Extending Your Vehicle’s Engine Life – Apr 2010

One wonders why, at 200,000 km one vehicle can be “on it’s last legs” & the next romping along like a young pup. Regular oil changes are THE NUMBER ONE WAY to keep your vehicle healthy, on the road & more cash in your wallet.

While Car Care Canada estimates over 70% of vehicles on Canadian roads have uncompleted service needs, regular oil changes are the tipping point for ensuring long life & top engine performance. A meticulous commitment to regular oil changes (including maintenance inspections) is the most cost effective way to out-perform other vehicles.

Engine oils – seemingly simple, hardworking fluids are complex mixtures of mineral base oils & additive components which perform a variety of important tasks.

These include: separating/lubricating moving parts, reducing engine wear, helping prevent deposits from forming on internal engine components (sludge buildup), removal/suspension of dirt & contaminants in the oil until removed at the next oil change, cooling engine parts, enhancing fuel economy, providing engine component protection over a wide temperature range & helping protect important emission systems.

Lethbridge vehicles face “severe” driving conditions due to short commute distances, extreme outdoor temperature range & other variables. Under severe conditions engines often do not reach normal operating temperatures which increases wear, sludge buildup, & long-term breakdown of oil viscosity levels – oil’s ability to flow quickly & freely to internal engine surfaces.

Oil filters further assist by collecting suspended particles preventing them from circulating throughout the engine block, oil pump & hoses. Circulating corrosive particles score cylinder walls, damage gaskets & degrade integrity of costly pressure hoses.

All engine oils are mineral oil based. “Synthetic” oils are mostly Polyalphaolifins – derived from the purest part of mineral oil refraction processes. Synthetic oil’s more stable base tends not to contain reactive components & are less likely to react adversely with other compounds. I.e.; reactive carbon atoms can combine with oxygen to create damaging acids. Multi-grade oils (i.e.: 5W30 or 0W40) are thin enough for cold starts but thick enough to protect components when the engine is hot.

Your owner manual lists optimum between-oil-change intervals. Or, recommended oil grade, type & change intervals are in manufacturer web-sites on-line. Some newer vehicles come with “Oil Life Monitors” to notify when to change your oil.

At Harold’s Auto Service we provide written comprehensive inspections at no additional fee at every single oil change on your vehicle. It’s how we help to keep vehicle maintenance costs manageable. Our maintenance inspection covers critical safety systems that may not be monitored by a warning system/light in your vehicle. A deficiency in any one of these areas jeopardizes your safety as well as passengers & other vehicles on the road. Here is what we check:

Brakes – pads, rotors, brake cables, lines & hoses etc. Steering – linkage, ball joints, tie rod ends, idler arms, etc.
CV joints & boots Suspension – struts, shocks, springs, control arms
Fluids – cooling, brake, steering, transmission, differential Lights – headlights, signal & marker, interior, display
Windshield fluid, wipers, & washers Horn
Battery & cables
Fuel lines, hoses & filters
Coolant (antifreeze) condition, strength, & pH level Air filters & drive belts
Tires – tread depth, pressure & tread wear patterns Exhaust – muffler, catalytic converters, pipes
Differential, drive shaft & final drive components Fluid leaks, undercarriage & other visual concerns

The BEST thing about our free inspections? If a safety issue exists or we see a worn part, we provide a written estimate detailing necessary services. We’ll prioritize repairs to help schedule them into your family budget. For instance it can be overwhelming to learn that to be safe, your vehicle needs both front brakes & 4 new tires. You have peace of mind when we advise which is the more critical of the necessary services & which can safely wait another 5000 km’s or more. At Harold’s Auto Service our top priorities are ensuring your family’s safety along with long-term vehicle condition & performance.

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