Newer vehicles today are being sold with the misconception that they are maintenance free. As an example, the manufacturers have extended the life of oil changes to every 7,500 up to as many as 15,000 miles, instead of what has always been the automotive industry standard of every 3,000 miles.
Transmission services have been extended to every 100,000 miles — or some now even have “lifetime fluids” that never needs changed.
Manufacturers suggest that coolant that has been changed over to an extended life coolant is supposed to last up to 100,000 or even 150,000 miles.
Keep in mind that our vehicles are machines, just like before. Though they are more computer-controlled every year, they are still driver-operated, and they are still a machine. I have personally not seen a machine or a computer yet that did not need maintenance, updating or repair.
While engine oils have improved in quality in the last 10 to 20 years, they still get dirty! Waiting to have your oil changed every 7,500 to 15,000 miles just adds to the amount of dirt/particulate that the fluid suspends. When dirty oil is being used in your vehicle, a product we call sludge which is a buildup of particulate matter, can start accumulating. This will accumulate inside the oil pan, the valve train area, and in worst cases in the engine oil galleys. This sludge can cause a restriction or starvation of the oil getting to the internal moving parts of the engine, causing engine damage.
In our next month’s article we will talk more about whether vehicles are really maintenance free and what type of oil is best for your vehicle.
Karen Johnston, AUTO REPAIR INSIDER
All About Automotive
139 NW 2nd Street
Gresham, OR 97030
Steve and Karen Johnston are owners of All About Automotive, providing auto repair and auto maintenance in Historic Downtown Gresham. If you have questions or comments, call them at 503-465-2926 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.