Answers to your car questions
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.