08 April 2013

GM alerts 779,000 owners for more-frequent oil changes

General Motors is warning owners of almost 800,000 2010-12 vehicles that they may need oil changes more frequently than their onboard oil monitoring systems are telling them.

We had four vehicles last week alone come in with engine damage caused by low or overdue oil changes.  We had even more come in with very low oil, but escaped without damage for now. No manufacturer was immune. 

There is a growing trend to extend the time and mileage between oil changes. I've heard as long as a year or 20k miles! In a few late model vehicles following the manufacturer's recommendations using the exact full synthetic oil specified, you may be ok.  But going longer on older models and using the cheap petroleum oil you get with most quick change places will simply shorten the life of your engine. 

Looking at it another way, do you really want to go a full year without anyone looking at your vehicle?  Remember full-service gas stations? They would look at your oil every fill-up. Today, vehicles rarely get a peek between oil changes. What happens when a car starts burning or leaking oil? Most late model cars have shields that catch leaks before the oil hits the ground. The first sign of a problem can be the clattering of lifters which may be too late. 

Granted today's cars are better made than 30 years ago, but if you wait a year between check ups, your chances of being stranded or wasting big bucks on needless repairs is much greater, especially as the car ages. I like to look at all my cars every three months. None of my cars are new (all over 100K) and only one is driven by me, meaning I may never hear about a problem until I look at it. I use a full synthetic oil just in case I can't get one of them in on time.  

Yesterday, my daughter, away at school, found herself stranded with a dead battery. Unfortunately she didn't bring the car home for spring break, which would have been about 3 months.  More than likely we would have caught the weak battery and replaced it. It's not just about the oil; cracked belts, uneven tire wear, soft hoses, various leaks, and yes, weak batteries, can be caught before finding yourself stranded. We can't predict everything, but we can significantly reduce risk.  

An indication of how strongly we feel about the importance of engine oil, we use a longer-lasting synthetic-blend oil priced the same or less than what competing quick change shops charge for their base petroleum oil. Check out their price for synthetic-blend to get a real feel for our value. We won't get rich and you won't go broke, but your engine will last longer.

Read more about GM's alert at: http://www.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130405/RETAIL05/130409922/gm-alerts-779000-owners-to-need-for-more-frequent-oil-changes&cciid=email-autonews-daily#ixzz2Pp6mW8KM 


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