Oshkosh Drivers Severe Service Maintenance Schedules
Posted January 1, 2013 12:00 PM
Since driving requirements and lifestyles differ among Oshkosh drivers, your vehicle manufacturer publishes two auto maintenance schedules: the regular schedule and the severe service schedule. Which schedule should Oshkosh drivers follow? Here are some questions to ask yourself:
Are most of your trips less than four miles/six kilometers around Oshkosh? Are most of your trips less than 10 miles/16 kilometers in below-zero Wisconsin temps? Are most of your trips off-highway in Wisconsin? Do you drive often in dusty Oshkosh areas? Do you regularly tow a trailer or carry heavy loads around Oshkosh? Do you drive in very hot or very cold Wisconsin weather?
Think about your typical week. Do you live by your nearest Oshkosh on-ramp and enjoy a non-stop commute? Or, do you drive the neighborhood car pool in stop-and-go traffic on Oshkosh surface streets?
Let's suppose your owner's manual says the severe service oil change recommendation is 3,000 miles/5,000 kilometers and the standard recommendation is 5,000 miles/8,000 kilometers. You know that you need to change the oil somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000 miles/5,000 and 8,000 kilometers. Analyze your driving patterns and Oshkosh weather and road conditions to determine which end of the spectrum you're closer to.
Why should Oshkosh residents care about this? Normal condensation causes moisture accumulation in the engine oil. Short trips around Oshkosh or winter driving means that the engine doesn't heat up enough for the moisture to evaporate. The water in the oil turns to oil sludge that clogs up your engine and doesn't let the oil protect it adequately. That's why Wisconsin residents need to change their oil more often – to clean the sludge out before it causes problems.
Carrying heavy loads (with or without a trailer) in Wisconsin summer weather causes your engine and transmission to run at higher temperatures and with more stress. The fluids will break down more quickly. Additives that clean and prevent corrosion will be depleted sooner. Air pollution and dust cause fluids to get dirty faster. Ditto for filters. All of these things can lead to premature wear and eventual repairs. If you want some expert advice, talk with your friendly and knowledgeable Auto Authority LLC service advisor. We can help you restore your vehicle to good working order and help you know the best schedule to follow.
Using Proper Fluids In Your sedan Or Other Vehicle
Posted December 28, 2012 12:00 PM
Today The Auto Authority LLC is talking about the proper fluids for your vehicle. It's become more complicated with changes in automotive design and manufacturing. It's not that people in Wisconsin are confused as much as they don't realize how much things have changed in recent years.
If you have questions about the fluids in your vehicle, please don't hesitate to stop by The Auto Authority LLC. You can find us on 804 Witzel Ave in Oshkosh, Wisconsin 54902. Just give us a call at 920-231-1016
Let's take engine oil. Twenty or thirty years ago, there were just a handful of different weights of oil. The weight of an oil is a scientific measure of its properties, particularly its viscosity or thickness.
It was common in those days to use a lighter weight oil in the winter when it's cold outside. That way the oil would be able to splash around inside the engine and protect the parts before it was fully warmed up. And a heavier weight oil would be used in the summer. The thicker oil wouldn't thin out too much in the summer heat and vaporize in the engine.
Modern valve trains have become very complicated with more moving parts and small passages than ever before. The valve train is in the top of the engine, so when the car has been turned off for a while, the oil tends to run down to lower areas and the valve train parts are vulnerable at start-up, before the oil starts circulating.
So new weights of oil have been introduced to meet the engineering specifications of these newer engines.
Manufacturers are recommending specific weights of oil. The recommendation is often printed on the oil fill cap. It's certainly in the owner's manual. Of course, your Oshkosh Wisconsin auto service center can look it up for you.
It's more important than ever to have the correct weight of oil. The wrong weight could actually harm the engine.
Other fluids are also becoming more sophisticated. In the last few years new types of transmission, power brake fluid and coolant have all been introduced for some of the same reasons as for engine oil.
In addition, vehicle manufacturers are now using a wider variety of materials in these systems. Looking at the cooling system as an example, it used to be that the parts were all made out of steel or iron and the hoses were rubber. Now, some parts are plastic, aluminum or other materials.
So the anti-corrosion additives contained in the coolant, or anti-freeze, need to be different in order to protect the different materials used to make the cooling system. If you use the wrong coolant that wasn't formulated to protect your plastic cooling system parts, they could become corroded and fail. And if you're using the wrong coolant, your cooling system won't be covered under warrantee. So it's important to use the right coolant and to not mix different types.
Your owner's manual or your Oshkosh Wisconsin service advisor at The Auto Authority LLC can make sure you're using the right type. You may have heard of universal coolant. Universal, or global, coolant can be added to other types without harmful reactions. That's OK for an emergency top off, but following your manufacturer's recommendation for your sedan or other auto type is always a safe bet.
In the area of brake fluid, there are a couple of new formulations. It's important to remember that the new ones aren't better than the old ones. They're just different formulations for different vehicles. So if your vehicle calls for DOT 3, using DOT 4 or DOT 5 is not an upgrade. Use the recommended formula.
There are fluid formulations for vehicles with higher mileage. These are special engine oil, transmission fluid, and so on that contain additives to condition and restore seals and gaskets in older engines.
They're fine to use as long as they're a variant of the proper fluid. In other words you can use a high mileage engine oil as long as it's also the correct weight recommended by the manufacturer. Same goes for transmission fluid; as long as it's the right type for your transmission.
Fall and Spring Checkup in Oshkosh
Posted December 20, 2012 12:00 PM
When I was a kid, my dad always made sure he took the cars in for Spring and Fall checkups. I was telling a friend that it's about time to get into Auto Authority LLC for a checkup and he said that he read on the internet that modern cars don't need seasonal service.
My friend is (technically) right about some things, but from a practical standpoint, a seasonal check up still makes sense.
Back when my dad was teaching me about how to take care of the family vehicle, most of them used a different weight of oil in the winter and in the summer. But most of today's modern engines run the same oil year round. High-tech engines and high-tech motor oils are better able to handle the seasonal changes.
Your owner's manual or Oshkosh service advisor at Auto Authority LLC can tell you the right oil to use.
Of course, you're concerned about the coolant or antifreeze. You don't want to overheat in the Wisconsin summer or freeze up in the winter. Your engine cooling system protects against both of these things. And modern coolant — 'antifreeze' as it's sometimes called — is up to doing both very well. It's designed to last for longer distances than most people drive in a year or two.
So how does a Spring and Fall check-up fit in? Let's start with Spring. Summer is coming. That means heat, more driving and road trips. It just makes sense to check your fluid levels and do a visual inspection to see that everything is up to snuff.
You may not be scheduled to drain and replace the coolant for some time, but you need to make sure you have enough coolant and that you don't have any leaks or hoses that are about to fail.
That's pretty practical: a check-up to see if there are any problems or emerging conditions that could later become a problem, like a cracked belt.
And the same principle applies for getting ready for winter. Cold weather means lots of failed batteries. It takes more power to crank up a cold engine, and cold also decreases the available cranking power the battery has available.
So a battery test in the Fall could tell you if you've got a battery that is running on its last legs. And of course, if you live where winter temperatures get below 45 degrees F (7 degrees C) or you have ice and snow, you'll want to consider changing to winter tires.
So Spring and Fall auto checkups at Auto Authority LLC are practical reminders to get ready for the demands of the hot and cold seasons to come.
And odds are that you have one or more routine services that are due anyway. Like a transmission service, brake or power steering fluid, differential service — stuff like that. Are your wiper blades still good? Are your headlamps starting to dim?
So Spring and Fall, change your clocks, replace the batteries in your smoke detectors and get a check-up for your cars.
See, dad was right again.
Come and see us at Auto Authority LLC for your Spring and Fall automotive checkup.
Lease? Or buy? It's always a tough question for residents in the Oshkosh area. But here are a few ideas that'll make the choice more clear.
Either option gives you a choice of how you might finance your car. If you buy, you'll pay the full cost of the car, with maybe an initial down payment, then monthly payments on the balance that pays down the loan principal, and the finance charge.
If you lease, you're financing the portion of the cost of the car that's used up during the term of the lease. When the lease is up, you return the car to your local Oshkosh area dealership. You'll pay some money upfront; fees, security deposit, first month's payment and maybe a capital reduction. The month payments include a depreciation cost and a finance charge.
So how do you decide?
First, how big a down payment can you make? A lease would require a smaller down.
How much monthly payment can you afford? Again, lease payments will be much lower for any given down payment.
A lease needs you to have better credit, so that's a factor.
How long will you keep the car? If you tend to keep your cars around for a while, buying is cheaper. But just two or three years? Then leasing is the way to go.
If your car might suffer a ding or two, like, say a work truck would, then buying's better. The leasing company will want their merchandise back at the lease end in tip top shape, and if repairs are needed, you'll pay.
How many miles do you drive in and around the Oshkosh area? Important to consider because leases have a mileage limit, and if you go over, you pay a hefty charge per mile when the lease is up. So high mileage means a buy.
Will the car be used for business? Check with your accountant, but both financing options have different tax benefits, depending on your circumstances.
Over the short term, leasing is much cheaper. Medium term, leasing and buying costs are about the same. Over the long haul, leasing is always costs more.
Leases may sound a bit complicated, and the typical lease decision weighs more on the monthly payment, rather than price. So sometimes leasers may pay on a higher purchase price than a buyer would.
Here is a tip: If a salesman asks if you'll be leasing or buying, say you're not sure yet. Make your best deal, then look at financing options.
Here's another: With a buy or a lease, if you total the car, you'll owe the full amount of the loan, or the balance of the lease payments, and usually, it's less than the car's fair market value – and that's all your insurance company will pay. But ask your agent about gap insurance, which pays the difference between fair market value and what you owe. Big consideration for a lease.
Remember, you have to return your leased vehicle in excellent condition, and may need to do all manufacturer's recommended service and maintenance, or face penalties. So see your local Oshkosh service center on a regular basis, get the required work done and save the service records. It's well worth it.
Tire Replacement: What Oshkosh Drivers Need to Know
Posted December 7, 2012 12:00 PM
Looking at getting some new tires? Maybe the real reason for wanting those off-highway tires is that they look cool. Well there's nothing wrong with that. If you make sure that you've got your functional needs covered with your selection, then you can have some fun with where you go from there.
Let's suppose you zip around Oshkosh in a sporty car. You may like to run a high-performance summer tire when the weather's good. When Wisconsin weather turns cold, you can put on high-performance winter tires. For the kind of driving you like to do, you want full-on performance tires. All-season tires are naturally a compromise that works well for most Oshkosh drivers, but since you have a choice, go for dedicated summer and winter tires.
When it's time for new tires, visit with a knowledgeable Auto Authority LLC tire professional. Describe your needs and wants. He'll come up with some selections for you to discuss. And once you settle on a type of tire, there are options for special needs: like pulling a trailer or carrying heavy loads.
Tires are one of the biggest purchases for Oshkosh drivers. With so many choices, you'll be able to get what's best for you. Take your time. And don't worry about what's in stock. If you want something that isn't here at Auto Authority LLC, we can order it. Chances are you'll be rolling on your new tires in a couple of days.