Thursday, December 6th, 2018

A VIEW FROM THE PUMPS – MAINTAINING YOUR VEHICLE UNDER SEVERE CONDITIONS!

Do you know that every owner’s manual comes with a maintenance schedule in it?  There are two of them, one is for normal driving conditions, and the other is for severe driving conditions. Typically people think of harsh driving conditions as driving in sub-zero temperatures, and heavy snow conditions, such as in the northernmost part of the country and in the mountain ranges in the west.  That would be very true, but we are in the beauty of Southwest Florida, what could be severe about that?  

According to AAA and Valvoline here are the top 5 instances that describe severe driving conditions.

  1. Hot weather driving in an urban setting or stop and go traffic. 
  2. Short trips under 5 miles
  3. Regular towing. Including boats (any size), trailers or campers.
  4. Driving on non-pavement surfaces, such as dirt, gravel or off-road surfaces.
  5. Driving for long periods at speeds less than 50mph. And, while not included in this synopsis, driving for long distances at speeds greater the 70 mph.

This sounds like driving on Rte. 41 from Punta Gorda to North Port every day and then on the weekends hopping on I75 to go to Sarasota or Tampa.  And for the younger generation what weekend is complete without hooking up the boat trailer or the ATV trailer for a couple of days out on the water fishing or running through the woods with your four runners to blow off a little steam.

The point is, there is nothing wrong with this lifestyle, in fact, it can be a beautiful thing, but it will take its toll on your cars and trucks.  When cars and trucks breakdown prematurely it consumes an additional and sometimes a large part of your income.  

The difference between maintaining a vehicle for severe service versus regular service is minute in the whole scheme of things.

It means taking the time to check the air pressure in your tires once a week instead of when the low tire pressure light comes on.  It means having regular and scheduled services performed promptly.

We at Gregg’s Automotive spend a lot of time and money to keep you informed as to when these services need to be performed.  These come as e-mails to you to remind you of services that are essential to keep your vehicle running for hundreds of thousands of miles.  The monthly reminder letters that we mail out, these newspaper articles and our weekly radio show “A View From the Pumps “are such examples. 

But our most significant reason for doing this is to educate you so that you can get the most out of your vehicle for the smallest amount of money.

Right now the most significant amount of confusion is with the advent of using synthetic oils instead of mineral-based oils in today’s vehicles.  The very first time that most people have a synthetic oil service sends them into sticker shock.  How can an OIL CHANGE cost a hundred dollars?  My answer to that is twofold, first, why didn’t the salesman who sold you the car inform you that it REQUIRED synthetic oil that will range from $10.00-12.00 a quart?  And why were you not advised that most newer vehicles REQUIRE from 5 to sometimes 7 quarts of oil unless you own a diesel truck which will need up to 15 quarts of oil?

Interesting points, don’t you agree?

Synthetic oils are much more viable for lubrication properties and extended intervals between services.  They are also thinner than most owners realize.  The norm for motor oils in the fifties was a single viscosity oil that changed with the seasons, heavy in the summer and lighter in the winter.  In the sixties to the eighties, multi-viscosity oils became the norm, 10w40 was the most common in the early part of the sixties and as technology increased these weights dropped to 10w30 to 5w30, etc.

Most new engines and especially the upper-end engines now use oils that start with a 0.  That’s right most engines are using 0w20 and 0w40 engine oil.

What is and why use a zero-weight oil? 

Read our next article and learn all about it!

REMEMBER MAINTENANCE STARTS AT MILE 000001!

GREGG MARRAPODI