Tune Ups & Oil Warning Lights

courtesy of Bob, The Auto Answer Man

Dear Bob,
I changed the distributor cap and rotor for my Ford Tempo and I think I got the wire order mixed up. The car would not start, how do I find out which wire goes to which post? Could I mess up anything else with this simple procedure.

Dear Charlie,
You can find the correct firing order in any repair manual. Just go to your local library, and find a repair manual for your car. Also check to make sure the rotor (did you change this as well) is not 180 degrees out of phase (backwards).

Hey Bob,
I have a 1987 Volvo 240 DL and lately the oil light stays on for a few seconds when I first start the car. The "quick Lube" mechanic says it is okay and my oil pump is just getting old ...I don't know, should I be concerned about this light ? Also the car sometimes stalls when I first put it in gear, could this be related ? This has been a good car for 10 years and I would like to keep it alot longer. Thanks for your help.

The reason that the oil light is on when the car is first started is that the oil pressure has not yet built up. The worst thing to do to your car is start it in the morning! The reason is that overnight, all of the oil that was is the upper part of the engine has drained to the bottom and leaves the top all dry. This cold/dry start is what causes the most wear. Now, it might be true that your oil pump is getting a little "tired", but you should have seen this light come on since the car was new. When you turn the key on, not start it, but just on, the light should come on. This is because it sees a low pressure. Every car that I have ever seen does this. Now the thing is, how long does it take for the pressure to come up? More than just a few seconds is bad. To compensate for this, you might want to consider changing your oil more frequently (keeping fresh oil will allow it to pump up faster) or switch to a lower viscosity oil (if using 10w30, switch to 5w30). There are also some new synthetics out on the market. Castrol makes one that I am very IMPRESSED with. It will mix readily with conventional oils, unlike other true full synths. Also this oil has an additive in it that helps the oil (or maybe just the additive, I don't know) stick to the in linings on the engine to combat this dry start situation. This additive is not a Teflon or any other semi-solid like that, but a specially designed molecule. Castrol calls this creation, Syntec. I have also seen other commercials advertising oils that are weighted at 0w40. very interesting. No cold thickening and plenty of hot lubrication. I do not know if this oil will readily mix with conventional oils. I was always a firm believer that cars should have an electric oil pump in them. Then you start the car like you would a diesel. Turn the key, wait a few seconds for the oil to pump up, then start. This would save a lot of money over the long run, but would probably put a lot of people out of work. Sorry, but I like my car to last. As far as your stalling problem, when was the last time you had a tune up? It sounds like you might be due. Also, try letting it warm up a little more before you leave in the morning.
Good Luck!
Drive Safely!
Bob, The Auto Answer Man

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