Sunday, May 31, 2009

Vehicle Maintenance (Part One) Oil Changes

Oil changes are vitally important for the smooth operation of your motor vehicle. Over time, oil breaks down and does not lubricate the important parts of the engine, which in turn can cause poor power, poor gas mileage, and overall harm to the moving parts of the engine. If not remedied what is left of the oil will evaporate, and not properly lubricate the engine, and you may have harmful byproducts in the engine, that will begin to cause problems in and with the engine, usually in the form of what may sound like sand rubbing on valves or a ticking sound, which is an indication of possible bent rods, damaged heads and other engine parts.
To prevent such events from happening, most manufacturers recommend that engine oil be changed every 3,000 miles. This is usually the life expectancy of oil for a couple of reasons. First of all the viscosity of the oil breaks down due to heat and cold, so when you get the oil changed in your vehicle, make sure that the proper viscosity i.e., 5w30, 10w30, or 5w20 oil, is used. The vehicle manufacturer will have the proper viscosity listed, somewhere in your owners manual.
Secondly, most oil filters are rated for 3,000 miles. If the oil is not changed at the proper intervals, the oil filter may not filter out contaminants. There are bypass valves in many oil filters and once the oil filter gets to dirty, the valve will close and for obvious reasons, the oil contaminants will not be pulled away for the engine parts. With this in mind, make sure that you are replacing the oil filter with every oil change.
Finally, once the oil change has been completed, make sure that the oil change reminder light is reset. That reminder light will come on approximately 2,500 miles into the last oil change as a reminder that it is getting close to time to change the oil. If you are not going to be changing the oil and filter yourself, choose a reliable mechanic/automotive technician, someone you trust, to do the work for you. Once you find that person, they can keep you up to date on what's happening with your vehicle.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Reading for Pleasure and Relaxation

A while back, my wife discovered a great Online Book Club from Barnes and Noble, known as The First Look Book Club. Barnes and Noble seeks out new authors and asks them to allow their group of readers to pre-read their book.
We must sign up for the opportunity to get an Advance Readers Copy of the book, and during the month we read the book and discuss it with each other. Finally, we each have the opportunity to write our own review of the book. Oh by the way, did I mention that we also get the opportunity to meet with the author and publisher during our discussion period?
Both my wife and I have now been involved with the First Look Book Club since 2007 and we have read a number of great books. We are about to start what appears to be another great read, entitled "Of Bees and Mist" by Erick Setiawan
Check out Barnes and Noble Book Clubs. at and you too can join in on future books.

Car Maintenance Basics

Many of us forget about our motor vehicles when it comes to basic maintenance. Like our bodies, our cars and trucks need periodic maintenance to keep them running efficiently.
As the economy is struggling, many people are opting to keep their current vehicle rather than purchasing new or previously owned vehicles. Here are some basics to remember that your motor vehicle needs in order to keep running:

1. Oil changes every 3 thousand miles or every 3 months, which ever comes first.

2. Proper inflation of tires. Over inflation or under inflation will cause the tires to wear unevenly, causing poor fuel economy, and the possibility of a blow out.

3. Regular tune ups, which include spark plugs, wires, air filter and cabin air filter replacement.

I will be covering the above items in the next few weeks, in depth so that you can keep that precious vehicle running smoothly. As time goes on, I will be adding to the maintenance list.