An­swers to your car ques­tions

The Hamilton Spectator - - WHEELS - DENNIS O’SUL­LI­VAN PS Read­ers, Please be ad­vised that all emails can­not be an­swered. Send your ques­tions (be sure to in­clude your ad­dress) by email to: dennis.osul­li­van@co­geco.ca or mail: Box 10019, Wi­nona, ON L8E 5R1

QUES­TION

Hi there! I re­ally en­joy read­ing your col­umn. My ques­tion is how of­ten should you change your ve­hi­cles oil? I have dif­fer­ent peo­ple tell me dif­fer­ent things such as ev­ery 5000 kilo­me­ters to ev­ery 10,000 kilo­me­ters. I have a 2008 Saturn so as it gets older does that make a dif­fer­ence as well? Be­ing re­tired now, I want to keep the car run­ning for many more years but also, with the price of oil changes get­ting higher and higher, I want to save money as well.

Thank you, Danny

AN­SWER

Oil changes usu­ally de­pend on the type of driv­ing that you do. The rule of thumb about oil is that it never looses its vis­cos­ity but it does gain im­pu­ri­ties. What that means is that the oil in your car could pos­si­bly go on forever as long as it is kept clean. How­ever, this does not hap­pen with the car’s oil due to our cli­mate and driv­ing habits. Con­trary to what peo­ple be­lieve driv­ing very short dis­tances ev­ery day for a pro­longed pe­riod of time is ac­tu­ally more detri­men­tal to your car’s oil con­di­tion than driv­ing back and forth to Toronto ev­ery day. If you are one of those driv­ers who take short fre­quent trips ev­ery day then the oil should be changed ev­ery five to six thou­sand kilo­me­ters. You can ex­tend the oil life in your car to around seven thou­sand kilo­me­ters when you do short daily trips if you take the car for a driv­ing trip once a week for thirty or forty kilo­me­ters.

If you drive more than thirty kilo­me­ters per day ev­ery day then the oil life can be ex­tended to ten or twelve thou­sand kilo­me­ter’s as long as you pe­ri­od­i­cally check the oil over that pe­riod if your car has a dip stick. I al­ways rec­om­mend that you check your owner’s man­ual for the man­u­fac­turer’s rec­om­men­da­tions re­gard­ing main­te­nance on your ve­hi­cle.

QUES­TION

I am hav­ing an is­sue with the in­te­rior of my win­dows fog­ging and ex­ces­sive cabin hu­mid­ity on a 2012 Dodge Voy­ager RT that I pur­chased 8 months ago. This prob­lem just started in the colder weather with the de­frost/heater in use, (de­frost seems to be main cul­prit). It gen­er­ally seems ex­ces­sively hu­mid in­side. This prob­lem seems to get worse with more pas­sen­gers. I tried to use the AC to de­frost and it helped a bit but the prob­lem per­sists. I can­not seem to get the re­cir­cu­la­tion to bring in fresh air, (when I hit that but­ton it just flashes but does not change). On a re­cent 50 minute drive with 4 peo­ple in the car, I had to keep the fan on it’s high­est set­ting to just keep the front win­dow clear and just enough of the side win­dows to see my mir­rors. I men­tioned to my me­chanic when I had it in for an oil change and he just said it de­pends on how well the cabin is sealed up. I sus­pect an AC is­sue.

Thanks– Mike from Kitch­ener, On

AN­SWER

You are on track with your own di­ag­no­sis. Your ve­hi­cle’s air con­di­tioner is a de­hu­mid­i­fier and the heat from your pas­sen­gers and your­self will cause the win­dows to fog up in the win­ter if the AC is not func­tion­ing prop­erly. You may find that you only need a par­tial fill up of Freon rather than a com­plete ser­vice be­cause it is pos­si­ble over time that the Freon can es­cape from the rub­ber hoses and there is not an ac­tual leak. You may also have a prob­lem with the heater con­trols not func­tion­ing prop­erly. The ideal sit­u­a­tion how­ever, would be to have the AC ser­viced and ready for the sum­mer ahead.

QUES­TION

Hello Dennis, I read and look for­ward to your col­umn weekly in The Spec. My ques­tion is a sim­ple one but one that I get lots of dif­fer­ent opin­ions on. I have a 2012 Ford Es­cape 3.0 litre, V6. This sum­mer I will be tow­ing a 17.5 ft. boat. Boat and trailer are within my ve­hi­cle’s tow­ing ca­pac­ity. My ques­tion is would it help my en­gine to run a tank of pre­mium gas when tow­ing?

John from Hamil­ton

AN­SWER

You ve­hi­cle’s en­gine will do just fine with the grade of gas rec­om­mended in your owner’s man­ual. It would not change the ve­hi­cle’s op­er­a­tion to any ex­tent that you would feel any dif­fer­ence in driv­ing so just make sure that all en­gine fluid lev­els are at the proper level be­fore any trip that re­quires pulling the boat.

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