Every few months, some article pops up on the internet talking about how people don’t need to change their oil at 3000 miles “anymore”. This article on Yahoo News is a great example of this, and it bothers me. To save you some time, I’ll give you the cliff notes of the linked article. They basically tell people that 73% of California drivers are changing their oil too often, and wasting their money (I’m still cringing). Then the article goes on to say to look at your owners manual, and do oil changes at whatever mileage interval it says. Seems like a good idea right? Well, sure in a fantasy world, yes. In the real world, no. Also, how does the author of this article knows that people are changing their oil too often if he doesn’t know the oil change intervals of all of their vehicles. Seems odd to me, but I’ll move forward anyway.
About 9 years ago…. when I was a technician at a dealer, it was a frequent occurrence for customers to come in for an oil change with less than half of their recommended oil left in their car. The majority of cars that I did oil changes to held 8 quarts of oil, and 3 quarts frequently came out at the manual-recommended oil change interval. The manufacturer of this particular car claimed that it was “normal” for these types of engines to burn 1 quart of oil every 1000 miles. Nice! So even if you did a 5000 mile oil change, you’d likely only have 3 quarts left. Continue reading The 3000 Mile Oil Change: Why I Do It, and Why I Always Will.
A simple task that you’ve done a million times before can often take a horrible turn faster than you can say, “where’s my biggest hammer”? I really thought this brake job was going to be a quick 30 minute pad and rotor slap, like it should be. Not so much, let’s review.
Step 1: Jack up the vehicle in a safe manner. “Check!”
Step 4: Tie up calipers with mechanics wire to prevent them from hanging from the rubber brake hoses. “Check!”
Step 5: Slide the worn out rotors off the hub. “Umm, not sliding. What the heck is going on here?”
Step 6: Clean oily substance off new rotors, and slide new rotors into place. “Whoa….back it up instruction guy! We need to hop in the Delorean and zoom back to step 5. These rotors are stuck, no joke. What now?”
Step 7: Compress the caliper piston and replace the old brake pads with new brake pads. Don’t forget to lube the sliders. “This hammer is not nearly big enough. Does anybody know where my axe is?”
Step 8: Slide the caliper brackets and caliper over the new rotor and reinstall the caliper bolts. “Ok guys, the rotors are really getting destroyed now. We need torches, cut off wheels, grinders, and a sawzall!”
Step 9: Reinstall the wheels, and torque the lug nuts to your vehicle’s torque specifications. “Hello? instruction guy….I hate you. This is the Worst job EVER!”
Step 10: Before starting vehicle, be sure to recheck brake fluid level and pump the brake pedal to set the pads in place. “……….disappoint………”
Last week we discussed the Top 3 Most Awesome Ways To Destroy Your Engine. This week, a video popped up in front of me that documented a very special event. It was as if the video was saying “Hey Jeremy, I was just reading your totally radical automotive blog and I would like to share a video example of something on your Top 3 list”. Well, thank you Mr.Awesome Video, I accept your greetings and your offer. The only thing missing in the video is the super high speed camera slow-motion replay button.
Once you get past the whole “I completely horrified my engine” thing, catastrophic engine damage is really awesome to see. Here is the Nutts & Bolts Top 3 Most Awesome Ways to Destroy your Engine:
1) Blowing pistons and / or connecting rods right through the engine block.
Typically when your internal engine parts forcefully become external, they do so for good reason. You likely built the engine wrong, over revved it, or had a complete lack of lubrication. What you may not realize, is that this seemingly negative action is a really just your car’s way of telling you it wants a more powerful engine.
2) Destroying your valves in epic fashion.
Whether it is losing your timing belt at highway speeds with an interference engine, or running lean enough to turn steel into magma, it sure is fun to see. The grossest display of shared combustion chamber space that I’ve seen was a Cadillac Catera that I worked on many years ago. It had broken the heads off the valves, bounced them around the cylinders, and then pushed them right back through the exhaust ports. The inside of the engine looked as if it were trying to combust rocks instead of gasoline. It was an epic win for shared space that day. Let’s not forget burned valves though, you get an extra points when the valves burn and destroy your turbo in the same instant.
3) Recipe for disaster: The automotive cocktail of destruction.