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VehicleMD SPECIAL SUMMER WINTER DRIVING CAR CARE ISSUE ISSUE

®

A Driver's Guide to Maintaining a Healthy Car

www.vehiclemd.com

HELPING YOU… Run Forever  KEEPING

COOL THIS

WINTER  CLEANING YOUR WAY TO PEACE OF MIND  COOL RUNNINGS  SMOOTH & SQUEAK FREE

Sip Gas KEEPING UP WITH THE JONESES 

Go Green CHANGING YOUR OIL TO SAVE THE PLANET 

Be Safe on the Road 15 WINTER DRIVING TIPS  STAY SAFE WHEN THE STORM HITS 

Know Your Stuff   

KNOW YOUR MOTOR OIL C IS FOR CHECK LEARN TO SPEAK “CAR”

Store Copy: Please Do Not Remove From Waiting Area Winter 2010


High Performance?

Or high mileage?

Available in 5W-30, 10W-30 and 10W-40 vis grades.

Available in OW-20, 5W-20, 5W-30 and 10W-30 vis grades.

Two great ways to offer a high level of protection, without the high price. CITGO® SUPERGARD® SYNTHETIC is a fully synthetic motor oil at a better price. SUPERGARD SYNTHETIC is a premium quality product designed to provide the ultimate protection for high-performance gasoline engines. Even turbocharged and supercharged models. SUPERGARD SYNTHETIC prolongs engine life by reducing wear and minimizing oil breakdown, and is compatible with all conventional and synthetic motor oils. For high-mileage engines, there’s CITGO SUPERGARD UltraLife™. Specially formulated for vehicles with 75,000 or more miles, SUPERGARD UltraLife conditions and seals older engines, protecting them against excessive wear, helping to prevent leaks and enabling you to get the most out of your car. Check out SUPERGARD UltraLife and SUPERGARD SYNTHETIC from CITGO. They couldn’t come more highly recommended.

more protection for people

www.citgo.com www.citgo.com


VehicleMD

EDITOR'S NOTE

®

Staff:

Steve Hurt, Publisher

Barbara Tinsley, Associate Publisher Garrett McKinnon, Editor Tammy Neal, Features Editor Sheila Beam, Advertising Director

Goodbye Summer, Get Ready for Winter

Misty Dolan, Production Director Eliseo Torres, Sales & Marketing Director Julie Cain, Advertising Sales Dominique D’Alise, Advertising Sales Mai Lee, Circulation Manager Bethany Hurt, Staff Assistant 4418 74th St. #66 Lubbock, TX 79424 800.331.3713 or 806.762.4824 Fax: 806.762.4023 E-mail: info@vehiclemd.com Published four times a year by NOLN, Inc., 4418 74th St., Ste. 66, Lubbock, TX 79424-2336. Postage Paid at Shepherdsville, KY. Postmaster: Send address changes to VehicleMD, 4418 74th St., Ste. 66, Lubbock, TX 79424-2336. Editorial information: info@vehiclemd. com © Copyright VehicleMD 2010. Reproduction is allowed only with permission of the editor. Views expressed by columnists and guest writers do not imply VehicleMD endorsement. Every attempt is made to provide accurate and reliable information. VehicleMD will not assume liability for any products or services described or offered herein, nor can VehicleMD verify accuracy of advertising claims made herein. The purpose of VehicleMD is to educate automotive service customers about the maintenance services available to them. Additional copies — Interested parties may purchase additional copies of VehicleMD, including bulk quantities. E-mail Mai Lee for more information: circulation@vehiclemd.com Advertisers — Advertising rates are available upon request. Please contact Julie Cain (jcain@vehiclemd.com) or Dominique D’Alise (dominique@vehiclemd.com) for display advertising deadlines and other information. Internet — Advertising rates are available upon request. Please contact Eliseo Torres at etorres@vehiclemd.com for information. All correspondence and inquiries should be directed to our business offices: 4418 74th St., Ste. 66 Lubbock, TX 79424-2336 Phone: 800.331.3713 or 806.762.4824 Fax: 806.762.4023 E-mail: info@vehiclemd.com

Winter 2010 Volume 2, No. 4 ISSN 1948-4674

As much as I hate to admit it, it’s true—summer is over. That means it’s time to get ready for winter. One of my favorite winter activities is taking skiing and snowboarding trips with my friends and family. Last winter we were lucky enough to ski and board in Idaho and New Mexico, and hopefully this winter will follow suit. Recently, I re-learned an important lesson of which I want to remind everyone. What was it? I’ll give you three clues—click, click, click. Yep, that’s the sound my car made when I went to start it. I couldn’t believe it; I was on my lunch hour, in a parking lot and my battery was dead in only a matter of minutes. Luckily, a friend and a pair of booster cables were only a phone call away, while my favorite quick lube was only a block away. We got the car boosted off, and I drove to the quick lube to have them test my battery. Sure enough, its useful life had nearly run out, and it was time for a new one. I’m telling you, have your battery checked now—before you’re stranded in the freezing cold! No matter how awful I was feeling when I turned the key and heard only clicks, I’m very thankful it happened in the vicinity of a technician who could help. It could have instead happened on top of a snowy mountain and put a major damper on an otherwise awesome ski trip. Batteries aren’t the only items on your car that should be checked out before winter hits. It’s a good idea to have your technician inspect your entire vehicle. For more advice on keeping yourself and your care safe this winter, check out our winter safety tips on page 22. New For You You’ll notice a couple new sections in VehicleMD this month: “Ask the Doc” and “Car Rx.” If you have a car question that’s got you stumped, send it to doctor@vehiclemd.com. Our auto experts will take a look at it and give a diagnosis. If you’re lucky, your question might get published in an upcoming issue of VehicleMD. The other new section, Car Rx, lives up to its tagline and features fantastic finds for you and your ride. As diverse as the products are, they all have a common theme—cars. There are some great items that we know you just can’t live without (plus, if you’re short on ideas for that hard-to-buy-for person on your gift list, all we can say is, “You’re welcome”).

Tammy Neal editor@vehiclemd.com

www.twitter.com/vehiclemd Find us on:

www.vehiclemd.com 3


VehicleMD

WHAT'S INSIDE: WINTER 2010

®

12

K eep I t R unning F orever

10 Keeping Cool This Winter

Make sure your car’s cooling system is equipped to survive cold weather.

12 Cleaning Your Way to Peace of Mind A pour-in fuel system cleaner can help your fuel system perform its best.

14 Cool Runnings

28

Protecting your engine from winter weather could mean giving it a cup of ‘Joe‘.

16 Smooth and Squeak Free

Find out why it’s important to lubricate the latches, locks and hinges on your vehicle.

M ake Y our C ar S ip G as 18 Keeping Up With the Joneses

Find out how a multi-part fuel system cleaning can more than pay for itself in improved fuel economy.

30

G o G reen 20 Team Green: Changing Your Oil to

B e S afe

on the

R oad

22 15 Winter Driving Tips

Find ways to keep you—and your car— securely on the road this winter.

24 Stay Safe When the Storm Hits

How a new pair of wiper blades can help you see clearly in winter weather.

K now Y our S tuff 27 Know Your Motor Oil: GM’s New dexos

If you drive a 2011 General Motors vehicle there is—or will be—a new motor oil in your car or truck.

28 C is for Check

How to keep your to-do list under control with the “Oil Change” app.

30 Learning to Speak “Car”: Automobiles from A to Z

We explain some of the more common terms you might hear when in an automotive service facility.

Save the Planet

A re-refined oil change is exactly the same as your current oil change; only it uses “greener” oil—re-refined motor oil.

T he B ack P age 34 Cars by the Numbers

A few of our favorite tidbits of trivia about a subject near and dear to our hearts.

INDEX OF ADVERTISERS Company Name

AOCA AMSOIL Synthetic Motor Oil Castrol CITGO Lubegard by International Lubricants Lucas Oil Products, Inc.

4 VehicleMD

Page No. Phone No.

Company Name

Website

31 5 15 2

800.331.0329 800.777.8491 888.227.8765 800.992.4846

www.aoca.org www.amsoil.com www.castrol.com/us www.citgo.com

36 13

800.333.5823 800.342.2512

www.lubegard.com www.lucasoil.com

Page No. Phone No.

myBeepBeep Media, LLC 29 Penray Companies 11 Safety-Kleen Systems, Inc. 35 Sea Foam Sales Company 17 Shell Oil Company - Quaker State 26 Smart Blend by Life Automotive Products, Inc. 19

Website

866.987.9911 www.mybeepbeep.com 800.323.6329 www.penray.com 800.669.5740 www.ecopoweroil.com 800.536.4812 www.seafoamsales.com 800.416.1600 www.quakerstate.com 888.422.9099

www.smartblend.com


You lead a busy life, and oil changes are a hassle. That’s just one reason more and more people are switching to AMSOIL extended life synthetic motor oils... the convenience of changing oil less often while remaining confident that their engines are being protected. By changing oil less often you’re also helping reduce packaging waste and creating fewer used lubricants to dispose of, keeping the world greener. You also benefit from a cleaner operating engine and easier cold starts. Since 1972 AMSOIL has been the leader in synthetic lubricant technology, and there has never been a better time to switch. AMSOIL is good for your car, the environment and your schedule.

Simplify your life. Choose AMSOIL.

1-800-777-8491 www.amsoil.com www.amsoil.com

Accept no substitutes.


ASK THE DOC

answer auto experts

your questions

TO THE DOC   u   My 1990 Buick LeSabre with 88,000 miles

rocks a slow bounce when going over mild humps and moderate braking. It’s not at all uncomfortable. Probably struts, though the front struts were replaced at 50,000 miles. Is this a condition that can affect wear/damage to any other parts or systems of the car? John Metairie, LA

THE DOC SAYS   u   Worn struts can affect a car’s front-end

alignment and tire wear, but generally not in a critical manner. Typically, worn struts are seen as a ride quality issue more than as a performance issue. Many automotive experts recommend the “bounce” test to determine if struts need to be replaced. That is, when you go over a bump, if the vehicle bounces more than once, the struts are likely worn and need to be replaced. However, the Motorist Assurance Program (MAP), a consumer group, notes in its Uniform Inspection Guidelines that shock or strut replacement should not depend on a vehicle’s mileage or whether the shock absorbers or struts fail a bounce test. Rather, MAP notes, “replacement is required only if a shock or strut piston rod is bent or damaged, if (the shock or strut) has broken, damaged or missing mounting hardware, is binding or seized, is severely corroded to the point where it is weakened (for struts only), is missing, or has oil running down the body.” Bottom line: If your car still passes the bounce test and the struts don’t appear to have any physical damage, you probably don’t need to replace them for the time being. However, periodically check the front tires to make sure they are wearing evenly, and if you encounter any steering alignment issues (i.e. front-end shimmy), it might be worth the investment to replace the struts. Hope this info helps!

VehicleMD On Call Have a car question for the VehicleMD “doctor“? E-mail it to: doctor@vehiclemd.com

TO THE DOC   u   I enjoy reading VehicleMD, as it’s down to earth and reads so that most anyone understands any particular article. 
 I have a problem I’ve tried to figure out myself—as I don’t think it’s going to be hard to remedy—but haven’t been able to determine the actual cause. I thought I’d see if you had any ideas to solve this.

I have a 2005 Chevy 2500, 4x4, four door, short bed, Duramax diesel pickup truck. Only when it’s cold outside (below 30 degrees) and when driving into the wind above 45 miles per hour on the speedometer do I have a crackly rattling sound that seems to be coming from about the center of the right side corner post between the windshield and the passenger side door. The sound resembles hard plastic rubbing against something, or electrical wires shaking against plastic (like inside the plastic over the metal corner post). I’ve had a buddy ride with me and try to figure it out but no luck—only the location of the sound is for sure. The windshield seems to be tight and sealed in this area, as there aren’t any apparent air leak sounds or leakage from rain or carwashes. The truck has done this the past couple of years only in the winter when it’s cold enough and only into the wind. I never hear anything when it warms up a little, even when driving into the wind. Ron Goodland, IN

THE DOC SAYS   u   Without being able to hear the sound firsthand, it

sounds like the cold temperatures are causing part of the plastic trim around the windshield or the passenger’s side mirror to contract, which possibly allows a crosswind or headwind to get inside the plastic trim and shake either the trim itself or the wiring that controls the power mirror. My dad would probably get out a tube of silicone sealant and go to work, but then again he’s of the opinion that anything can be fixed with enough silicone! I’d suggest making sure all the plastic trim pieces are securely in place and the factory fittings aren’t broken or missing. If this isn’t a repair you care to try yourself, you might try taking your pickup to a local body shop. They’ll likely have the tools to safely remove the plastic trim and make sure everything is shipshape. They might even be able to identify the problem and fix it permanently.  The advice described above is for informational purposes only. It cannot and should not be used in lieu of an actual, physical inspection and diagnosis by a trained mechanic or automotive technician. The opinions and advice offered herein are not intended to diagnose automotive problems or component failures; they are simply intended to provide information on what could be transpiring. VehicleMD accepts no liability resulting from actions taken as a result of this advice.

Get more information at: www.vehiclemd.com 6 VehicleMD


?

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Visit www.VehicleMD.com to read the same great articles— and more—that you find in every issue of VehicleMD.

®

Plus, you can also receive timely news, tips and tricks about your four-wheeled family member from our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Visit us and see what else you can learn about maintaining a healthy car.

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PopUp Towels

Fantastic Finds for You & Your Ride

Storage space in your vehicle is prime property, but PopUp Towels take up minimal space and provide maximum usefulness. They start out about the size of several stacked nickels, but with a few drops of water expand to more than nine by 10 inches. They’re handy to clean up spills in the car or even to check your oil at your next fill up. www.popuptowels.com

Duracell Instant Jump Start System

Thule Seat Wedge Organizer

This seat wedge holds your iPod, charger cables, money, sunglasses or anything else you need close by. It’s cool shape slips between your seat and center console, making the most of your space. Plus, the organizer’s non-skid lining and adjustable divider keep everything in its place. www.thule.com

The Duracell Instant Jump Start System is an easyto-use power solution for dealing with dead battery emergencies. It’s great because you don’t need a second vehicle to boost your battery. Also, there’s a built-in emergency light that allows you to see under the hood in the dark and a reverse-polarity indicator to let you know you’ve attached the included jumper cables to the battery terminals correctly. www.duracellpower.com

Pennzoil Ultra Motor Oil

A clean engine is not a want but a need for anyone wanting to maintain engine efficiency and performance. Pennzoil Ultra motor oil was developed molecule-by-molecule to seek out and dissolve contaminants safely into the oil before they form deposits or corrode the engine. The ultra-class synthetic is a top-tier oil formulated with HyperCleansing Technology to help keep engines closer to factory clean and provide maximum wear protection. www.pennzoil.com

8 VehicleMD

Lucas Deep Clean

To feel confident your fuel system and combustion chamber are clean, try a bottle of Lucas Deep Clean. This special formula is carefully blended to ensure nothing harmful or useless enters your engine. It is also good for the environment—the treatment reduces nitrogen-oxide emissions, eliminates the need for higher-octane fuel, removes carbon deposits, and eliminates knocks and pings in your engine. www.lucasoil.com


Heated Windshield Wipers

These windshield wiper blades have a heating element inside the rubber squeegee. Once Everblades are wired into the electrical system, the heat can be turned on at the flip of a switch. Heated windshield wiper blades actually melt ice and snow away and help ensure excellent winter driving vision. www.everblades.com

Mystik Synthetic Motor Oil Parking Pal

Lubegard Kool-It

Did you know the number one cause of roadside failure is cooling system related? Kool-It is a coolant treatment that works by enhancing your coolant’s heat transfer capability and reducing operating temperatures. KoolIt helps the environment, too. It helps extend the life of your vehicle’s coolant, thus reducing the amount of antifreeze used and consumed. Lastly, it helps protect your radiator against corrosion, helping it last longer, too. www.lubegard.com

Keeping kids safe is essential in a parking lot, where accidents can happen fast. The Parking Pal does just that. It’s a fun magnet that you stick to the side of your car. After a couple of learning sessions, your child will learn it’s his safe spot. The child simply places his hand on the magnet and waits. This way children know where to go when they get out of the car, and it helps teach them parking lots are no place to play. www.parkingpalmagnet.com

If you want the latest and greatest for your car, you might want to check out Mystik Lubricant’s new synthetic motor oil with GF-5. GF-5 is the latest motor oil specification, giving drivers better fuel economy, engine cleanliness and emissions systems durability. Mystik’s upgraded synthetic motor oil blends are available in three viscosity grades, so chances are, there’s one right for your car. www.mystiklubes.com

Smart Blend Diesel Fuel System Cleaner

Diesel engines need special care, and they can get just that with Smart Blend’s Diesel Fuel System Cleaner. This two-step service provides intake and fuel system cleaning for diesel engines by safely and effectively removing deposits and carbon buildup. If you think your engine doesn’t have the power it used to, you’ll be interested to know that this product helps improve lost performance due to new EPA Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel regulations. www.smartblend.com

www.vehiclemd.com 9


Run Forever With… by Garrett McKinnon VehicleMD Staff Writer

Coolant Flush Service

Keeping

COOL

This Winter Make sure your car’s cooling system is equipped to survive cold weather

I

t’s good to be cool. Everyone who survived high school knows that. But it’s also true for your car. After all, if your car loses its “cool,” it can mean big trouble. The main function of a car’s cooling system is, not surprisingly, to remove heat from the engine. If this heat is not removed, the engine will be damaged, potentially even destroyed. The cooling system accomplishes its protective duties by circulating coolant throughout the engine and then back through the radiator, which transfers heat from the coolant into the air that passes through the radiator. In days past, water alone served to cool automotive engines. The problem with water, however, is that it freezes. Allow the water inside your engine and/or radiator to freeze, and it will expand and rupture vital parts. That’s an expensive problem to have. That’s why modern automotive cooling systems mix “antifreeze”— usually a type of alcohol that helps the water/ coolant mixture remain liquid in even sub-zero conditions—with water to create the “coolant.” However, any time you mix liquid and metal, you tend to get corrosion, so coolant also has to be able to treat the cooling system to inhibit corrosion. Industry experts estimate that about 40 percent of engine downtime is caused by cooling system problems, so it’s critically important 10 VehicleMD

for both your schedule and your wallet that the cooling system be maintained, which can be done in a couple of different ways. “First, a coolant flush takes place when old fluid is flushed from the system, cleaning deposits while ridding the system of corrosion and contaminants. Once a flush is complete, new fluid is placed back in the clean system,” said Sarkis Aroyan, a senior engineer with Penray. “Second, a simple solution is to introduce coolant additives to the system. A quality product will prevent corrosion, scale, rust and overheating while maintaining pH levels in the system.” Not all coolants are created equal, something usually denoted by color.

“ Because the coolant affects so many parts of a vehicle, a properly maintained cooling system significantly decreases the possibility of vehicle downtime.” Sarkis Aroyan Penray

“Green coolant, a phosphate and silicate formula, is typically considered the traditional fluid present in most vehicles. It is usually recommended to drain, flush and replace green

coolant every two years or 30,000 miles,” Aroyan said. “Orange coolant, a phosphateand silicate-free formula often referred to as Dex-Cool or organic acid coolant, is considered an extended-life coolant and is found in most GM vehicles. There are an abundance of other colors, like fuchsia, red, blue and yellow, that are variations of different formulas and often designed for specific applications. With all the different colors and chemistries available, it is more important than ever to maintain the cooling system.” Experts recommend that drivers ask their auto service technician to check the color, clarity, freeze point and chemical protection of their coolant at every maintenance interval. These few simple tests can indicate whether the coolant is providing adequate levels of protection. If it is not, the cooling system can either be flushed and new coolant added, or additives can be mixed with the existing coolant to restore its effectiveness. “Because the coolant affects so many parts of a vehicle, a properly maintained cooling system significantly decreases the possibility of vehicle downtime,” Aroyan said. Which is a good thing. After all, what could be more “un-cool” than having a car that’s stuck on the side of the road with a cooling system problem? 


www.penray.com

www.penray.com

www.facebook.com/penray


Run Forever With…

Pour-In Fuel System Cleaner

H

ow clean is your car? Sure, it looks pretty spiffy, but when was the last time you really looked to see how clean it is. Are there “crumbies” around the gear shifter? How about a bag of your little one’s Cheerios floating around? If you’re lucky, there might be a couple dollar bills stuffed between your seats. The truth is, when you look really closely, your car isn’t quite as clean as you thought it was. Now here’s the next question—how clean is your fuel system? This one is a little tougher. It’s not like you can open your hood and look for grime inside your fuel system. However, your car does give you some hints about its state of cleanliness— if you listen closely. An easy way to tell if your fuel system needs cleaning is to assess your car’s symptoms. Is the engine shaky? Does it sound like something in the engine is knocking? Is your car just not performing like it used to? “If any of these symptoms appear, deposits might have formed in your combustion chamber, you might have moisture in your fuel tank or there might be restriction in your fuel injection system,” said Mark Negast, technical director at Lucas Oil. “A pour-in fuel system cleaner can be used to treat any of those issues.” If you aren’t sure exactly how clean your fuel system is, a pour-in fuel system cleaner can help—either by cleaning it up or keeping it clean. Not only can you rest assured there’s no grime or “crumbies” in your fuel system, but a pour-in fuel system cleaner offers other benefits, too. Using one can help limit the corrosion in your gas tank if your vehicle is equipped with a metal one. It also helps improve fuel mileage by cleaning fuel injectors and making them super efficient. Plus, some pour-in fuel system cleaners help reduce greenhouse emissions inby Tammy Neal cluding nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons, which all contribute to smog. VehicleMD Staff Writer But maybe most importantly, a pour-in fuel system cleaner can help give you peace of mind. Using one helps increase the life of your engine and, in turn, your vehicle, and it gives you a sense of reliability. After all, there’s nothing worse than a breakdown that could have been avoided with a healthy dose of preventive maintenance. 

Cleaning Your Way

PEACE OF MIND

to

If you aren't sure exactly how clean your fuel system is, a pour-in fuel system cleaner can help—either by cleaning it up or keeping it clean.

12 VehicleMD


VMD family ad August 2010.pdf

1

7/7/10

11:16 AM


Run Forever With…

Synthetic Motor Oil

by Tammy Neal VehicleMD Staff Writer

COOL RUNNINGS Protecting Your Engine in Winter Weather

I

t is a cold winter morning, and there’s nothing you would rather do Engineers create synthetic motor oil by carefully manipulating, or than stay in bed under your nice, warm blankets. But as your day synthesizing, the molecules in a base oil. When blended with a precise beckons, you climb out of bed and make your way to the kitchen for mixture of chemical additives, this synthetic motor oil provides superior a cup of coffee. You can’t seem to function without your morning cup of mechanical and chemical properties compared to conventional motor Joe—it helps warm you from the inside out, letting oil. In other words, it simply works better. you get your day started. One of the biggest benefits of synthetic motor oil Believe it or not, your car needs a little “Joe” is its ability to flow at low temperatures. Compared to get it started in the morning, too. Except your with conventional motor oil, synthetic can start car’s “Joe” is motor oil. Especially in the winter, the flowing and reach/protect critical areas of your car’s motor oil in your car thickens as the temperature engine much quicker in cold temperatures. drops. Naturally, it takes motor oil a while to warm “Synthetic motor oil has superior cold temperaup and begin flowing as it should. ture performance,” said Timothy Miranda, a senior Unfortunately, during that brief interval your engineer with Castrol. “It lets the engine crank easTimothy Miranda car’s engine is being assailed by friction. Without ily, and the oil flows quickly to critical parts within Castrol that protective layer of motor oil, the insides of the engine.” your car’s engine are essentially rubbing against one This reduces wear, protecting your engine and another. The people who study such things tell us that as much as 80 extending its life. Plus, by allowing easier engine cranking, synthetic percent of the wear your engine will experience will occur as a direct motor oil eases the burden on your car’s battery during the cold winter result of cold starts. season. Thankfully, there is a solution that can help protect your engine on Your car is one of the largest investments you’ll ever make. So, it cold winter mornings (or even afternoons when your car has been sitmakes sense to spend a little bit more to give it the best protection ting outside in the cold all day waiting for you to get off work). That possible—especially during the winter, when cold temperatures put adsolution? Synthetic motor oil. ditional stress on your car’s engine. 

Synthetic motor oil has superior cold temperature performance.

14 VehicleMD


PROTECT YOUR FAMILY WITH THE FULL LINE OF CASTROL MOTOR OILS.

For more information, please call 1.800.CASTROL www.castrol.com or visit www.castrol.com


Run Forever With…

&

Hinge and Latch Lubrication

eal by Tammy N taff Writer VehicleMD S

F

or a moment picture a bunglesome vehicle that has seen its share of miles. Maybe it’s a circa-1960 VW bug, a Pontiac sedan from the 1980s, or in my case, a 1970-something Ford farm truck. Now, put yourself in the driver’s seat of this vehicle—open the door, get in, roll down the window and start the ignition. If your experience is anything like mine, you had a heck of a time getting the door open, and the window squealed and squeaked as you rolled it down. Plus, when you went to start the ignition, there was nothing—so you popped the hood, which might as well have been rusted shut. Now, zap yourself into your current vehicle. It’s time for a lubrication checkup. Sure, you’re diligent about changing your oil because you know your engine needs lubrication, but what about the other parts of your vehicle—parts on the outside of your vehicle. Believe it or not, parts such as your hood latch, door hinges, door locks and trunk latch need lubrication, too. If you’re planning on keeping your vehicle for many years to come, don’t you want to be able to open the door and pop the hood without much difficulty? It’s for this reason that it’s important to lubricate the latches, locks and hinges on your vehicle. The good news is that most automotive service centers perform a multi-point inspec-

free

tion when changing your oil and during the window will glide up and down easier,” Davis inspection technicians usually lubricate your said. “Especially in rural areas where people door hinges and the other moving parts on drive on dirt roads a lot, dirt can get into these the outside of your vehicle. But it never hurts mechanisms and cause the windows to not to double check. Plus, if there’s an annoying operate smoothly.” little squeak somewhere, mention it to your Davis offered another great tip, especially technician; he might know the magic trick to going into winter. If you’re in an area that help it go away. sees freezing rain or sleet, you’re probably Jim Davis, technical service manager for no stranger to a door that is frozen shut—or Sea Foam Sales, said in his days as a mechanic worse yet, its latch is frozen and it won’t shut. he replaced countless door hinges because the Take comfort pins wore out due to lack in knowing you oil g n ti a of lubrication. There don’t have to be tr e n e yap You can spra are bushings and pins the person who’s ip dow run str in w e inside door hinges driving with one th in t righ window e th (which are what the hand and holding o s , it te and lubrica r. door actually rotates the door shut ie s a e and down on). These are the with the other. will glide up Jim Davis parts that crucially need Because some les Sea Foam Sa lubrication. If they don’t penetrating oils have it, they’re simply also remove metal grinding against moisture, they metal each time you open or close your door. can be helpful to de-ice that frozen door. By Davis said if the wear gets too bad, the hinge simply spraying the penetrating oil around assembly may need to be replaced, and that’s a the frozen latch, it removes the moisture and pricey problem that could have been prethaws the latch, enabling your door to operate vented. Plus, door latches and door locks can smoothly once again, Davis said. actually get rusty and freeze up. Lubrication Each time you get your oil changed, will take care of that problem, as well. remember the other parts of your vehicle— Remember the squeaky window? Well, a from the hood to the doors to the trunk—that little lubrication can fix that, too. need lubrication, too. Doing so will help your “You can spray a penetrating oil right in vehicle last longer and keep you rolling down the window run strip and lubricate it, so the the road smoothly and squeak-free. 

www.vehiclemd.com 16


THE MOST IMPORTANT TOOLS FOR YOUR VEHICLE!

Ask your auto technician about

M SEA FOCA TS PRODU today!

Sea Fo am

Sea Foam Spray Cleaner & Lube  100% pure petroleum product for

Fast-Acting Deep Creep  100% pure petroleum product for external

internal engine use only - use in 2-cycle and 4-cycle engines

use only

 Comes with a patented hook tool & tube to feed into sealed air intake systems

 Improves engine’s smoothness and performance - easier start up, smoother idle, better acceleration, can eliminate pings, knocks, and hesitations

 Cleans carbon deposits from air intake systems, intake valves, and combustion chambers

Spray & Deep Creep

 New aerosol formula now meets all VOC requirements in all 50 states

 Best and safest penetrating & lubricating oil with hundreds of uses! Lubricates and cleans throttle bodies and is Teflon safe!

 Will break loose rusty bolts and lubricate bearings, hinges, rollers, and locks

 Low odor, heat resistant, and environmentally friendly

 Restores lost fuel economy

Visit our website at www.seafoamsales.com www.seafoamsales.com


Sip Gas With…

Multi-Part Fuel System Cleaning

KEEPING UP WITH THE

Joneses T

by Tammy Neal VehicleMD Staff Writer

Indulge the Urge to Upgrade Your Fuel Economy

he phrase “Keeping up with the Joneses” has been part of Amer- a running engine. It then attacks carbon buildup on metal surfaces and ican culture for nearly 100 years. Did you know the phrase was dissolves it. The carbon buildup (which can decrease your fuel mileage) is popularized by a comic strip of the same name that debuted then burned away in the engine’s combustion chamber, leaving you with in 1916 in the New York World? Here’s an interesting fact: The a cleaner, more efficient engine. “Joneses” of the title were neighbors of the strip’s main characters and But that’s not all. In stage two, another cleaner is added to the fuel were spoken of but never actually seen in person. tank. It cleans at a slower rate as the fuel in the tank is burned. But would you believe keeping up with the Joneses could help increase These two stages work together, much like a broom and a mop work your fuel economy? together to give you a sparkling clean floor. Step one is an aerosol cleaner This ideal Jones family probably has the fanciest house with the best that is delivered into the fuel intake system through a positive vacuum yard and the nicest car in your neighborhood. However, with a multiport. Step two, as stated before, is poured in through the fuel tank. It stage fuel system cleaner, you can help your car get rides with the fuel on its journey through your vebetter fuel mileage. Your fuel economy might even hicle’s fuel system, cleaning as it goes. surpass the Joneses’, and that’s something to be proud Even though the second part is added through the “If even one injector is clogged of. gas tank, a multi-part fuel system cleaning does differ A total multi-part fuel system cleaning chemically and not working at full capacity, from a pour-in fuel system cleaning. scours several parts of your engine and fuel system, “The intake system cleaner reacts when it comes other engine components must including your fuel injectors, removing harmful fuel work harder and less efficiently.” into contact with carbon on metal and other surfaces mileage-robbing deposits. Steve Farr and dissolves the carbon on contact,” Farr said. “On “If even one injector is clogged and not working Smart Blend Synthetics the other hand, pour-in cleaners and other fuel tank at full capacity, other engine components must work additives work over time when they are mixed with harder and less efficiently,” said Steve Farr, vice president of Smart Blend fuel in the tank and clean the fuel pump, fuel lines and injectors.” Synthetics. “Engines and fuel systems are more complex than ever before. A total multi-part fuel system cleaning, won’t put you behind on your They are engineered to work in conjunction with each other in an effort quest to keep up with the Joneses. It only takes about five minutes to perto achieve peak performance and vehicle operation.” form, from start to finish. One fuel system cleaning every 15,000 miles The treatment is called a multi-part fuel system cleaning because it is can more than pay for itself in improved fuel economy, Farr said. made up of just that—multiple parts. The next time you get the urge to keep up with the Joneses, spend Stage one contains a highly efficient cleaning solution that is introyour money wisely on a multi-part fuel system cleaner, and your car will duced directly into the fuel intake system where it reacts to the heat of thank you. 

ab

18 VehicleMD


www.smartblend.com


Go Green With...

Re-Refined Motor Oil

TEAM GREEN

Changing Your Oil

20 VehicleMD


to Save the Planet

by Tammy Neal VehicleMD Staff Writer

W

e are right in the middle of football season. products like tar or gasoline. These additives, however, When football is part of the equation, you’re wear out over time, which is why you must change your probably going to hear a lot of cheering going oil at regular intervals. The base oil—what we call the on—whether you’re in the stands at your son’s football oil that doesn’t have additives added to it yet—actually game or watching your favorite team on Monday night. never wears out. It just becomes dirty as it works to do This time of year, the cheerleader can sneak out in all its lubricating job. of us (even if you are just yelling at the TV). Take this Re-refined oil is made from this “dirty” oil drained out “cheerleader” state of mind with you to your next oil of engines. When the oil is drained from your engine, change and cheer for “Team Green.” your service center collects it in a used-oil tank. Then, Wait! What is Team Green? Well, in the oil change a re-refining company collects the oil and takes it to the world, it’s a re-refined oil change. refinery. The used oil can be conventional, synthetic, A re-refined oil change is exactly the same as your curhigh-mileage or any of the several other motor oil types rent oil change; only it uses “greener” oil—re-refined oil. found across the country; the type of oil doesn’t matter Re-refined oil was recruited for Team Green because it is when it’s being re-refined. actually made from existing motor oil. At the refinery, the used oil goes through a process that “Re-refining used oil conserves natural non-renewable cleans up the oil by removing the additives and contamiresources and has the potential to reduce dependence nants. This makes it just as good as oil derived from viron foreign oil,” said Eric Zimmer, gin crude. In fact, re-refined oil may be executive vice president of Sales and even better because it takes 85 percent A re-refined motor oil Marketing at Safety-Kleen Systems. less energy to re-refine motor oil than to change is exactly the “Re-refining is energy efficient and is produce it from crude. Then, additives same as your current an eco-friendly way to manage used are added to the newly re-refined oil, oil change; only it uses oil.” making it ready to use in your engine “greener” oil— The re-refining process also keeps once again. re-refined oil. millions of gallons of oil from being The great thing is, since the petrodisposed of improperly. For instance, leum molecules never wear out, this the oil from one oil change (about a gallon) can conprocess can be repeated over and over again. taminate one million gallons of drinking water. That’s a How do you know re-refined motor oil is safe for year’s supply of water for 50 people! your engine? The motor oil currently in your vehicle is According to federal reports, oil that is not collected certified by the American Petroleum Institute. This is and re-refined accounts for more than 40 percent of the the association that tests all motor oils on the market to total oil pollution of our nation’s harbors and waterways. make sure they meet minimum performance requireTeam Green dominates in other ways, too. Re-refining ments. You can tell that an oil is API-certified because motor oil results in 99.5 percent fewer heavy metal emisit bears the “donut” symbol on the front of its package. sions and 85 percent less greenhouse gases than if used If re-refined oil has been certified by API, you can rest motor oil were used as fuel. It also saves more than one assured it’s safe for your engine. million tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually, which Also, major car and engine manufacturers have apis equivalent to taking 200,000 cars off the road every proved the use of re-refined oil. So, as long as the re-reyear. fined oil you choose meets the same standards called for Most of the motor oil found in engines today is made in your owners manual, it will not void your warranty. from crude petroleum that is carefully “refined” into base Next time you’re due for auto maintenance, consider lubricating oil. Later in the manufacturing process, a “Team Green.” You’ll get an oil change that’s good for combination of additives are added, giving motor oil the your engine and the planet, too.  special properties that set it apart from other petroleum

Z

Z

www.vehiclemd.com 21


Be Safe With...

Winter Driving Tips

LET IT 15 Ways to Keep You—And Your Car—Safe This Winter by Garrett McKinnon VehicleMD Staff Writer

S

nowy, wintry weather. It’s a fact of life for many of us in this country. In fact, try this little exercise: Find a map of the United States and, beginning in Norfolk, Virginia, draw a line west through Nashville, Tennessee continuing on through Fayetteville, Arkansas and Oklahoma City. Now veer southwest through Lubbock, Texas and Las Cruces, New Mexico before heading back northwest through Phoenix, Arizona and Las Vegas, Nevada. Finally, swoop over to Fresno, California and then north to Eureka, California. Got it? Now imagine this: Every place north of that line (barring a few places on the Oregon and Washington coast) receives, on average, more than eight inches of snowfall each year. That’s right, more than two-thirds of the country deals with its fair share of snow each year. True, if you live in Florida or Southern California you’re largely immune from winter’s wrath, but even places like Galveston, Texas (with an average of nearly half an inch of frozen precipitation each year) have to deal with winter weather from time to time. That’s why it’s important to make sure you—and your car—are ready to face whatever Mother Nature throws your way. Hence, these 15 tips we’ve prepared to get you ready for the coming winter months.

1. Have Your Lights Checked

With fewer daylight hours in the winter, it’s critical to make sure others can see your car. “As the days get shorter, your vehicle’s lighting system becomes more important to the safety of you and your passengers,” said Rich White, executive director of the Car Care Council. “From the driver’s seat you may not notice a light that isn’t working, so be sure to inspect your car’s lights at every oil change.” Lights are normal wear items that require periodic inspection and replacement. In addition to replacing dimming, rapidly blinking and non-functioning lights, it’s also important to keep headlights, taillights and signal lights clean (as external dirt and debris can dim operational lights from being seen by others) and to make sure your headlights are properly aimed (miss-aimed headlights blind other drivers and reduce your ability to see the road).

2. Store Your Winter Emergency Kit

Prepare an “emergency” kit and store it in your trunk—just in case the unexpected happens. Experts recommend keeping on hand: a Not only is washer fluid good for blanket, extra boots and gloves, an extra set of warm clothes, rinsing bugs off your windshield, extra water and food, an ice but modern washer fluid is generscraper, a small shovel, a flashally mixed with a de-icer that can light, windshield washer fluid, help melt snow and ice off your spare windshield wipers, jumper windshield, keeping your vision cables, a tool kit, a first-aid kit and a bag of abrasive material clear. such as sand, salt or non-clumping kitty litter that can provide additional traction if a tire gets stuck in snow.

3. Steer Into the Skid

You’ve probably heard it before, but it bears repeating: Steer into the skid. If your front tires lose traction when you’re trying to turn (a condition called understeer), turn the steering wheel slightly in the direction in which you’re skidding until the front tires reestablish traction. Trying to fight a skid by turning against it will usually just make things worse. If your rear tires lose traction when you’re trying to turn (also called understeer), ease off the gas and turn the wheel in the same direction the rear tires are 22 VehicleMD


trying to go. This can keep you from spinning out of control. (Though if you’re like me you used to practice this in empty parking lots during snowy weather just for fun!)

too diluted, a cold snap might even freeze the coolant mixture, expanding and rupturing expensive components like your radiator. Have your antifreeze tested to see if the freeze point is low enough to protect your car this winter.

4. Change Your Oil

Believe it or not, your car’s motor oil is affected by winter, too. In cold 10. Consider Fuel De-Icer weather, the oil thickens, meaning it takes longer to lubricate critical Before the brunt of winter gets here, many experts recommend pourengine parts on those bitter winter mornings. That’s why it’s never a ing a bottle of fuel de-icer in your gas tank. This special chemical will bad idea to head into winter with fresh motor oil, or consider using a absorb any residual moisture in your car’s fuel lines, keeping them from synthetic motor oil if you live in an area of the freezing. (I honeymooned in Canada in winter country that endures more than its share of very and believe me, fuel lines do freeze!) cold weather. (For more about synthetic motor Try to avoid making your wheels oil’s ability to function in cold weather, see spin or slip by accelerating and 11. Switch to Snow Tires article on page 14.) Sure, if you live in Miami you probably don’t

5. Save Some Gas

decelerating slowly, planning stops well in advance and using inertia to get you up hills rather than stomping on the gas.

One bit of wisdom I’ve picked up over the years is to always leave at least a quarter of a tank of gas in your car during cold winter months. Not only will the extra gas help keep your car’s fuel lines from freezing, it can also help keep you warm in the event the unthinkable happens and you find yourself stranded. (Just remember to never run the engine if the car’s exhaust is obstructed by snow or other debris.)

6. Test Your Battery

There’s a common saying: “Batteries die in summer and are buried in winter.” Before you hear that awful “click, click, click” when you try to start your car one cold day, have your battery tested. (Most auto service facilities can do this for free or a minimal charge.) The test is quick and easy, and the results can tell you if it is time to replace the battery, something you’ll want to find out before you find yourself stuck out in the cold.

7. Fill the Washer Fluid

Not only is washer fluid good for rinsing bugs off your windshield, but modern washer fluid is generally mixed with a de-icer that can help melt snow and ice off your windshield, keeping your vision clear. Most auto service facilities will top off your washer fluid for free as part of any multipoint inspection, but if you’re uncertain about your washer fluid level, don’t hesitate to ask your auto service technician to inspect it and top it off, if necessary.

8. Replace Your Wipers

Because most windshield wipers are made of rubber, they can become brittle and inflexible as they age. This condition only worsens in cold weather, which can cause your wipers to leave streaks or not wipe at all. Consider putting fresh wiper blades on your car. And, if you live in a particularly snowy part of the country, ask your auto service technician about “winter” wiper blades, wipers specially designed to battle heavy snow and ice.

9. Test the Antifreeze

One of the most important systems in your car is its cooling system, but this mixture of water and “coolant” (also called antifreeze) can become diluted over time. When this happens, the “freeze point” (or temperature at which the coolant mixture can freeze) will rise. If the antifreeze is

need to worry about snow tires, but in areas of the country that receive several feet of snow each year, many auto experts recommend installing a dedicated set of snow tires. Believe it or not, snow tires can generate much more traction on snow and ice than regular all-season tires.

12. Keep Your Car Washed

You might not be thinking about keeping your car clean when it’s below freezing outside, but the first semi-pretty day you see this winter take the opportunity to run your car through the carwash. Many states and municipalities use highly corrosive salt compounds to melt snow and ice on streets and roads, and removing this salt from your car should be a top priority. After all, drivers in this country spend an estimated $24 billion per year repairing corrosion damage on their vehicles, and that’s money you would certainly rather have in your pocket.

13. Don’t Spin Your Wheels

If you do find yourself driving in deep snow or on a thick sheen of ice, the thing to remember is that traction is everything. Try to avoid making your wheels spin or slip by accelerating and decelerating slowly, planning stops well in advance and using inertia to get you up hills rather than stomping on the gas. However, if you do find yourself spinning your wheels in deep snow, try this…

14. Use Your Floor Mats

If you forgot your sand or kitty litter, there is one handy item in your car that can help your tires get traction in deep snow. That’s your floor mats. Sounds crazy, I know, but if you’re not stuck too deeply in the snow you can place your floor mats rubber side down in front of your drive wheels (the ones that are spinning) and, with careful application of the gas pedal, give your tires just enough traction to climb out of the hole they’ve dug themselves into. Your floor mats might be in need of a good wash when it’s all said and done, but it beats being stranded.

15. Take It Slow

Finally, and above all else, if you do find yourself driving in slippery weather, remember to take it slow. Remember, traction is your friend, and speed is the enemy of traction. (And for those of you with four- or all-wheel-drive vehicles remember this: those four wheels are working to get you going, not to help you stop!) 

www.vehiclemd.com 23


Be Safe With...

Wiper blades play a major role in safe driving, and the chances for an accident increase if you can’t see. It’s been reported that 80 percent of accidents are due to poor visibility.

New Windshield Wipers

Stay

SAFE

When the Storm Hits A fresh pair of wiper blades can help you see clearly in winter weather

T

he days of summer are behind us. Fall and winter lie in our path, and with the change of the seasons comes drizzly days and winter flurries. Can you imagine anything worse than a cloudburst that leaves you practically blind? You know the feeling; you turn on your wipers, and they chatter and smear, leaving you with a slightly less appealing situation than those hundreds of raindrops previously on your windshield. Now is the time to check your wiper blades so you won’t be frenzied when the next storm hits. Wiper blades play a major role in safe driving, and the chances for an accident increase if you can’t see. It’s been reported that 80 percent of accidents are due to poor visibility. It’s a fact that drivers rely on visual cues to help them decipher their surroundings and make the necessary decisions. The purpose of wiper blades is simple—and something we all probably know—to keep excessive water, snow or dirt from building up on the windshield and keeping the driver’s line of sight clear. The majority of wiper blades are constructed with a rubber wiping element, which provides optimum friction to clear glass of water. Because rubber is a natural compound, it breaks down for a variety of reasons: 24 VehicleMD

by Tammy Neal VehicleMD Staff Writer

• If you live in high-traffic urban and suburban areas, your windshield

wipers may be exposed to a higher concentration of ozone in the atmosphere. This gas can oxidize the rubber and create cracks in its surface; as these cracks grow, they will allow water to pass through, creating streaks on the windshield. The more streaks that occur, the less visual clarity a driver will have through the windshield.

• Summer’s heat can destroy wiper blades. The windshield of a vehicle can reach temperatures up to 145° F, which slowly “bakes” the rubber wiper blades until they lose their flexibility and crack. This too will cause streaking or “chattering.”

• Cold temperatures also contribute to a wiper’s demise: as the rubber gets harder in cold temperatures and loses its flexibility, it allows water to leak under the rubber surface, “smearing” the surface of the windshield instead of wiping it clean.

Most wiper manufacturers recommend replacing blades every six to 12 months; however, this timeframe can vary depending on where you live. In northern climates that have harsh winters, accumulations of ice


Flat blades provide more uniform pressure distribution across a windshield, giving you superior wiping ability. and snow can damage wiper blades, meaning they may need to be replaced more frequently. Conversely, extreme heat can also increase the deterioration of wiper blades. Also, for vehicles that spend a lot of time on the road and rack up quite a few miles, it is recommended that wipers not go more than 12 months without replacement. After all, even a tiny streak during a test can become a major impairment to your vision during a rainstorm—or this time of year, a snowstorm. What’s New in Wipers? Most drivers are familiar with traditional frame-style wipers. These use a metal frame to stretch a piece of rubber across the windshield, a design largely unchanged since the early 1900s. The last decade, however, has seen the advent of “beam” or “flat” wipers, the first revolutionary change in wiper blade design in more than a century. Flat blades are made from a single piece of curved plastic that sus-

pends the rubber wiping element. The benefit? Flat blades provide more uniform pressure distribution across a windshield, giving you superior wiping ability. They are also smaller and more streamlined than traditional wipers, making them more aesthetically pleasing to many drivers and generating less wind noise. Many models are also designed with a built-in “spoiler” that keeps the blade in close contact with the windshield even at highway speeds. Plus, because they are constructed in one piece, snow does not build up on these blades. That means you won’t have the snow and ice that can sometimes get trapped inside a traditional wiper’s metal frame to worry about. If you drive a newer model vehicle, flat blades might have been installed at the factory. If this is the case, it is suggested that after they are worn, they be replaced with beam blades to ensure wipe quality. If your car didn’t come with beam blades installed, don’t worry. Thanks to adapters found in many blade sets, even vehicles without factoryequipped flat blades can be retrofitted with them. Have your technician inspect your wiper blades now, before bad weather arrives. You might choose to opt for the latest wiper technology to ensure you won’t be straining your eyes to see through the streaks on your windshield when the next storm hits.  www.vehiclemd.com 25


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1. Purchase one of the following qualifying oil change services (please check one) ❏ Purchase a Quaker State® Ultimate Durability™ Full Synthetic motor oil change and receive a $20 rebate. ❏ Purchase a Quaker State® Enhanced Durability™ Synthetic Blend motor oil change and receive a $15 rebate. 2. Complete and print this form. 3. Include your original installer identified and dated cash register receipt showing the required purchase between November 1, 2010 and January 31, 2011. Receipt must specify Quaker State® motor oil was purchased (brand and type required). Mail completed rebate from and original receipt to mailing address below. MAIL TO: Quaker State® Vehicle MD Motor Oil rebate #O236, P.O. Box 809004, Houston, TX 77280-9921. If you do not receive your rebate after 8 weeks, please call 866-707-6737 or visit us at www.ShellRebateCenter.com/quaker_state. Only ONE customer submission per stamped envelope. NOTE: Offer expires January 31, 2011. Purchase must be made between November 1, 2010 – January 31, 2011. Requests must be postmarked by February 15, 2011, and received by February 28, 2011. Limit one rebate per person, household or address. (Rebate offer not available to residents of Rhode Island.) This rebate form and proof-of-purchase submissions may not be mechanically reproduced. An original installer identified and dated cash register receipt showing the required purchase between November 1, 2010 – January 31, 2011, must accompany all forms. Rebate will expire 60 days after issue date. Use of fictitious names, multiple addresses or P.O. boxes to fraudulently obtain additional rebates is a violation of federal law, and may result in prosecution and a term of imprisonment, fine or both. Trading or selling proofs-of-purchase is strictly prohibited. This offer may not be published in any publication without written permission from SOPUS Products. SOPUS Products may cancel, rescind or extend this offer at any time. No rebate will be honored for any club, group, organization or legal entity. Not responsible for lost, late, damaged or postage-due mail. Incomplete or illegible rebate requests will not be honored. All requests will become property of SOPUS Products and will not be returned. Offer valid only in U.S.A. (except for residents of Rhode Island), Puerto Rico and U.S. Military Bases. Cannot be combined with any other Quaker State® offer. Allow 6 to 8 weeks for mailing of your rebate. Void where prohibited by law. ©2010 SOPUS Products. All rights reserved.

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Know Your Stuff

dexos Motor Oil Specification

KNOW YOUR MOTOR OIL:

GM’s New dexos by Garrett McKinnon VehicleMD Staff Writer

I

f you drive a 2011 General Motors vehicle (and if you buy a GM vehicle in coming years), there is or will be a new motor oil in your car or truck. In October of this year, General Motors began licensing motor oil that meets a new proprietary (i.e. GM-only) specification, trademarking that specification/license as “dexos” (the lowercase is, oddly enough, correct). So what does that mean for you, the driver? “First of all, dexos is a motor oil specification, not a recipe,” noted Eric Johnson, senior project engineer with GM Powertrain-North America’s Fuels & Lubricants division. “It’s the first common engine oil specification General Motors has ever developed that will encompass all our companies in all our markets.” While the specification might not be a recipe, it is stringent enough that virtually all motor oil blenders have responded by creating dexos-spec products that are made of synthetic motor oil. That’s right. When it comes time to change your oil, you’ll need to use a synthetic motor oil. That means, for starters, that your oil changes will likely be more expensive than in the past. But it also means you’ll be getting the ultimate in protection, a motor oil that can last the duration of the extended oil change intervals recommended by your Engine Oil Life System (EOLS), the little reminder in your car that tells you when it’s time to change the oil. The dexos specification was first conceived in 2006 and developed in 2007. Motor oil blenders were apprised of the specifics in 2008 and 2009, and informed that in order to meet factory warranty requirements, products meeting the dexos spec would

need to be licensed by GM beginning this year. (There are actually two dexos specifications: dexos-1 for gasoline engines and dexos-2 for diesel engines. For 2011 vehicles, only dexos-1 is being installed at the factory.) According to Johnson, GM had several goals in developing the specification. In addition to creating a common specification that would work across all brands in all markets, GM also wanted a FACT BOX product with improved WHAT IS dexos? fuel economy and fuel If you own a 2011 or newer economy retention General Motors vehicle, you’ll when compared with notice your owners manual existing products. calls for dexos, a special The dexos spec motor oil specification was also designed created by GM. so the motor oil can function as a hydraulic fluid, an increasingly common design element in GM engines that use variable valve timing. And, the company hopes to further “optimize” drain intervals by increasing motor oil robustness through the dexos spec. “When used with the EOLS, we will be able to increase drain intervals and reduce the amount of oil used during the lifetime of a vehicle,” Johnson said. “The EOLS will take into account the better quality of dexos products.” So, the long and short of it is your new GM vehicle will, for warranty purposes, require a new, high-tech synthetic motor oil that will protect your new baby better than ever before. Plus, you’ll likely be able to drive it even further between routine oil changes if you follow the EOLS. True, you might have to pay a little more for your oil change, but in the long run that sounds like a fair trade to us. 

?

2011 GMC Acadia Denali

www.vehiclemd.com 27


C

Know Your Stuff

"Oil Change" iPhone App

is for Check

Keep Your To-Do List Under Control With an “Oil Change” by Tammy Neal VehicleMD Staff Writer

I

t sure feels great to get one of those nagging to-do items crossed off your never-ending list. Of course, it never fails; every couple of months, getting your oil changed makes itself to the top of your list. That’s when you get the call that your daughter’s basketball practice is running 45 minutes late…now what to do? Easy. Reach for your iPhone and get your oil changed. With the “Oil Change” app, you can get your checklist back under control and make use of your extra time. Don’t believe me? How about someone who’s been there and done that? “What I personally found exciting about the app is the idea of it fitting into my life,” said user Chris Roberts of Seattle. “Say I’m going to meet a client and the client calls me to say he’s going to be an hour late, then I have an extra hour of free time. I figure I can do some of the things on my list. One of the things on my list just happens to be getting my oil changed. With this app, it knows where I am, and tells me the closest places (to get an oil change) with the prices. I can call the shop and see what the wait is like. Then, I can go over there, get my oil changed and check—that’s crossed off my list.” Oil Change allows you to find an automotive service center right from your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad without having to drive all over town, make a dozen phone calls or visit website after website. Roberts said the thing he likes best about Oil Change is how easy it is to use. When the app loads, it maps your current location and shows you service centers in your vicinity. This means whether you’re in your usual stomping grounds, completely across town or on the other side of the country, it’s easy to find an automotive service facility near you. 28 VehicleMD

“My girlfriend and I recently drove down to Portland in her car,” Roberts said. “While on our way, if the light came on that we needed an oil change, we would have been able to find a service center in the area. Since I have Oil Change on my phone, I can always find a maintenance shop. It just makes you so knowledgeable, no matter where you are.” The app not only helps make you knowledgeable, but it can also When the app help save you money, as you are loads, it maps able to see instant coupons, deals and incentives from shops in your your current area. Plus, the data is updated by the location and shops in real-time. You’ll never miss another 20-minute special again! shows you If you’re like Roberts, working service centers and texting on your iPhone, when you suddenly remember you need in your vicinity. an oil change—just visit the app store and search for it. That’s where Roberts found Oil Change. “I figured I would just search for an app that could help me with my list,” Roberts said. “I found Oil Change, and it was free. So why not try something that’s free? It has really helped me take care of my car.” Do you need to cross an oil change off your to-do list? As the Apple ads say, “There’s an app for that!” 


Getting your oil changed should be simple.

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Know Your Stuff

Automotive Jargon

by Garrett McKinnon VehicleMD Staff Writer

Learning to Speak “Car”: Automobiles from It’s a fact that any industry develops its own jargon, words and phrases that often seem incoherent to the layperson unfamiliar with them. The same is true of the automotive service industry, whose helpful technicians and service writers often, though usually unintentionally, revert to speaking “car” to customers, using terms most drivers will have never heard.

TO

Following is an “A to Z” of some of the more common terms you might hear bandied about in an automotive service facility, along with what they mean.

A

ATF – Automatic transmission fluid. The fluid that is used in modern automatic transmissions. Acts as a lubricant, a hydraulic fluid and a coolant. Most vehicles will require at least one ATF service during their lifetime. Check your owners manual for the correct interval.

B

C

30 VehicleMD

D

Beam Blade – A new type of wiper blade that uses a preformed plastic frame instead of a metal frame to stretch a wiper blade across a windshield. Beam blades provide uniform wiping pressure and a generally superior wiping action than conventional wiper blades. Many also feature built-in airfoils designed to keep the wiper blades flush with the windshield at highway speeds. 



Cabin Air Filter – A type of filter that removes dust, smog and other airborne contaminants from the air entering your car’s passenger compartment. Generally require replacement every 15,000 miles. Note that some upscale cabin air filters come with a layer of activated charcoal that can even remove odors from the air coming into your car. 



Differential – A device that transfers torque (rotational energy) from the engine to the drive wheels. The differential allows each wheel to turn at a unique speed (crucial when the car is turning) while still supplying equal torque. Most differentials use dedicated gear oil that is heavier than motor oil, and most differentials will require at least one fluid change during a vehicle’s life span. Also known as a final drive unit or colloquially as a “gearbox.” Tip: It is very important to have the differential oil changed if your car has been driven through deep water, as even a little water that finds its way into the differential can cause lasting damage.

E

F

Emissions – The exhaust gas that comes from your vehicle. Many states require emissions testing to ensure vehicles meet clean air

standards. 

 Fuel Injector – A device that sprays a measured amount of fuel into a vehicle’s engine. Most cars on the road today have individual injectors for each engine cylinder. Injectors can, over time, become clogged, restricting the spray pattern and hampering engine performance. Many automotive service facilities can perform a fuel injector cleaning service that will restore performance.


Changing my oil every 3,000 miles has given me 400,000 miles!

Bob Hackler and his 2004 Toyota Tacoma

“I don’t care what the manufacturers are saying about how you can now drive longer between oil changes.

Find a member near you

www.AOCA.org www.aoca.org 800.331.0329

I am sticking with 3,000 mile oil changes because I know it works and my truck is living proof.” Bob Hackler Dallas, Texas

Stay the course...stick with 3,000 mile oil change intervals.


Know Your Stuff

Automotive Jargon A to Z

G

H

I

LOF – Automotive maintenance industry jargon for “lube, oil and filter.” Essentially a basic oil change.

Grease – A thick lubricant that is applied to many components on a car, including wheel bearings, steering shaft, drive shaft and suspension components. Many older vehicles had numerous grease fittings that required fresh grease at every oil change, but most newer vehicles only require grease at one or two spots, if at all.

Interval – The mileage- or datebased requirement at which a maintenance service should be performed. Maintenance intervals vary by manufacturer, model and vehicle usage. Most automakers recommend a routine oil change every few thousand miles or several months. Check your owners manual for the correct maintenance intervals for your vehicle.

J

K

M

Headlight Restoration – A service offered by many automotive repair and maintenance facilities that can help drivers see better at night. Over time, sunlight, atmospheric ozone and road grit can combine to oxidize the plastic headlight lenses used on most cars. This service removes that yellow haze, improving not only the vehicle’s appearance, but also the headlights’ effectiveness.

Jounce – The action of bouncing, specifically the compression stroke of a shock absorber. It is the opposite of “rebound.”

O

Nitrogen Tire Inflation – The increasingly common practice of inflating vehicle tires with pure nitrogen. Used by the heavyduty trucking industry for years, nitrogen does not leak from a tire as rapidly as regular compressed air. In addition, by removing oxygen from the inside of the tire, oxidation of steel, aluminum, rubber, etc. is reduced, increasing tire life.

Oil Pan – A thin-walled container at the bottom of an engine where oil is stored before being filtered and pumped back inside the engine. Most oil is drained from the oil pan by removing the drain plug. 



Knock – The premature detonation of the fuel/air mixture in an engine’s cylinder, generally caused by using gasoline whose octane level is too low for the engine. Most vehicles today use anti-knock sensors to control the phenomenon. Tip: If your car calls for “premium” gasoline, don’t skimp by buying regular. The lower octane rating can make your engine knock or decrease its power.

32 VehicleMD

Multipoint Inspection – A comprehensive inspection of a vehicle’s main systems. Most automotive maintenance facilities perform these inspections, which can cover anywhere from a dozen to several dozen components and fluid levels, as part of a full-service oil change. Many times, technicians conducting a multipoint inspection can find problems early, allowing customers to take corrective action before a very expensive repair is needed.

P

PCV Valve – Positive crankcase ventilation valve. A one-way valve that ensures gases are evacuated from inside a vehicle’s engine crankcase and fed back into the air entering the engine, reducing emissions from the vehicle. A plugged or malfunctioning PCV system will eventually damage an engine, which is why many automakers recommend periodic replacement of the PCV valve. Check your owners manual for the correct interval. 




V

Variable Valve Timing – Also known as VVT. A system that uses a computer to automatically alter the valve timing (i.e. the rate at which the valves open and close) of an engine to produce maximum efficiency.

Quadrant – The gearshift selector indicator of an automatic transmission, usually marked “PRNDL”.

R

Radiator Flush – A service offered by many automotive maintenance and repair facilities that uses a machine to forcefully extract, or flush, old coolant from a vehicle’s engine and radiator. New coolant is then forced throughout the system, ensuring that most old, spent coolant will be replaced. Also called a coolant flush.

S

Serpentine Belt – A rubber or composite belt that wraps around the various accessories on a vehicle’s engine (i.e. power steering pump, air conditioner compressor, alternator, etc.) and uses engine torque to power these components. Most serpentine belts will require replacement at least once during a vehicle’s life span. 



T

TPMS – Tire Pressure Monitoring System. A government-mandated safety system that constantly monitors the tire pressure on latemodel vehicles and alerts drivers if tire pressure falls below a safe threshold. The TPMS usually has to be reset with a special tool or procedure after a vehicle’s tires are removed for service.



U

U-Joint – A flexible U-shaped connector that ties two shafts together but allows the shafts to change angles. Most often used to tie a driveshaft to a differential or drive wheels. Short for “universal joint.”

W

Water-Repellent Glass Treatment – A service that applies a thin coat of water-repellent chemical to a vehicle’s windshield, allowing water to more easily be wiped or blown away and improving vision. 



X

?

X – You didn’t really think we’d be able to come up with something for this, did you?

Y

Z

Y-Connector – A connector in the shape of a “Y” that usually splits one line (i.e. a windshield washer fluid line) into two.

Zerk – A grease fitting where grease is added to a vehicle. 

www.vehiclemd.com 33


THE BACK PAGE

CARS

by the

NUMBERS

1905 – year the windshield wiper

10 – percent of vehicles on the road

15 – percent of vehicles on the road

330 – number of original Volks-

was patented—by a woman named Mary Anderson that need new license plate lights*

$3,000 – what a new Buick Le Sabre cost in 1960

$28,500 – average price of a new car in 2010

29 – number of weeks an American family has to work to earn enough to afford a new car

with an illuminated “Check Engine” light*

26.4 – seconds that elapse be-

1,445.7 – miles driven in a Ford

tween car thefts in the United States, on average

1897 – year the first auto insurance policy was purchased (in Westfield, Massachusetts)

27 – percent of vehicles on the road with low, overfull or dirty motor oil*

$5,000 – upper range for what a new vehicle engine can cost

4 – number of registered automo-

$34 – what an average oil change

254.4 million – number of

40 – number of milliseconds it

biles in the United States in 1895

registered passenger vehicles in the United States in 2007

34 VehicleMD

Fusion Hybrid on a single 17-gallon tank of gas by a team of eco-drivers in 2009 (an average of 81.5 mpg)

2.8 million – miles driven

by Irv Gordon in a 1966 Volvo1800S, a world record for highest mileage in one vehicle (Irv has owned the car since new and never had to replace the engine, crediting frequent maintenance!)

90 –

The Garden State Parkway in New Jersey were supposed to have been paid off and the toll booths taken down

$2.21 million – price of the most expensive car in 2010 (the Koenigsegg Trevita limited edition supercar)

ticket was issued (early on cities used police officers on bicycles to chase speeding motorists)

1959 – year the toll roads on the

that need new tires*

wagen Beetles sold in the U.S. its first year

1902 – year the first speeding

percent of car owners who admit to singing while behind the wheel

9 – percent of vehicles on the road

costs

takes for an airbag to inflate after an accident

238,857 – average distance in

miles between the Earth and Moon (meaning Irv Gordon has driven a distance equivalent to nearly six round trips to the Moon!)

46 – average speed in miles per

hour of the winning driver in the first “Grand Prix” auto race, held in 1901 *According to the Car Care Council


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©2010 Safety-Kleen Systems, Inc.


www.lubegard.com


VMD_2010-4