Archive for January 2022

Conventional or Synthetic? (Switching to Synthetic Oil)

Posted January 30, 2022 10:52 AM

If you keep up on technology trends, then you may be intrigued about synthetic motor oil.  It was introduced in the 1960s when Mobil came up with it.  Mobil's oil was different from conventional motor oil because it was first broken down to its basic molecules.  Then, Mobil removed additional impurities from crude oil and "tailored them to the demands of modern engines."

Synthetic oil is becoming more popular now because of its advantages over conventional oil. It's more resistant to sludge forming in an engine.  It is more efficient and protects engines better under temperature extremes.  Because it allows drivers to go longer between oil changes, many feel it's more convenient. 

The downside is that synthetic oil is more expensive, but because it doesn't need changing as often, the cost can be pretty comparable in the long run.

Those who drive high performance vehicles (think Audi, BMW, Mercedes) are already using synthetic oil if they're following their manufacturer's guidelines.  Other manufacturers recommend a synthetic blend.  So for those who are using conventional oil, you may want to consult your service advisor for some recommendations if you want to switch to synthetic. 

If you're the type who always waits until the last-minute or doesn't ever get in quite in time for the recommended oil change interval, the longer gap required between changes with synthetic oil may appeal to you.  In some cases, you can go up to 15,000 miles/24,000 km between changes. 

If you drive in a very cold climate, synthetic oil can flow more easily at startup and may offer quicker engine protection.  On the other hand, in hot climates, synthetic oil can resist heat breakdown better.

Or you may be one of those drivers who have been getting along fine with conventional oil changes.  Millions do.  Just remember that changing your oil is considered the most important maintenance you can do on your vehicle, so make sure it's done at the right time and with the oil that best suits your driving needs.

Auto Authority LLC
804 Witzel Ave
Oshkosh, Wisconsin 54902
920-231-1016
http://www.autoauthorityoshkosh.com



How Tired Are Your Tires? (Tire replacement)

Posted January 23, 2022 7:52 AM

Of the things you think about most, your tires are probably pretty far down the list. That’s understandable because today’s tires are engineered to do their job without needing you to pay too much attention to them. But they DO wear out, and worn tires can contribute to skidding in bad weather, not being able to stop, a ride full of uncomfortable vibrations and, even a sudden blowout. Yikes. Let’s figure out right now how to know if your tires need replacing!

Let’s face it. Most of us don’t know the first thing about tires. So, the best way to make sure what shape yours are in is to take your vehicle to a qualified service facility to have the tires checked out by a trained technician.  Here are things they’ll check:

  • Tread.  Tread is the part of the tire that touches the road surface.  Different tires have different tread patterns and something called tread blocks - the raised rubber parts that contact the road. The longer a tire has been on a vehicle, the more of that rubber wears off.  The technician will check to see if there’s enough of that tread left on your tire for sufficient traction to accelerate, steer, and brake.
  • Pressure. It’s important your tires be inflated properly so your tires will perform the way they’re designed while driving.  If your tires have low air pressure, the technician will check to see why, perhaps cracks in the sidewall from age, a nail in the rubber picked up on the road, or bulges. It’s also important your tires are not overinflated too.
  • Wear.  Your tires should wear evenly.  If they haven’t, the uneven wear can cause vibrations that you can feel in the steering wheel.  Maybe the whole vehicle shakes at a certain speed.  Your vehicle may require other services such as balancing, alignment, or suspension repairs to prevent future tire damage.
  • Age.  Your tires may have adequate tread, but if they’re too old, it’s time for new. Rubber gets old, and when it does, it loses its elasticity.  Ever find an old rubber band and tried to stretch it? It’s brittle and will break easily. Hotter climates will age rubber—and tires—faster. All tires have their date of manufacture stamped on them, so your service adviser will be able to see when your tires were made.

If it’s time to replace your tires, you’ll find you have many choices for new ones: different brands, models, designs, etc.  Your service adviser can help you figure out which ones are right for you. It’s much better—and safer—to do it before one of them fails at the least opportune time.

Auto Authority LLC
804 Witzel Ave
Oshkosh, Wisconsin 54902
920-231-1016
http://www.autoauthorityoshkosh.com



The Red Menace (How to Deal with Rust)

Posted January 16, 2022 8:11 AM

Rust.  It's worse if you drive in places that use salt on the roads in winter, or if you spend time driving near a body of salt water.  But any vehicle has to deal with rust after years on the road.  And it's not just that rust can eat away your vehicle's body and fenders.  It can be a real problem around your suspension, drivetrain or any place where there's metal.

Rust takes its time.  You don't see it until it's already done its dirty work.  It can wreak havoc with your electrical system.  Sure, vehicle manufacturers do their best to keep it to a minimum, but especially with road treatments like brine around, their task is a difficult one.

The one spot everyone notices is in the paint.  You see a little bubbling under the once-smooth surface.  By the time it bubbles, it's well involved in rotting away that spot of your vehicle.  You wouldn't believe how just a little thing can start the process on its way.  A stone chips the paint down to the metal, moisture and salt reach the steel and rust is off and running.  It could be a scratch in the paint, a little dent, acid from a parking garage, tree sap, you name it.  If you spot it, show it to your service advisor because rust can be more than a cosmetic problem.  It can be a safety issue.

While you can see the rust destroy your vehicle's body, you can't see it destroying your engine.  But it can.  It can eat away at such areas as air intakes or the exhaust system.  Not only can it reduce performance, but also it can disable electrical connections.  In this day and age where just about everything in your vehicle has a computer component to it, just a small electrical problem can strand you at the roadside.

Corrosion can attack your vehicle's chassis or frame, and they are what provide the structural strength and stability for everything attached.  Think powertrain, suspension, axles, window frames. The list goes on and on.  Structural integrity is vital to safety, so the stakes are high. 

Now you can see why rust damages more than just the good looks of your vehicle. There's one thing to remember about corrosion - much of it is only visible from underneath the vehicle.  When you bring your vehicle in to Auto Authority LLC for service, our technician can look for any problems from that important vantage point.  It's always a good idea to point out any spots that you think might spell trouble.  That way you can stay ahead of it and beat rust at its own game.


Auto Authority LLC
804 Witzel Ave
Oshkosh, Wisconsin 54902
920-231-1016
http://www.autoauthorityoshkosh.com



Move it or Lose It (Dormant Vehicles)

Posted January 9, 2022 8:13 AM

When it comes to your vehicle, driving it too much can cause some issues.  But what about not driving a vehicle enough? That has consequences as well.

Here are a few things that can happen if a vehicle isn't driven enough.  When the engine doesn't operate, the oil isn't lubricating. That means some mechanisms that need periodic lubrication aren't getting it.  And oil that sits around breaks down over time.  In fact, some experts say you should change oil more often if your vehicle sits in the driveway than if you drive it regularly. 

You've heard that expression, "Take it on the highway and blow out the engine.” Well, carbon buildup used to be a problem in older vehicles.  But the real culprit these days is moisture that builds up from combustion if your vehicle never gets hot enough to burn it off. That water vapor can mix with oil and cause sludge to form. There are many vehicle systems (battery, exhaust system, engine seals, etc.) that benefit from driving your vehicle at its optimal operating temperature for a while.

Spark plugs can deteriorate unless they are fired up.  The gas tank can rust from the inside if the metal is exposed from not having fuel in it.  Rodents and insects may see a sitting vehicle as a luxury hotel.  Brakes can rust after sitting around without being used.  Seals and gaskets can dry out.

One wise thing to do is check the operating manual. Some will spell out a maintenance schedule for vehicles that aren't driven regularly. 

One suggestion? Discuss your vehicle's maintenance with your service advisor. Let him or her know how often you drive the vehicle and what you use it for.  Then, you can come up with a maintenance schedule tailored for you, one that might not be covered in the owner's manual. 

If you do have a vehicle that's been sitting around for a long time, it may be wise to have it towed to your service facility rather than trying to drive it with brakes that may not work, spark plugs that may not fire reliably and other systems that may compromise your safety and those of others on the road. 

You may think it's great to have a low-mileage vehicle that you've barely driven, but a complicated, sophisticated machine such as a car, SUV or truck needs regular attention to keep it running safely… and reliably.

Auto Authority LLC
804 Witzel Ave
Oshkosh, Wisconsin 54902
920-231-1016
http://www.autoauthorityoshkosh.com



Free Money (Almost) (Fuel Saving Tips)

Posted January 2, 2022 9:51 AM

You spend a lot of money on a vehicle, probably the most money you'll spend on anything except a house.  But the spending doesn't stop after you've bought it.  It goes into things like insurance, repairs and fuel.  One good piece of news is that you can cut down the amount you spend on fuel if you follow a few tips.

Keep your speed under 50 mph/80 kph.  Anything over that and your fuel economy will go down quickly the faster you go.  Sure, you can legally drive  faster than that, but practice this one tip and it can save you from 7%-14% on fuel.

Use cruise control.  The steady speed increases fuel economy by avoiding unnecessary braking and accelerating. 

If your vehicle is carrying unnecessary weight, unload it.  If you can save 100 pounds/45 kilograms, it can save you 1% of your fuel. 

Don't idle.  Let's say you're sitting in a parking lot with your engine running for 10 seconds.  Any more and you're wasting fuel.  Turn off your engine and start it when you have to get going.  You may have noticed that many newer vehicles automatically turn the engine off when the vehicle stops.

Avoid using a roof rack.  A cargo box strapped on the top of your vehicle can reduce your fuel economy by 2%-8% in city driving, by 6%-17% on the highway and by 10%-25% at highway speeds over 65 mph/105 mph.

Also, if you have roof rails on your vehicle with crossbars, you can save 1% of fuel simply by storing them somewhere else.  Some vehicles like Chrysler's Pacifica minivan allow you to store the crossbars inside the roof rails to reduce drag.

Keep tires at their recommended inflation.  It can save you 3% of your fuel bill.

Use the right motor oil for your vehicle.  Using the wrong kind can cost you 1%-2% more money on fuel.

Sure, many of those savings are small on their own.  But add them up and you'd be surprised at how much you can save.  Also, keep in mind that a well maintained vehicle will also save you fuel, so make regular maintenance trips to your vehicle service facility.

Auto Authority LLC
804 Witzel Ave
Oshkosh, Wisconsin 54902
920-231-1016
http://www.autoauthorityoshkosh.com



The New Blade in Town

Posted January 1, 2022 7:25 AM

If your windshield wipers are streaking and chattering when you turn them on in the rain or snow, it's time for a little "blade renewal." And when it comes to new wiper blades, there are some new designs that are worth a look.

One of the latest is called the beam blade.  It's different than conventional blades you might be used to.  Instead of a metal frame and a rubber blade that slides in the frame on a track, the beam blades have an enclosed spring-steel band that allows the rubber wiper to conform to the windshield glass shape much more tightly. 

There are some key advantages to beam blades, which is why many vehicle manufacturers are making them standard on their latest models.  For one thing, they work well in all weather conditions, including the heat of summer and the icy, snowy cold of winter.  Since there is no separate frame, snow and ice can't form in gaps like conventional wipers and prevent the blade from clearing your windshield. 

Many beam blades also have a mini "wing" on them. It uses the air moving over your windshield to create a little extra downward pressure that presses the blade even more tightly against the glass.  The faster you go, the more firmly the blade can sweep off moisture. That means a clearer view. 

Beam blades are an upgrade that can add to your vehicle's overall safety with that increased visibility.  The best thing is to discuss wiper blades with your service advisor to see if it's a good choice for you and your vehicle, keeping in mind the type of driving you do and the climate you live in.  Remember that when it comes to wipers, it's important that you are using blades that are designed to fit your vehicle and that they are installed correctly. 

Auto Authority LLC
804 Witzel Ave
Oshkosh, Wisconsin 54902
920-231-1016
http://www.autoauthorityoshkosh.com



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