• How to Know When to Change Your Oil At Bob & Dave’s Garage

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    Today in the Bob & Dave’s Garage auto care blog, we’re going to talk about oil change intervals. It seems that as engine technology advances, recommended oil change intervals have gotten longer for Bob & Dave’s Garage customers. High quality oil in a well-engineered vehicle engine has lead to extended intervals. But it’s also lead to some confusion among Wyoming motorists.

    The old mantra “change your oil every three months or three thousand miles, whichever comes first” once applied to every vehicle on Wyoming expressways. Time and miles take their toll on motor oil. But now, you could have a different oil change recommendation for every car or truck you own.

    Wyoming motorists are like everybody else, they have a tendency to follow the oil change schedule of the vehicle with the longest interval. Of course, that can lead to problems. How to Know When to Change Your Oil At Bob & Dave's GarageFor example, recently four of the world’s largest car makers shortened the published intervals for several of their engine models. They originally published intervals that extended out to a much as 8,000 miles.

    In real world Wyoming driving, the oil started to sludge up before the recommended change interval. Oil sludge is a thick jelly-like substance. Quite literally petroleum jelly – like Vaseline. This goop was clogging vehicle small engine passages so the oil wouldn’t flow to some parts of the engine. This resulted in engine damage. We see it too often at Bob & Dave’s Garage in Wyoming.

    The car makers began to offer an extended warranty to cover sludge damage. But there was a catch: the vehicle owner had to follow a new, lower service interval, and provide proof of oil changes in order to make a warranty claim.

    So here’s the bottom line: with longer oil change intervals, it’s essential to follow them closely. Back in the day of 3 months or 3,000 miles, if you went an extra month or an extra thousand miles, your oil was still fresh enough that it didn’t have time to build up much sludge.

    But if your recommended interval is 6,500 miles and you go over another thousand, you’re getting into heavy sludge territory. You absolutely need to follow mileage intervals very closely. And don’t forget your severe service schedule. If you do a lot of stop and go driving in Michigan, short trips, drive in dusty or polluted Wyoming conditions, hot or cold weather, or haul heavy loads, you’re driving in severe service conditions. Your Bob & Dave’s Garage advisor can help you determine which schedule to follow.

    So check your vehicle owner’s manual or talk with your Bob & Dave’s Garage service advisor about where and how you drive in Wyoming. Should you change your oil closer to the regular schedule, or the severe service schedule? You need to make the call.

    Let me give you an example of this. Some newer vehicles have an oil change indicator. It has a sophisticated computer algorithm that tracks number of cold starts, engine temperature, RPMs, mileage, and many more variables to come up with a recommendation for when to change the oil.

    Depending on driving conditions, the indicator in one test vehicle came on at anywhere from 2,500 miles to almost 7,000 miles. It’s typically just over 4,000 miles. Clearer sometimes, we’re driving easy miles that are easy on the vehicle – like a long road trip. Sometimes, we’re driving hard Michigan miles – like towing a heavy trailer or a lot of around town driving. But, usually, it’s a combination of both.

    Once again, it’s up to you to make the call as to when to change your oil at Bob & Dave’s Garage to protect your vehicle engine. Another place where Michigan motorists can go wrong is with the type of oil they use. More and more new cars are coming to Wyoming owners filled with synthetic oil. Without going into a lot of detail right now, let’s just say that synthetic oil lasts longer and is very resistant to oil sludge.

    But it also costs quite a bit more, so some Wyoming people are tempted to use conventional oil for their oil changes. Now, it’s always best to use the oil recommended by your manufacturer. Check your owner’s manual see if a conventional oil alternative is allowed.

    But getting back to the problem, if your vehicle came from the factory with synthetic oil, the recommended oil change interval is for synthetic oil. If you use conventional oil, you can’t use the synthetic interval. You need to shorten it.

  • Bob & Dave’s Garage Guide To Using the Correct Fluids in Your Vehicle

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    Today’s Bob & Dave’s Garage post focuses on using the proper fluids for your vehicle. Big advances in automotive technology have lead to the development of high-tech fluids to keep pace. Some because of engineering advances and others, advances in the materials used to build vehicle automotive systems.

    A simple example of this is the cooling system. For decades it was primarily made out of iron, steel and rubber hoses. There was one kind of coolant that protected these components from corrosion.

    Now cooling system components are made with various metal alloys and plastics. These materials require different additives to protect them from corrosion. Since the materials used vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, we now have a number of different kinds of coolant.

    And it’s important that Wyoming car owners use the right coolant. Bob & Dave's Garage Guide To Using the Correct Fluids in Your VehicleIf you pour in the wrong kind, it won’t protect the cooling system and may even void the warranty. Check your vehicle owner’s manual. Of course, your Bob & Dave’s Garage advisor will know the proper coolant to use.

    Brake fluid is confusing for some Wyoming drivers. Back when we opened shop 55 years ago, most vehicles used Dot 3 brake fluid. Now we have Dot 4 and Dot 5. Some Wyoming people mistakenly think the higher numbers are an upgrade. You know, if 3 is good then 4 must be better. That’s not how it works. They are different formulations to meet the demands of differences in brake systems. Only one of them is recommended for your vehicle.

    Transmission fluid is the same thing. For decades there were two basic types of tranny fluid used at Bob & Dave’s Garage: friction modified or not. With the tremendous engineering advances in vehicle automatic transmissions, there have been several new types of fluids developed to protect and lubricate them.

    Nowhere are the advances in automotive fluids more evident to Wyoming motorists and Bob & Dave’s Garage professionals than in motor oil. Many new weights and formulations have been created to meet the demands of today’s modern vehicle engine design. Modern engines have more parts and much tighter tolerances. Every year, engines make more power and get better fuel economy. And with all the complication and sophistication, they still have to be durable.

    That’s where the new grades of engine oil come in. They have to be formulated to lubricate, protect and clean all of those vehicle engine parts, big and little. The oil has to be thin enough to get into little passages, yet resistant to vaporization.

    At Bob & Dave’s Garage, we believe that in some ways modern automotive fluids are just as great feats of engineering as the new engines. Because weights of oil and types of coolant and transmission fluid are so carefully matched to the vehicle, take care to always use the proper fluid if you are topping off at home.

    Check your vehicle owner’s manual or ask your Wyoming service advisor.
    The wrong fluid can cause damage. If you drive a car or truck with 75,000 miles or more, consider high mileage formulations. These fluids contain extra detergent to clean dirtier older engines as well as additives to condition seals and gaskets. That’ll help prevent leaks. Always be sure that the high mileage fluid is the same weight or type of fluid recommended for your vehicle.

  • Automobile Fluids For Your vehicle

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    If you’ve walked through the automotive fluids of an auto parts store in Wyoming, you’ll know how overwhelming the sheer number of products available can be. How do you know what’s right for your vehicle?

    As you know, these fluids all serve a function in making your car run as you drive around the Wyoming area. Your vehicle manufacturer has specified a particular type of fluid for every system from the motor, to the cooling system, brake fluid and so on. When you realize that not every variation is applicable to your vehicle, the task becomes more manageable.

    First let’s talk about why there are so many varieties. Starting with motor oil, we see that manufacturers match the properties of a particular weight or type of oil with the design needs of the engine. For example, engines with sophisticated valve trains often require a thinner weight of oil.

    Some vehicles around Wyoming come from the factory filled with synthetic oil and the recommendation to use it for life. The safe bet is to always use what the factory recommends. The recommendation is what’s been proven to work in function and durability tests. The recommended oil is also a factor in determining oil change interval schedules.

    Wyoming Michigan Auto Fluids A good quality oil has more additives that are engineered to clean and protect the engine. They cost a bit more, but are worth the extra protection. If you buy budget oil, you might want to consider shortening your oil change interval.

    Sometimes fluids are developed specifically to meet the needs of a particular family of engines. An example would be coolant. Because of the different materials used to build the cooling system, the coolant has to be formulated to protect those parts, which vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, from corrosion. We’ve seen special coolant in Wyoming for General Motors, Volkswagen, Chrysler and others.

    The same is true of transmission fluid and brake fluid in recent years.

    The really good news is that your Wyoming service center has databases that tell them the recommended fluids for your vehicle. This takes all the guess work out. If you have some special needs, like a higher mileage engine or want enhanced performance, ask your service advisor for upgrades or additives that’ll meet your needs while being consistent with the manufacturer’s recommendations.

    Of course, your full-service oil change will top off your fluids. But it’s a good idea to have some of everything at home in case you need to top something off yourself or to take on a trip. Ask your Wyoming service advisor at Bob & Dave’s Garage or check your owner’s manual for fluid specifications.

    It’s important to know that there are national warranty laws that say that a manufacturer cannot require you to use their brand of fluid to maintain your warranty. That said, there are two things that may affect your warranty.

    Using the wrong type of fluid may void the warranty. Going back to radiator coolant, the correct type protects against corrosion and the wrong type will not. So it’s important to be right.

    Also some warranty protections are conditioned on taking care of scheduled preventive maintenance. Please review your warranty if you have questions.

  • Proper Fluids for Your Vehicle

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    We would like to give you an update on some of the things happening in automotive fluids.

    You know, cars are becoming more

    sophisticated everyday – and fluids such as, oil, coolant

    and transmission fluid are becoming more specialized at about the same pace.

    The do-it-yourselfer has to be pretty careful so that they do not actually harm their vehicle with the wrong type of fluid.

    That is why so many Michigan car owners rely on the advice of their service consultant to not only get the correct family of fluids, but to suggest the formulation that

    is best for their car and the way they drive.

    Let’s start with engine oil.

    If you have been paying attention, you will have noticed a number of new oil weights on the scene in the last several years.

    Modern engines are built to much tighter tolerances and have very complicated valve trains.   The oil must be thin enough to lubricate complicated parts when the engine is cold.

      The weight of an oil is expressed in terms like 20-W-50 or 5-W-30.

    Manufacturers recommend the weight of oil for each vehicle they make.

    The recommendation is based on engine design.

    Your Wyoming service center will know what weight your manufacturer recommends – and it’s important to follow those recommendations.

    A service adviser at Bob & Dave’s Garage can also offer suggestions for special formulations and can explain conventional

    and synthetic oils.

    Antifreeze, or engine coolant, is another area that has become more complicated. For a long time, m

    anufacturers only called for a couple of different types of coolant. Now there are several different formulations that are needed because of the

    different materials that manufacturers are using to build the cooling system.

    Using the wrong type of coolant can actually void your warranty, so you want to get that right.

    Transmission fluid is beginning to be specialized as well.

    New transmission designs have particular requirements that mandate the use of specific formulations.

    Recently, new, somewhat confusing, standards for brake fluid have also been released.

    Not too long ago, there was a good chance that all of the vehicles at your house would use many of the same fluids.

    However, as automotive technology advances, the array of basic automotive fluids you need will grow.

    And, some of the formulations will cost a little more. Fortunately, your Wyoming service center will continue to update their training to keep pace with technology so that you’ ll get the right fluids your car needs.

    It’s all part of the commitment your service center makes to your driving peace of mind.