To all those that replied about my oil change frequency article, this is not a new position for me because I have been saying this since the column first appeared in The Dollar Stretcher. Now, these are my own thoughts and feelings based on my knowledge of motor oils, engines, and consumer behavior. You are all welcome to follow this advice as you see fit.
One reader wrote about the waste of natural resources. As I see it, this is the only reason why one would not use my advice. Instead, you can use a fully synthetic oil after the engine has been broken in. Do not use fully synthetic oil in a brand new engine! The piston rings will not seat correctly and you will have an oil burning problem.
As for the consumer reports article, they left out a few important facts from that article. One, did you know that an average New York City taxi acquires 125,000 miles a year? A year! If that is not accelerated wear, then I do not know what is! Your engine's oil is it's life blood! Keep it clean and fresh, and you will have a trouble free ownership (at least concerning internal engine wear).
Another reader wrote about how US car manufactures must make their engines so poorly, citing a specific German manufacturer as being superior. Well, to that end, I was involved in a program concerning a specific German manufactured vehicle that had premature engine wear due specifically to the amount of sulfur found in American oil and gasoline (which is relatively low as compared to the global market). One particular vehicle that stands out tested fine, with no signs of trouble. When this vehicle was to be released back to its owner, it would not start. Immediately we thought the timing belt had broke or the fuel pump went out. Both checked out okay. We had the car shipped back to the manufacturer's American corporate headquarters where their engineers discovered premature cylinder wall failure! The amazing part of this particular car, is that all previous tests passed with flying colors!!! It was one of those "over night" type failures that resulted in the customer receiving a new engine. Luckily, this vehicle was brought in under a corporate program and failed in our care. For that reason, it was covered under warranty. If the owner of the vehicle had this happen on his own, he would have had to pay several thousand dollars. Essentially, it was a build up on the cylinder walls, that caused premature ring wear which lead to premature cylinder wall wear.
One reader wrote that people that read The Dollar Stretcher are also looking to save money. Well, sometimes in auto repair and maintenance, you simply can not do it cheap. Being in the business that I am in I see many things that deal with the reduction of air pollution specifically from automotive emissions. No, I am not a mechanic nor do I run a service center, I run a US EPA recognized emissions test lab. There are only about 25 of such labs in the entire country. Keeping your car running in top shape is of utmost importance. In addition, oil burning from your car is a prime source of air pollution. Every time I see a mid to late 80's dodge caravan (or one if its equivalents) blowing blue smoke, I just want to scream!
My ethics are in air quality and not how full someone's pockets may be. I apologize for being a bit harsh, but I feel strong about what I do. I was asked what my opinion is, and it was given. Not everyone's opinions agree all the time. My opinions are not just what manufactures or oil makers are trying to spoon feed us, but my own opinions based on my own knowledge and research.
Bob, The Auto Answer Man
If you have a question for Bob send it to: . He's able to answer many of them personally and we'll include the best questions in future issues of The Dollar Stretcher.
Sign up for our free weekly eNewsletter Surviving Tough Times.
Looking for an answer to a frugal living question? Click here to ask a
Dollar Stretcher Stretchpert!
Copyright 1996 - 2013 "The Dollar Stretcher, Inc." All rights reserved unless specifically noted.
Contact the Dollar Stretcher at:
PO Box 14160
Bradenton FL 34280
"The Dollar Stretcher, Inc." does not assume responsibility for advice given. All advice should be weighed against your own abilities and circumstances and applied accordingly. It is up to the reader to determine if advice is safe and suitable for their own situation.