Category Archives: Fluids
Today in the Conder’s Automotive auto care blog, we’re going to talk to Mount Juliet car owners about oil change intervals. It seems that as engine technology advances, recommended oil change intervals have gotten longer for Conder’s Automotive customers. High quality oil in a well-engineered sedan engine has lead to extended intervals. But it’s also lead to some confusion among Mount Juliet auto owners.
The old mantra “change your oil every three months or three thousand miles, whichever comes first” once applied to every vehicle on Mount Juliet expressways. Time and miles take their toll on motor oil. But now, you could have a different oil change recommendation for every car or truck you own.
Mount Juliet car owners are like everybody else, they have a tendency to follow the oil change schedule of the vehicle with the longest interval. Of course, that can lead to problems. For example, recently four of the world’s largest manufacturers shortened the published intervals for several of their engine models. They originally published intervals that extended out to a much as 8,000 miles.
In real world Mount Juliet driving, the oil started to sludge up before the recommended change interval. Oil sludge is a thick jelly-like substance. Quite literally petroleum jelly – like Vaseline. This goop was clogging sedan small engine passages so the oil wouldn’t flow to some parts of the engine. This resulted in engine damage. We see it too often at Conder’s Automotive in Mount Juliet.
The auto manufacturers began to offer an extended warranty to cover sludge damage. But there was a catch: the vehicle owner had to follow a new, lower service interval, and provide proof of oil changes in order to make a warranty claim.
So here’s the bottom line for Mount Juliet auto owners: with longer oil change intervals, it’s essential to follow them closely. Back in the day of 3 months or 3,000 miles, if you went an extra month or an extra thousand miles, your oil was still fresh enough that it didn’t have time to build up much sludge.
But if your recommended interval is 6,500 miles and you go over another thousand, you’re getting into heavy sludge territory. You absolutely need to follow mileage intervals very closely. And don’t forget your severe service schedule. If you do a lot of stop and go driving in Tennessee, short trips, drive in dusty or polluted Mount Juliet conditions, hot or cold weather, or haul heavy loads, you’re driving in severe service conditions. Your Conder’s Automotive advisor can help you determine which schedule to follow.
So check your sedan owner’s manual or talk with your Conder’s Automotive service advisor about where and how you drive in Mount Juliet. Should you change your oil closer to the regular schedule, or the severe service schedule? You need to make the call.
Let me give you an example of this. Some newer sedans have an oil change indicator. It has a sophisticated computer algorithm that tracks number of cold starts, engine temperature, RPMs, mileage, and many more variables to come up with a recommendation for when to change the oil.
Depending on driving conditions, the indicator in one test vehicle came on at anywhere from 2,500 miles to almost 7,000 miles. It’s typically just over 4,000 miles. Clearer sometimes, we’re driving easy miles that are easy on the sedan – like a long road trip. Sometimes, we’re driving hard Tennessee miles – like towing a heavy trailer or a lot of around town driving. But, usually, it’s a combination of both.
Once again, it’s up to you to make the call as to when to change your oil at Conder’s Automotive to protect your sedan engine. Another place where Tennessee car owners can go wrong is with the type of oil they use. More and more new cars are coming to Mount Juliet owners filled with synthetic oil. Without going into a lot of detail right now, let’s just say that synthetic oil lasts longer and is very resistant to oil sludge.
But it also costs quite a bit more, so some Mount Juliet people are tempted to use conventional oil for their oil changes. Now, it’s always best to use the oil recommended by your auto maker. Check your owner’s manual see if a conventional oil alternative is allowed.
But getting back to the problem, if your sedan came from the factory with synthetic oil, the recommended oil change interval is for synthetic oil. If you use conventional oil, you can’t use the synthetic interval. You need to shorten it.
Mount Juliet auto owners’ current vehicles have over a century of engineering behind them. They have evolved into complex and powerful machines. Developments in their engines, however, have coincided with advances in many other vehicle components, including the fluids.
It’s vital for Mount Juliet motorists to always use the right type of fluid for their sedan. Your service advisor and your owner’s manual are resources for auto advice on exactly what types of fluid your vehicle needs. Improper fluids can damage your vehicle and void your warranty.
Some of the fluids that have changed significantly in recent years are cooling system fluid, brake fluid, transmission fluid and motor oil. Each of these comes in many varieties now, and it’s critical to know exactly which one your sedan needs.
Cooling systems were once made of iron, steel and rubber. One coolant could be used to protect all of these materials. But new cooling systems have components made from a variety of metal alloys and several kinds of plastic, and coolants now contain additives that protect these various materials from corrosion. Since the materials vary among manufacturers, they require different additives, which means there are now a number of coolants on the market. The type of coolant your sedan needs depends on the materials used in its cooling system.
Most vehicles used to require Dot 3 brake fluid. But now many vehicles need Dot 4 or Dot 5. Some Mount Juliet motorists mistakenly think the higher numbers reflect an increase in grade—that Dot 4 is somehow better than Dot 3. But the truth is, the numbers represent variations in formulation. The different formulas have evolved to meet the demands of newer and better brake systems. For a long time, transmission fluid came in two varieties: regular and friction-modified. But transmissions have come a long way recently, and so have the fluids that protect and lubricate them. There are several new types of fluid on the market, but your sedan is designed for just one of them.
Of all the automotive fluids, motor oils have experienced perhaps the greatest advances in engineering and technology. A number of new weights and formulations have recently been developed to meet the needs of modern engines, which have more parts and tighter tolerances than ever before. Engines have become more sophisticated and complicated, but they have also increased in power and fuel efficiency. Despite these changes, Mount Juliet auto owners still need them to be highly durable.
That’s the job of motor oil. Motor oil still has to perform its original, essential function—lubricating and protecting the engine. It is formulated to help clean the engine as well. Modern motor oil also has to be thin enough to penetrate small engine passages yet still be resistant to vaporization.
Specialized motor oils have also been developed for high-mileage vehicles. If your sedan has 75,000 miles or more on it, you might consider switching to one of these motor oils. They contain extra detergents that help clean older engines and critical additives that condition seals and gaskets that can become brittle with age. High-mileage motor oils come in weights and types just like regular motor oils, and Mount Juliet drivers should match the proper weight and type of high-mileage oil to their vehicle in the same way you would regular motor oil.
Over time, vehicles have developed in complexity and variety, and their fluids have developed as well. Each vehicle is matched to a set of fluids that meet its specific requirements. Tennessee vehicle owners should take care to learn their sedan’s fluid requirements before topping off at home. A large part of preventive maintenance for Mount Juliet car owners is making sure your vehicle’s fluids are clean and adequate, but they must be the proper type as well. As our sedans become more sophisticated, car care becomes more sophisticated as well.
Learning about proper fluids for your vehicle will help you maintain its performance and prolong its life. Talk to us at Conder’s Automotive in Mount Juliet.
The automotive professionals at Conder’s Automotive would like to give Mount Juliet car owners an update on some of the things happening in automotive fluids. You know, cars are becoming more sophisticated everyday – and fluids such as, oil, coolant and transmission fluid are becoming more specialized at about the same pace.
The Nashville do-it-yourselfer has to be pretty careful so that they do not actually harm their vehicle with the wrong type of fluid. That is why so many Tennessee car owners rely on the advice of their friendly Conder’s Automotive service advisor to not only get the correct family of fluids, but to suggest the formulation that is best for their car and their driving habits.
Let’s start with engine oil. Mount Juliet car owners who have been paying attention, will have noticed a number of new oil weights on the Tennessee scene in the last several years. Modern engines are built to much tighter tolerances and have very complicated valve trains. The oil must be thin enough to lubricate complicated parts when the engine is cold. The weight of an oil is expressed in terms like 20-W-50 or 5-W-30. The automakers recommend the weight of oil for each vehicle they make. The recommendation is based on engine design. Your Mount Juliet service center will know what weight your manufacturer recommends – and it’s important to follow those recommendations. Your service advisor at Conder’s Automotive can also offer suggestions for special formulations and can tell you all about conventional and synthetic oils.
Antifreeze, or engine coolant, is another area that has become more complicated. For a long time, manufacturers only recommended a couple of different types of coolant. Now, several different formulations are needed because of the high-tech materials that automakers are using to build the cooling system. Using the wrong type of coolant can actually void your warranty, so you want to get that right.
Transmission fluid is becoming specialized as well. New transmission designs have particular requirements that require specific formulations. Recently, new, somewhat confusing, standards for brake fluid have also been released.
Not too long ago, there was a good chance that all of the vehicles at your Mount Juliet house would use many of the same fluids. However, as automotive technology advances, the array of basic automotive fluids you need will grow. And, some of the formulations will cost a little more. Fortunately, Conder’s Automotive will continue to update their training to keep pace with technology so that you’ll get the right fluids your car needs. It’s all part of the commitment we make to your driving peace of mind.