Thursday, February 28, 2008

Mr. T predicts pain…If you skip that oil change.

I pity the fool that does not maintain his or her vehicle. Not changing your oil and filter will beat up your car’s motor as quickly as I beat up that chump, Rocky Balboa, in our first fight.

I have learned a lot after being the boxing heavy weight champion of the world and my five tours of duty with the A-team. Heck, they even made toys in my image and a breakfast cereal.

So listen UP!! I am giving you sound advice when I tell you that a vehicle is nothing more than a mechanical object that will fall apart if simple maintenance guide lines are not followed.

The motor oil in your car is the life blood of the engine, just like our blood is to us. A thin film of oil keeps metal parts from rubbing together and getting damaged. Heck, if while driving your car, it ran out of oil or lost oil pressure, the motor would be severely damaged in just a few minutes.

The first thing you should do is plan what mileage and time intervals your vehicle’s oil and filter should be changed. Most people are not aware that the stop and start driving they do while sitting on that giant parking lot known as the 101 and 405 freeways, or the short distance driving to pick up and drop off the kids at school is considered severe duty driving by the vehicle manufacturer. This severe driving can cause the motor oil to break down, sludging the inside of the motor with black tarry goop. I personally have my vehicle’s oil and filter changed every 5,000 miles, or six months, whichever comes first.

The next step of the plan is to decide which type of oil and filter I want to use on my ride. The best oil filter is the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) but there are other high quality brands. Avoid the cheapy ones. They can internally come apart or leak. I also have my auto mechanic install a new gasket on the drain plug, so there will not be any of those pesky little oil drops that can mess up my driveway. I make sure that I only use the weight of oil (viscosity) that the motor was designed for. If the wrong weight oil is used it can cause poor fuel mileage or turn on the check-engine light. If I want to pamper my car, I’ll spring for the best oil, which is synthetic. It offers superior protection over conventional motor oil, but the intervals for changing it are the same.

The last part of the plan is to have a competent automotive shop do the oil change. They have vehicle hoists that lift your car up, so the mechanic can perform at least a 25 point inspection, where brakes and tires are inspected and vital fluids are checked and topped up if needed.
Even though I do not advise it, if you have a hankering to change your own oil and filter, make sure you take the old oil and filter to a collection center. It is hazardous waste and can damage our beautiful environment.

“I love it when a plan comes together.”

My mama taught me not to be a fool by neglecting to get my oil and filter changed. You can bet that when I pick my Mom up, my car will not be breaking down with her in it. “That’s treating her right.”
(Check out my song, “Treat your mother right” on You-Tube.)

If you hear noises that nobody else hears, you might be stuck in an alternate dimension known as the Taillight Zone. Next week we will help you escape the Zone.

I hope this article helps you. I am Ken Levine, the owner of Ken’s Quality Auto Repair in Thousand Oaks, where we specialize in Lexus and Toyota vehicles. If you have any car questions, please e-mail me at kq@verizon.net, visit http://www.kensqualityauto.com/ or call 805-494-4344

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