocharged engines require more frequent oil changes than non-turbocharged engines.

spark plug

fuel delivery and air induction

• Repeat trailing towing or hauling heavy loads is severe service

You’ll find the factory recommended tire pressure on a label posted on the driver’s door pillar. Never inflate your tires to the maximum tire pressure listed on the tire sidewall.

Extended highway driving in hot weather exposes your oil to high heat, high rpms and long periods of oxygen exposure. The result? Viscosity breakdown, oxidation and additive depletion.

If your driving falls into the severe service category, but you follow the normal service schedule, you’re going to wind up with more breakdowns and you’ll shorten the life of your engine and transmission. Those are costly items to replace, so it actually pays to follow the correct service schedule

Like other motor oil additives, VII is sacrificial; it gets damaged while doing its job.

Salt corrodes brake and fuel lines, suspension components, and critical frame/body components. Performing more frequent inspections and applying rust remediation products can prevent costly rust-related failures.

A shock/strut’s main job is to dampen bounce when you hit a bump. So they keep your tires on the road. Worn shocks and struts allow tires to bounce and that reduces vehicle stability. In addition, worn shock/struts increase your stopping distance, wear out your tires and suspension components faster and gives you a less comfortable ride.

Struts typically last 80,000-120,000 miles depending on the road conditions in your area. In addition to causing an uncomfortable ride, worn struts/shocks causes your tires to wear out about twice as fast as normal and cause accelerated suspension component wear as well. So you’ll waste about $400 in lost tire wear, about $800 in suspension component wear, and you’ll still have to replace your struts/shocks. You obviously don’t save money by driving on worn struts/shocks.

All motor oil thins as it heats up. To reduce thinning, all motor oils contain Viscosity Index Improvers (VII) made from a “watch spring” type of polymer that “unwinds” as it heats up. So the VII takes up more space, reducing the oil’s tendency to thin. As the oil cools, the VII molecules “wind back up” to help the oil flow better. VII is what allows an oil to be have different viscosities at different temperatures, like 5W-30.

Everything you need to know about brakes

steering

• Driving in areas where road salt is used is severe service

It’s not just miles that count, time between service counts as well

Any time you take your car in for service, the service adviser is going to recommend additional services. That’s their job; to upsell you on services. Some are needed, but most are not. They’re considered “wallet flushing” services designed to clean out your wallet and generate more revenue for the shop. So the question is this: How can you properly maintain your car without getting suckered into these unnecessary services? Well, it’s all there in your car maintenance guide; if only it was written in owner friendly language.

Clutch/MT

disc brake system

• Prolonged operation at sub-zero temperatures

Mobil 1 Extended Performance Motor Oil promises 20,000 miles between oil changes. But did you read the * (fine print)? It’s 20,000 miles or 1 year, whichever comes first. And, if your vehicle is covered by a warranty; factory or extended warranty, you have to change your oil according to the carmaker’s recommended oil change schedule, which will be far more often than every 20,000 miles or 1 year. Plus, the 20,000 miles recommendation goes out the window if you drive in a way that would normally be considered severe service. Plus, you must routinely check your oil level and top off when needed

Here are the most common motor oil additives, what they do, and how they degrade

The engine’s positive crankcase ventilation (PCV) system purges blow-by from the engine, replacing it with clean air that’s been filtered by the engine air filter. However, extended operation in dusty conditions reduces air filter efficiency, allowing some dust and dirt to enter the crankcase and reduce the oil’s lubricating efficiency.

• Driving in dusty conditions, such as dirt or gravel roads

Replacing engine coolant on time is critical to the life of your cooling system

The fluids vary in their viscosity and additive packages. Most carmakers don’t list a change interval for power steering fluid because it’s considered a “lifetime” fluid. However, the additives do wear out, and the fluid picks up metallic debris as you rack up the miles. If you want to be proactive, it’s a good idea to perform a power steering fluid flush once every 100,000 miles.

EP additives chemically react with metal (iron) surfaces to form a sacrificial surface film that prevents metal parts from welding together during periods of metal-to-metal contact.

What happens if you don’t change your engine coolant?

Extreme Pressure (EP) Additives

As discussed above, oil change intervals are based on how you drive, how long the trips are and whether you’re hauling heavy loads. But oil change intervals are also based on the engine design. Some engines, by their very design, require more frequent oil changes. For example, some engines with turbochargers require more frequent oil changes due to the extreme heat generated by the turbo. Yet other engines with turbos can go longer between oil changes because they’re equipped with oil coolers.

tires

Tackifier Additives

 

Bottom line: consult your maintenance checklist and follow the proper service schedule.

It varies by carmaker, but generally speaking, it’s any trip that’s less than 5 miles (in Spring, Summer or Fall) or less than 10 miles in Winter conditions.

Everything you need to know about Spark plugs and ignition systems

Rotating engine parts whip air in the oil. Foamed oil can’t carry out its job of removing heat from high friction areas. So anti-foaming agents reduce oil’s surface tension causing the bubbles burst. Because anti-foaming agents reduce foaming, they also reduce oxidation that occurs when oil bubbles carries oxygen around the engine.

Friction Modifiers

It’s really simple; rubber drive belts wear out. Older neoprene belts cracked as they aged, so it was easy to do a visual check for wear. But newer belts are made with a different rubber that doesn’t crack. They must be checked with a wear gauge and replaced if they fail the test. Worn belts can cause squeal and screech noise as they slip. A worn belt can break unexpectedly, leaving you stranded

All carmakers list a mileage and time interval for oil changes. Why is time-in-service so important? Because the anti-corrosion, and pH balancing additives in fluids start to deteriorate once they’re put into service. Carmakers know how long these critical additives last, even if you haven’t racked up enough miles to justify changing the fluid. That’s why fluids must be changed on time or mileage, whichever comes first.

Using the wrong oil affects the accuracy of your oil life monitoring system

What you need to know about oil change intervals.

oil filter

High humidity causes brake and clutch fluids to adsorb more moisture, reducing its effectiveness. It also corrodes body, frame and suspension parts, requiring more frequent inspection and rust remediation. Driving in mountainous areas requires more frequent brake inspections to spot brake wear early.

Tires, brakes, struts/shocks, CV joints, steering parts, belts, battery, coolant, brake fluid/clutch fluid, transmission fluid, differential fluid.  Rusted brake lines, fuel lines.

All maintenance guides list time and mileage intervals for items that should be replaced and components that should be inspected. For example, an engine coolant change is often listed as 100,000 miles or 10-years, whichever comes first. Time is just as important as mileage. Why? Because the additives in fluids deteriorate over time and once they’re no longer effective, you wind up with corrosion and accelerated wear.

differential fluid

Brake inspections actually save money

• Sustained highway driving in hot weather degrades  your oil

by a significant amount.
2) Worn spark plugs cause no starts, especially in cold weather. So you’ll have to pay for a tow (average cost $200), a diagnostic charge ($150) AND the cost of new spark plugs.
3) Worse yet, driving on worn spark plugs can damage other expensive components like ignition coils or even an expensive ignition module or computer. So you’ll need a tow ($200), a diagnostic ($150) at least one ignition coil ($175) and possibly a computer or ignition module ($500-$1,200), AND, new spark plugs.

There are actually TWO service schedules in your owner’s maintenance guide. One is for Normal Service and the other if for Severe Service.

• Driving on bumpy muddy roads is severe service

Exposure to oxygen causes the base oil to break down and form acids and sludge in your engine. Oxidation happens at all temperatures, but accelerates at when your engine is fully warmed up. Oxidation also increases in the presence of  water, wear metals and combustion byproducts present in blow-by gasses (air, fuel, and exhaust that seeps past the piston rings and into the crankcase).

Other engines are designed to generate high torque without the need for a turbocharger. But high torque also causes oil shear, which reduces oil life.

All engines burn some amount of oil. Your owner’s manual recommends checking your oil level at least once a month and topping off when needed. Unfortunately, few drivers ever check their oil between oil changes

It you drive short distance on a regular basis, especially in stop and go traffic you need to change your oil according to the severe service schedule. Why? Because short trips are much harder on your oil than long commutes or extended highway drives. Short trips never lets your engine get up to full operating temperature, so the oil never gets hot enough to evaporate off the contaminates generated during a cold start. Those contaminates can turn your oil into sludge and acids and degrade your oil’s anti-corrosion additives much faster.

Outdoor temperature changes affect tire pressure. Tire pressure changed 1-psi for every 10°F change in ambient temperature. If you fill your tires to the recommended pressure when it’s 20°F in March, they’ll be overinflated by 6-psi. when it hit 80°F in late April.

Wheel bearing

Dusty conditions clog engine and cabin air filters faster, and can reduce engine and transmission cooling, requiring more frequent filter changes and radiator/cooler cleaning.

Brake fluid must be changed because it accumulates moisture

Next, understand the importance of each of the inspect and replace services.

Starting a cold engine requires more fuel and some of that extra fuel, along with other combustion byproducts (water and soot) get pushed past the piston rings and into the crankcase. If you take a short trip after a cold start, you’ll never evaporate off those liquids or filter out the soot generated during the cold start. The result? Acid and sludge deposits and  accelerated internal corrosion. That’s why most carmakers recommend more frequent oil changes if you take short trips in cold weather.

What happens if you don’t change your transmission fluid or differential oil?

 

Tackifier additives prevent the oil from flinging off of the metal surfaces they’re supposed to protect.