Oil Filter Warning

The oil filter is one of the most important parts of the engine, as it filters out any contaminates created by normal wear and the engine’s heat. When your car has the oil changed, most likely the oil filter is also changed – at least I hope so.

Oil Filter Warning

Years ago, we all knew that the oil and filter were changed at 3,000 miles; that was just the way it was. Enter the new age of cars, oils, and filters, especially synthetic oils which last much longer, as stated in some of my previous articles. Many oil changes can last 5,000 to 10,000 miles depending on the type of car, type of oil, and how many quarts of oil are in the oil pan.

Back in the day when we recommended the 3,000-mile service, any oil filter would easily protect the engine for that mileage, but not many oil filters would protect your car for more than 5,000 miles. If you are driving longer than 5,000 miles between oil changes and using a low-cost oil change shop, you may be damaging the engine and not even know it.

Why Does It Matter?

Let me explain. Oil filters all look the same on the outside but are very different on the inside. The difference lies in the amount of filtering material used and the type of drain-back valve used inside each filter. Less expensive filters, as you would suspect, have less filtering material and a less reliable drain back valve.

This may seem insignificant, but the results can be catastrophic. When you drive longer than 5,000 miles on one of the low-cost filters, the filter starts to lose the ability to keep the contaminates contained and they slip into the engine bearings, causing premature wear. The eventual outcome is engine failure. It does not pay to have an inexpensive oil change and an inexpensive oil filter put in your newer model car.

Currently, there is not a standard or law that says what part, or quality of part, needs to be put in your car. If you have an engine failure that should be covered by a warranty, and you have been using cheap oil/filter, this is not only scary for you, the consumer, but it could get downright ugly as the manufacturer may deny the claim. Ultimately, you should be aware of what is going on with the car and use a service center you trust.

A cheap oil change may save you money short term, but it won’t save you money in the long run.

Certified Auto Specialists: the friendlier and more helpful auto shop! Feel free to call 626-963-0814 with any questions and we will be glad to help!

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Oil Changes and Fuel Economy

When talk turns to fuel economy, oil changes aren’t typically the first thing mentioned. But that is starting to change.

Manufacturers now require increasingly lighter weight engine oil in vehicles. For example, they are replacing 5w30 and 5w20 with 0w16—an oil so thin and lightweight that it feels like you are pouring water into the engine!

This is just one of the changes driven by the corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards, which are set by the state and require all carmakers to average 54.5 MPG by 2025.

Oil Changes And Fuel Economy

For years, old school mechanics used 20w50 oil for their cars. It is high-viscosity, providing an ample cushion against metal-to-metal contact. It also acts as a more effective sealant than thinner oils. Today, though, two of the most popular oils are 5w20 and 0w30. The difference between them is apparent—the lighter weight engine oils look and feel like you are giving your engine a long, tall drink of water, while the heavier weight oils have the same consistency as the syrup you pour on your pancakes.

The reason this affects gas mileage is pretty simple. Though thicker oil protects, it also creates resistance inside the engine, slowing down moving parts and lowering your miles per gallon.

Switching to Thicker Oil

Customers sometimes ask if they can install 5w30 oil in a car requiring 5w20 to increase protection. Using a slightly thicker oil will not hurt internal engine components, but it might lower fuel mileage. Be very careful, though! Thicker is not always better, especially when it comes to engine oil. Using heavy oil, such as 20w50, in a modern vehicle will cause issues. We strongly recommend giving us a call before switching motor oils!

What are some other solutions manufacturers are coming up with to meet CAFE standards?

  • Lighter materials throughout the vehicle
  • Turbochargers
  • Gasoline direct-injection
  • Hybrid systems
  • Smaller engine sizes
  • 10-speed transmissions
  • Synthetic oils in transmissions

With all of these changes increasing the complexity of your vehicle, preventive maintenance from highly-trained professionals is more critical than ever. For hometown service you can count on, call the friendly, helpful experts at Certified Auto Specialists at 626-541-2149 or contact us online today!

Oil Consumption

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.

Why Does It Matter?

Oil Consumption | Certified Automotive

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.

Certified Auto Specialists wants to be your GO-TO place! Feel free to call 626-963-0814 with any questions and we will be glad to help.

Hometown Service You Can Count On!

What You Need to Know About Oil Changes

Are you feeling confused about motor oil? Wondering when it’s the right time to change it? How often? What’s the best kind of oil? Here are some answers to the questions you might be asking:

When Should I Change My Oil?

Oil Changes | Auto Repair Service

First off, check your owner’s manual. The answer is in black and white, easy-peasy. Don’t make assumptions based on past experience or the standard 3,000-miles/3 months mantra that’s been chanted for decades. It’s different for each vehicle. Many cars, pickups, and SUVs now have service reminder that monitor and alert drivers when they need to change their oil. These systems can not only monitor miles but also analyze how hard a vehicle is being driven. Make sure you pay attention to these alerts!

How Often Should I Check the Oil Level?

You should keep an eye on your car’s oil levels—even newer cars can need their oil to be topped off between changes. We suggest checking your oil level at least once a month. Some newer cars have electronic oil monitors and don’t have traditional dipsticks. If you have a dipstick and are checking the oil yourself, make sure the car is parked on level ground. Also, be careful of hotspots under the hood if the engine has been running. Remove the dipstick, wipe off the oil, reinsert it and remove it again. The oil level is fine as long as the level is between MIN/MAX, L/H, or two pinholes on the dipstick. 

How Often Should I Change the Oil?

Many automakers now have oil change intervals at 7,500-miles/6 months or even 10,000-miles/12 months. Of the car owners that pay careful attention to these specifications, most focus on mileage instead of time duration. But, if you drive less than average, be sure to follow the recommended time limits to keep your oil fresh. This is because, as oil ages, it becomes less effective. By not getting the engine warm enough, moisture that forms inside the engine is not removed. This leads to shorter engine life.

What Is the Right Oil for My Car?

Again, check your manual. It will tell you the correct weight and whether you should use synthetic or not. Synthetic oil is designed to be more effective and resists breakdown. It lasts longer and withstands higher temperatures. This is especially helpful if you take shorter trips when standard oil doesn’t get warm enough to burn off moisture and impurities. Synthetic oil is also effective for extreme heat or cold, and towing or hauling heavy material.

We all need a change from time to time! Your engine will last a long time if you treat it right. You can keep track of intervals yourself, or leave it up to us. We’ve been honored as the absolute best auto repair shop in America and always provide you with ethical and competent auto care.

5 Things to Know About Oil Changes for Your Car

Understand when and how often to change it, what type your car needs, and more.

1. When to Change the Oil

The answer to a lot of these questions is the same: Check your owner’s manual. It should be your car maintenance and operation bible. Don’t make assumptions on the interval based on past experiences or guidance from mechanics who profit from the work, because the timing has evolved over the years.

Many cars, pickups, and SUVs now have service reminder monitors that alert drivers when to change their oil. “These systems typically monitor the number of miles a vehicle has traveled, and they also sense how hard the car is being driven, and adjust accordingly,” Ibbotson says.

Make sure you get your oil change soon after you receive such an alert.

2. How Often to Check the Oil Level

You should keep an eye on your car’s oil levels. Our reliability survey results have shown that even newer cars can need the oil to be topped off between changes.

CR recommends checking your oil level at least once a month. Be sure to get repairs done at the first sign of a leak. 

Check the owner’s manual and follow the automaker’s recommendations. Some newer cars have electronic oil monitors and don’t have traditional dipsticks for manual inspection.

If you do have a dipstick, and you’re checking it yourself, make sure the car is parked on level ground. If the engine has been running, be aware of potential hot spots under the hood.

With the engine off, open the car’s hood and find the dipstick. Pull the dipstick out from the engine and wipe any oil off from its end. Then insert the dipstick back into its tube and push it all the way back in.

Pull it back out, and this time quickly look at both sides of the dipstick to see where the oil is on the end. Every dipstick has some way of indicating the proper oil level, whether it be two pinholes, the letters L and H (low and high), the words MIN and MAX, or simply an area of crosshatching. If the top of the oil “streak” is between the two marks or within the crosshatched area, the level is fine.

But if the oil is below the minimum mark, you need to add oil.

Pay close attention to the oil’s color. It should appear brown or black. But if it has a light, milky appearance, this could mean coolant is leaking into the engine. Look closely for any metal particles, too, because this could mean there is internal engine damage. If you see either of these conditions, get the car to a mechanic for further diagnosis.

If everything is okay, wipe off the dipstick again and insert it back into its tube, making sure it’s fully seated. Close the hood and you’re done.

How often do you check your oil?

Proper oil levels keep your engine functioning well. Tell us about your oil maintenance habits, and join the CR Auto Experts to learn how to tend to the lifeblood of your engine.

3. How Often to Change the Oil

Oil Changes For Your Car

Some swear by the “every 3,000 miles or every 3 months” rule, but advances in engines and oil have made that guidance obsolete. Many automakers have oil-change intervals at 7,500 or even 10,000 miles and 6 or 12 months for time.

“Your owner’s manual has more detailed information about your car than any mechanic does,” Ibbotson says. “Don’t get talked into too-often oil changes. Follow the manual and your car’s engine should stay well-lubricated and perform well.”

Over the course of two years and 30,000 miles, assuming that your oil change costs $40 a pop, you could save $240 if you get it changed every 7,500 miles vs. every 3,000 miles.

It’s not just about miles: If you don’t drive your car a lot, your oil still needs to be kept fresh. Even if you drive fewer miles each year than your automaker suggests changing the oil (say, 6,000 miles, with suggested oil-change intervals at 7,500 miles), you should still be getting that oil changed twice a year.

Why? Oil becomes less effective as it ages, and by not getting the engine warm enough, excess moisture that forms in the engine will not be removed, which can lead to shorter engine life.

4. Choosing the Right Oil for Your Car

5 Things To Know About

Again, take a look at your owner’s manual. “Don’t be upsold into synthetic oil if there is no need,” Ibbotson says.

In many newer models, the weight of your car’s motor oil is printed on the cap where you add oil. “Make sure you know what’s recommended or required by your automaker before you visit your mechanic so that you can control the cost of the oil they’re putting in,” he says.

If you have a much older car, do you need special motor oil?

“Not if it’s running well,” Ibbotson says. “If you’re not sure what oil you should be using because you don’t have an owner’s manual, check with your local dealer or an online enthusiast group for your particular model,” he says.

5. Do You Need Synthetic Oil?

“Only if your manufacturer calls for it,” Ibbotson says, “because it can cost from two to four times as much as conventional oil.”

Synthetic oil is designed to be more effective at resisting breakdown (and because of that, it lasts longer) and withstanding high temperatures.

There are situations where that resistance to breakdown can help prolong the life of your engine.

“If you make lots of short trips, standard motor oil may never get warm enough to burn off moisture and impurities, which means it may not be doing enough to protect your engine,” Ibbotson says.

Another consideration is your lifestyle. “If you live in a region with very cold winters or very hot summers, or if you use your vehicle for towing or hauling heavy material, synthetic oil is your best bet,” he says. “While synthetic generally holds up better and can serve for more miles, it is equally important to not extend oil changes beyond the time interval recommended by the manufacturer—typically six months or a year if it is a motor that is not driven many miles or on many short trips.”

Synthetic oil can also help engines that are prone to building up sludge; some Volkswagen and Toyota models have had sludge issues in the past. This residue, formed when oil breaks down, can block the flow of oil, leading to the quick death of an engine. Synthetic oil would be beneficial in these engines because it helps to reduce sludge buildup, helping to extend the engine’s lifespan.

What is the Actual Cost of an Oil Change These Days?

oil change

Oil changes are never “one type fits all cars” and the cost is never the cost advertised. How many times do you see an advertisement for an oil change?

  • $29 for conventional oil
  • $44.00 for semi-synthetic or synthetic blend (same oil)
  • $59.00 for full synthetic oil

Pretty straight forward, right? When was the last time you paid the price advertised? I would venture to say never. Here are the additional items that you will be charged:

  • Over 5 quarts ($6 to $12 per quart additional)
  • Specialty oil for many cars (especially European makes)
  • High mileage oils
  • Canister oil filters ($10 additional)
  • Hazard fee ($2- $4 additional)
  • Sales tax ($2 to $5 additional)

Always ask what the cost will be including all fees and taxes before you visit!  NEVER, EVER use oil in your car that is not recommended for it.

Do your best to be knowledgeable about what oil is recommended for your vehicle. Be informed by checking your owner’s manual; go online or open the hood and look at the oil fill cap. Feed it the fluids it needs, just as you feed your body the nutrition it needs to live a longer, heathier life.

Here is what I have observed as a professional automotive shop owner for 41 years; folks that have a local shop take care of them, will have cars that easily have 150,000 to 300,000 miles on them, because all the correct oils and fluids are being used. Folks that bounce around from shop to shop in order to get the cheapest oil change and do not use the recommended oil and fluids for their car, usually have cars that won’t make the 100,000-mile mark without major repairs.

An oil change is starting to become part of a mileage service, but again check your manual or better yet find one of the many automotive service professionals out there and get to know them, trust them and enjoy a long-lasting car.

An Oil Change and Fuel Economy

Oil Change

Usually, when we talk about fuel economy, an oil change isn’t at the top of the list of discussion. The manufacturers are requiring lighter and lighter weight engine oil in all vehicles. 5w30 and 5w20 are being replaced with 0w16. I can hardly believe it, as 0w16 is like pouring water, it’s so thin.

The reason for the light weight oil is to give better fuel economy to satisfy the CAFÉ (corporate average fuel economy) standards. This standard is set by our state and requires all car manufacturers to average 54.5 MPG by the year 2025. Don’t think for a minute that the changes are going to slow down anytime soon.

Believe it or not an oil change can and will affect your miles per gallon and here is why. Us old guys always grabbed the 20w50 oil for our cars and today two of the most popular oils is 5w20 and 0w30. The comparison would be 20w50 oil will pour like molasses, while 0w20 will pour like water. Thicker oil creates resistance inside the engine, slowing down moving parts and lowering your miles per gallon. A hybrid or very high mile per gallon car can lower mileage by 1 to 2 miles per gallon. We have observed this from some testing that we have done.

Is installing 5w30 oil in a car requiring 5w20 a concern? Yes and no. Yes, because it will affect fuel mileage, sometimes it is noticeable, sometimes not. And no, because using a slightly thicker oil will not hurt the internal engine components at all. Warning!! Thicker is not better, so please don’t use a very thick oil like a 20w50 in a modern car as that will cause issues.

Other ways car makers are working to meet the CAFÉ standards are:

  • Using lighter materials
  • Turbo chargers
  • Gasoline direct injection
  • Hybrids
  • Smaller engine size
  • 10 speed transmissions
  • Synthetic oils in transmissions

With all these changes happening today, preventive maintenance is more critical than ever.

Certified Auto Specialists wants to be your GO-TO place! Feel free to call 626-963-0814 with any questions and we will be glad to help, or visit our website at CertifiedAutoCa.com.

Hometown Service You Can Count On!

The Concern With Obsolete Oil

The use of obsolete oil is not something consumers think about when they get an oil change, even if they change their own oil. Lately though, this concern has been brought to our attention. A lawsuit has been filed against a retailer in New Mexico claiming the oil they sell does not meet specification for newer cars. Modern cars are designed with much tighter internal engine clearances than in years past so using the correct oil is critical.

If your star burst symbol oil label does not specify GF-5 SN it is not suitable for most cars newer than 2011. The labeling on the oil contains “obvious and unambiguous language” regarding its intended and appropriate use. I am sad to report many shops don’t understand the consequences of incorrect oil labeling.

ALL cars have specific oil that needs to be used or damage will occur! This is why some cars’ engines have 200,000, 300,000 or even 400,000 miles on them while others only get half that many miles. The use of incorrect oil can also dramatically lower fuel mileage and cause damage to systems that result in the increased emissions of toxic substances and damage to emission control systems, including catalytic converters and oxygen sensors.

If you have heard the term “sludge” and I hope your never do in relation to your own car, it is caused by two things; waiting too long to change the engine oil or using incorrect oil for that specific application. Be warned also that European cars have even stricter additive packages that if not adhered to, will really wreak havoc on the internal parts of the engine.

Here is a link I hope you will use to educate yourself on engine oils:
Motor Oils and Lubricants

The automotive industry has no standards for servicing your car. Any shop can add any oil with no consequences, so it is truly a consumer beware industry when it comes to fluid standards.

I recommend knowing what oil is recommended for your car and asking questions when you arrive at your trusted automotive shop. AAA shops have to adhere to higher standards and are held accountable for their actions. Be an informed consumer, not one with a broken car.

Certified Auto Specialists wants to be your GO-TO place! Feel free to call 626-963-0814 with any questions and we will be glad to help, or visit our website at CertifiedAutoCa.com.

Hometown Service You Can Count On!

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