Are You Making Your Car Sick?

December 2nd, 2015

Skipping Oil Changes Can Be Harmful!

Guess what? This picture above is not chocolate pudding..its car eating sludge!

Is there anywhere else in the US that faces the driving conditions of NYC and, specifically, Queens or Manhattan?

Stop and go driving? Not really good for an engine. Sitting in 45 minutes of traffic?

Not good for your engine...you get the picture. Therefore, there is no hard and fast rule about oil changes simply because NYC driving is not like driving anywhere else in the world.

However, when a vehicle maker makes a recommendation about oil changes, the advice is a one size fits all type of advice rather that for your specific driving conditions which is a huge consideration. Would you get this kind of cautionary advice ever? "Hey, if you live in Nu Yalk and drive dis car, first, why would anyone want to live in dat city? UGH, move and extend your life and the damn car's life too."

No one except 106 St Tire & Wheel will point out that NY has a special effect on cars and usually its not good for the car. So, you have to be smart, aware and take this into consideration and always, if you value your ride, err on the side of caution unless you can afford a new engine or a new car often.

Many new car makers are now recommending that oil changes be done every 5,000-10,000 miles. If you are using these recommendations, it's important that you consider certain other factors in your vehicle performance to avoid engine damage.

When you drive in an area like Queens there are special considerations to take under advisement like traffic, mileage, road conditions, pollution, etc. Going too long without an oil change can put you at risk for oil to start to turn to sludge. This causes small oil passages to clog and engine parts to fail.

What causes oil sludge? Usually, this is caused by time and mileage. Every vehicle engine has hot spots that cause oil to burn off leaving sludge behind. Additionally, moisture can build up over time from normal condensation and it can land up in your oil which can also cause sludge.

NYC's normal driving conditions can lead to more rapid sludge formation. Severe driving includes short stop and go trips around Queens or trips in freezing NY's winter conditions.  The issue is your engine just doesn't get warm enough for the water in the oil to evaporate.

"Severe" conditions are at the heart of the problem. Stop and go driving, overwhelming traffic and endless traffic jams, towing, dusty conditions, polluted air, heavy loads, very hot or very cold temperatures, a car top carrier, a loaded truck – these are all conditions that would suggest that the "severe" service schedule should be considered simply because you like us are NYers. Driving in the Big Apple needs to be taken into consideration because we have special conditions that places in less trafficked areas simply do not have.

The "severe" service schedule has a much shorter oil change intervals. Queens drivers need to honestly evaluate how they drive to determine if they should change their oil closer to the severe service schedule or to the standard schedule. Do you do short runs? Do you sit in a lot of traffic everyday, do your push your engine? All of this adds up to see a bigger picture of how your car needs to perform in real life and who knows better than its driver? Are you willing to risk your engine and its performance by slipping up here and not getting that critical oil change?

Some vehicles provide oil change reminders. But it's important to understand how that reminder is determined. And it's important to remember and understand that your car's computer is probably not figuring in various critical factors specific to a NYC location.

Some cars give drivers the reminder based simply on a standard mileage period that has rolled around. Others are more sophisticated and use a complex computer algorithm that takes into consideration the number of cold starts, trip length, engine temperature and so on. The computer may be programmed to approximate where on the standard/severe service spectrum you fall.

Some of the more upscale vehicles actually have computer sensors that test the cleanliness and effectiveness of the oil which is great if you have an expensive car but where does that leave the rest of us?

106 St Tire & Wheel advises Queens drivers that its better to be safe than sorry and that ought to be your guiding principle. Come on in and talk with your friendly and knowledgeable 106th Street Tire & Wheel service advisor and brain storm a safe and effective way to do your oil changes. After all, we cannot neglect our transportation requirements and NYers have special conditions due to the numbers of cars on the road, the closeness of various stops because its much better for your engine to drive longer trips than the crazy stop and go we NYers face.

It's a good idea to inquire about the type of oil the manufacturer of your vehicle used from day one. Who knows more about your vehicle and what works best other than the manufacturer of your car?

Sometimes its premium grade oil that costs more than standard oil – but it may be what's needed to give your car a long life span and proper performance.

Give us a call 106th Street Tire & Wheel at 106-01 Northern Blvd, Queens, NY 11368, 718-446-6769, 24 hours and one of our techs will be happy to chat with you about giving your car optimum performance and expanding its life by considering the unique circumstance we NYers and our vehicles face.

Part of an engine covered in sludge! Result? A shortened engine life!

  Posted in: Auto Repair 101
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