Blog

 

Oil Consumption

Posted on 04/24/2018

Question: How often should you check the oil level in your car?

Every 1,000 miles of driving; the newer the car and the lower the mileage. This seems to be the forgotten “check list” item.

Question: How often do you check the oil level in your car?

From what we can tell…rarely! Our shop is seeing more cars come in with no visible oil on the dipstick. Granted, the majority of the cars have 75,000 miles or more. Remember, that many cars with smaller engines also have less oil capacity (four quarts or less) to lubricate the moving parts.

When technology builds in lights, bells and whistles to replace opening the hood and pulling a dipstick or visually inspecting the under-hood fluid, I get concerned. The warning systems are great backups but should not replace physically inspecting items.

The reason for the oil consumption concern is due to low tension piston rings, used to get better miles per gallon. This causes engines to run hotter than ever to achieve better MPG. Today, lighter oils (0w20 and 5w20) are also used for, you guessed it, better MPG, with 0w16 in the new models coming into production.

The latest change is GDI (gasoline direct injection), which is a completely different way for the fuel injector to deliver the fuel into the engine. Yep, this is for MPG also. Combine all these changes and add the extended oil change interval, and you get major oil consumption.

The car mentioned above, with no oil on the dipstick, also did not have a warning light on to let the driver know what was going on. That tells us the light comes on when the car is beyond critical for the oil level and is doing internal engine damage.

The old adage that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, in car terms, means servicing your car more, and often equals 200, 300, or even 400,000 miles of driving. We have many customers that have continued success because they adhere to regular servicing of their car!

We have a new service that is helping cars with oil consumption issues. It cleans the piston rings and keeps the car running longer.

Drips and Puddles

Posted on 04/17/2018

Those annoying under the car drips can leave your driveway and garage floor a mess…in fact everywhere you park becomes a victim to this mess.  They are also a sign that something is wrong and needs to be taken care of. The only drip you don’t need to be concerned with is the condensation from your air conditioner.  Everything else is a signal that there is a problem. The small drips are giving you fair warning that if ignored, serious problems are in your future. Here are a few examples:

  • A reddish brown drip may mean one of three things; leaking transmission, over tightened pan gasket or a leaking front seal.
  • A green or orange-red drip suggests a cooling system problem such as leaking hose or radiator.
  • A brown to brownish-black drip that is thick in consistency is more than likely engine oil.  This is not a huge problem if it is slight but when it grows to puddle size it is a sign of something serious and if not kept under control could mean severe engine trouble. 
  • A leak that looks like tea and feels oily is brake fluid.  This type of drip or leak is always serious!

If you notice a puddle three inches or larger under your car don’t ignore it.  Get it to the professionals as soon as possible. A puddle between one and two inches isn’t as serious…yet...unless it is brake fluid.  Don’t put off having it looked at too long though…it could become a much more serious problem. 

It is a good practice not to ignore drips because if left unchecked those drips will turn into puddles that get bigger and bigger until you no longer have a small problem, you have a major problem.  Make an appointment with us today, and your car’s health care professional at Fairway Auto Repair will stop the drips.  Remember, minor problems come with minor price tags…major problems come with major price tags…maybe even the cost of a new engine!

Prevention is always the best medicine for your vehicle.

 

Gasoline

Posted on 04/11/2018

Gasoline has been around for decades and the changes to the formulation have been incredible.

The basic refined crude is mostly the same. What makes each brand unique is the additives and detergents package mixed in. Regular fuel has less additives than the premium blend.

One of the biggest changes to gasoline is the introduction of ethanol. Ethanol has brought us lower emissions and a little better MPG, but it also has caused some new drivability issues. Most fuels started with a small amount of ethanol; now the base amount is 10%. As we randomly test fuel from the tanks we see as much as 30% ethanol.

What that means is the ethanol and the detergents added do not work together! Ethanol washes the detergent away that is supposed to help stop carbon build up inside the engine. Type “engine carbon” into a browser and there are many articles to scan. The tough part for you, the driver, is you don’t know it’s happening until it gets bad.

Here are the symptoms of carbon build up:

  • Drivability issues; engine not running smoothly or stalling
  • Engine vibration or shaking
  • Car jerking or surging at stops
  • Check engine light may be on
  • Cold start misfires

The cure is to be proactive by cleaning the fuel injectors and air intake system every 15,000 miles. For most drivers that is once a year. This is great insurance to protect the investment you drive. Previous year cars did not have the carbon concern, so this will be something to be educated on. If ignored the cost to dis-assemble the engine to clean out the carbon is not pretty.

Cars, year 2000 and newer, have a different type of fuel system than previous years and 2010 and newer have gasoline direct injection (GDI) that is even more susceptible to carbon build up.

The Check Engine Light

Posted on 04/03/2018

Your car has many computers that monitors your engine for the best performance; your transmission for proper shifting, your braking system for safe stopping, and they also monitor many other devices to make sure they are working properly. If a system detects a problem, it needs to alert you, so you can bring your car in to Fairway Auto Repair for service. This is the role of the check engine light.

The check engine light looks different from car to car, but it's always a yellow or orange color, usually with a picture of an engine. If the check engine light comes on solid (not blinking), you can continue to drive the car until you have a chance to bring it in. This does not mean you should ignore it.

When the check engine light is on, the car defaults to a backup system that controls all the important systems. Driving around for a short time until you can set up an appointment is no problem, but continuing to drive more than 20 miles is a bad idea.  However, if the check engine light is blinking rhythmically, there is a serious problem; a computer system has had a major malfunction that will damage the catalytic converter. If you notice a blinking check engine light, you do not need to stop in the middle of the bridge and call a tow truck, but you do need to stop driving as soon as practical. Whether the check engine light is solid or blinking, it's a good idea to drive gently.

The modern car is more complex than ever, the old plug in a code reader to get a code doesn’t give as much information as it did in older makes. I recommend a full system health scan to check all the computer and modules in the system.

The technicians at Fairway Auto Repair are well trained.  Our mission is to keep Phoenix drivers safe on our roads! 

 

 

Next >Last >>

Automotive images: Powered by izmocars © Homestar Systems, Inc., 2012

Automotive Images, Copyright [2000 – 2012] Homestar Systems, Inc. All Rights Reserved. The automotive images contained herein are owned by Homestar Systems, Inc. and are protected under United States and international copyright law. Access to and use of these images is restricted by terms and conditions of a separate license agreement. Any unauthorized use, reproduction, distribution, recording or modification of these images is strictly prohibited.

2739 W Medlock Dr. Phoenix, AZ 85017 (602) 242-1545