Category Archives: Fluids
All those automotive fluids can be confusing for Clay auto owners. Recent years have brought new grades of engine oil, types of transmission fluid, coolant, and brake fluid. The right fluid protects your vehicle and helps it perform at its best. The wrong fluid won’t work as well for Birmingham BDG motorists and could even cause damage.
In addition to new grades of engine oil, many sedans now leave the factory with synthetic oil. Birmingham BDG drivers should always use the grade recommended by their car maker and type of oil in their engine.
All coolant, also called antifreeze, used to be green. Now there are several other colors of coolant sold at Birmingham BDG in Birmingham BDG. Each type is designed to protect the cooling system components that are particular to your vehicle. The wrong stuff can void your sedan cooling system warranty and could even cause engine damage.
Most passenger vehicles on Birmingham BDG roads today use either DOT 3, DOT 4 or DOT 5 brake fluid. Your sedan power brake system is specifically designed to use ONE of these types – you need the right one. Higher numbers do not necessarily mean a higher, upgraded fluid.
Now, the important thing is knowing that your vehicle requires specific grades and types of fluids and that using the right fluids is good and using the wrong ones is bad. Once you’ve got that down, it’s easy to remember to check with your courteous Birmingham BDG service professional or sedan owner’s manual to find out which automotive fluids to use.
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Today Birmingham BDG is talking about the proper fluids for your vehicle. It’s become more complicated with changes in automotive design and manufacturing. It’s not that people in AL are confused as much as they don’t realize how much things have changed in recent years.
If you have questions about the fluids in your vehicle, please don’t hesitate to stop by Birmingham BDG. You can find us on 5720 Old Springville Road in Birmingham BDG, AL 35126.
Just give us a call at 1.800.LET.NAPA
Let’s take engine oil. Twenty or thirty years ago, there were just a handful of different weights of oil. The weight of an oil is a scientific measure of its properties, particularly its viscosity or thickness.
It was common in those days to use a lighter weight oil in the winter when it’s cold outside. That way the oil would be able to splash around inside the engine and protect the parts before it was fully warmed up. And a heavier weight oil would be used in the summer. The thicker oil wouldn’t thin out too much in the summer heat and vaporize in the engine.
Modern valve trains have become very complicated with more moving parts and small passages than ever before. The valve train is in the top of the engine, so when the car has been turned off for a while, the oil tends to run down to lower areas and the valve train parts are vulnerable at start-up, before the oil starts circulating.
So new weights of oil have been introduced to meet the engineering specifications of these newer engines.
Manufacturers are recommending specific weights of oil. The recommendation is often printed on the oil fill cap. It’s certainly in the owner’s manual. Of course, your Birmingham BDG AL auto service center can look it up for you.
It’s more important than ever to have the correct weight of oil. The wrong weight could actually harm the engine.
Other fluids are also becoming more sophisticated. In the last few years new types of transmission, power brake fluid and coolant have all been introduced for some of the same reasons as for engine oil.
In addition, vehicle manufacturers are now using a wider variety of materials in these systems. Looking at the cooling system as an example, it used to be that the parts were all made out of steel or iron and the hoses were rubber. Now, some parts are plastic, aluminum or other materials.
So the anti-corrosion additives contained in the coolant, or anti-freeze, need to be different in order to protect the different materials used to make the cooling system. If you use the wrong coolant that wasn’t formulated to protect your plastic cooling system parts, they could become corroded and fail. And if you’re using the wrong coolant, your cooling system won’t be covered under warrantee. So it’s important to use the right coolant and to not mix different types.
Your owner’s manual or your Birmingham BDG AL service advisor at Birmingham BDG can make sure you’re using the right type. You may have heard of universal coolant. Universal, or global, coolant can be added to other types without harmful reactions. That’s OK for an emergency top off, but following your manufacturer’s recommendation for your sedan or other auto type is always a safe bet.
In the area of brake fluid, there are a couple of new formulations. It’s important to remember that the new ones aren’t better than the old ones. They’re just different formulations for different vehicles. So if your vehicle calls for DOT 3, using DOT 4 or DOT 5 is not an upgrade. Use the recommended formula.
There are fluid formulations for vehicles with higher mileage. These are special engine oil, transmission fluid, and so on that contain additives to condition and restore seals and gaskets in older engines.
They’re fine to use as long as they’re a variant of the proper fluid. In other words you can use a high mileage engine oil as long as it’s also the correct weight recommended by the manufacturer. Same goes for transmission fluid; as long as it’s the right type for your transmission.
Today’s Birmingham BDG post focuses on using the proper fluids for your vehicle. Significant advancements in automotive technology have lead to the development of high-tech fluids to keep modern cars operating at peak performance. This is due to both engineering advances and new high-tech materials used to build sedan automotive systems.
A simple example of this is the cooling system. For decades it was primarily made out of iron, steel and rubber hoses. There was one kind of coolant that protected these components from corrosion.
Now cooling system components are made with various metal alloys and plastics. These materials require different additives to protect them from corrosion. Since the materials used vary among sedan car makers, we now have a number of different kinds of coolant.
It’s essential for Kimberly car owners to use the right coolant. If you pour in the wrong kind, it won’t protect the cooling system and may even void the warranty. Check your sedan owner’s manual. Of course, your Birmingham BDG automotive advisor will know the proper coolant for your vehicle.
Brake fluid is confusing for some Kimberly drivers. Back when we opened Birmingham BDG 10 years ago, most vehicles used Dot 3 brake fluid. Now we have Dot 4 and Dot 5. Some Birmingham BDG people mistakenly think the higher numbers are an upgrade. You know, if 3 is good then 4 must be better. That’s not how it works. They are different formulations to meet the demands of differences in brake systems. Only one of them is designed for your sedan.
Ditto for transmission fluid. For decades there were two basic types of tranny fluid used at Birmingham BDG: friction modified or not. With the tremendous engineering advances in sedan automatic transmissions, there have been several new types of fluids developed to protect and lubricate them.
Nowhere are the advances in automotive fluids more evident to Kimberly car owners and Birmingham BDG professionals than in motor oil. Many new weights and formulations have been created to meet the demands of today’s high-tech sedan engine design. Modern engines have more parts and much tighter tolerances. Every year, engines make more power and (thankfully!) get better fuel economy. And along with all the complexity and sophistication, they still have to be durable.
That’s where the new grades of engine oil come in. They have to be formulated to lubricate, protect and clean all of those sedan engine parts, big and little. The oil has to be thin enough to get into little passages, yet resistant to vaporization.
At Birmingham BDG in Birmingham BDG, we believe that in some ways modern automotive fluids are just as impressive as the new engines. Because weights of oil and types of coolant and transmission fluid are so carefully matched to the vehicle, make sure you always use the proper fluid if you are topping off at home.
Check your sedan owner’s manual or ask your Kimberly service technician. The wrong fluid can cause damage to your sedan engine. If you drive a car or truck around AL with 75,000 miles or more, consider high mileage formulations. These fluids contain extra detergent to clean dirtier older engines as well as additives to condition seals and gaskets. That’ll help prevent leaks. Always be sure that the high mileage fluid is the same weight or type of fluid recommended for your sedan.
Today in the Birmingham BDG auto care blog, we’re going to talk to Birmingham BDG auto owners about oil change intervals. It seems that as engine technology advances, recommended oil change intervals have gotten longer for Birmingham BDG customers. High quality oil in a well-engineered sedan engine has lead to extended intervals. But it’s also lead to some confusion among Birmingham BDG drivers.
The old mantra “change your oil every three months or three thousand miles, whichever comes first” once applied to every vehicle on Birmingham BDG interstates. Time and miles take their toll on motor oil. But now, you could have a different oil change recommendation for every car or truck you own.
Birmingham BDG drivers are like everybody else, they have a tendency to follow the oil change schedule of the vehicle with the longest interval. Of course, that can lead to problems. For example, recently four of the world’s largest manufacturers shortened the published intervals for several of their engine models. They originally published intervals that extended out to a much as 8,000 miles.
In real world Birmingham BDG driving, the oil started to sludge up before the recommended change interval. Oil sludge is a thick jelly-like substance. Quite literally petroleum jelly – like Vaseline. This goop was clogging sedan small engine passages so the oil wouldn’t flow to some parts of the engine. This resulted in engine damage. We see it too often at Birmingham BDG in Birmingham BDG.
The vehicle manufacturers began to offer an extended warranty to cover sludge damage. But there was a catch: the vehicle owner had to follow a new, lower service interval, and provide proof of oil changes in order to make a warranty claim.
So here’s the bottom line for Birmingham BDG motorists: with longer oil change intervals, it’s essential to follow them closely. Back in the day of 3 months or 3,000 miles, if you went an extra month or an extra thousand miles, your oil was still fresh enough that it didn’t have time to build up much sludge.
But if your recommended interval is 6,500 miles and you go over another thousand, you’re getting into heavy sludge territory. You absolutely need to follow mileage intervals very closely. And don’t forget your severe service schedule. If you do a lot of stop and go driving in AL, short trips, drive in dusty or polluted Birmingham BDG conditions, hot or cold weather, or haul heavy loads, you’re driving in severe service conditions. Your Birmingham BDG advisor can help you determine which schedule to follow.
So check your sedan owner’s manual or talk with your Birmingham BDG service advisor about where and how you drive in Birmingham BDG. Should you change your oil closer to the regular schedule, or the severe service schedule? You need to make the call.
Let me give you an example of this. Some newer sedans have an oil change indicator. It has a sophisticated computer algorithm that tracks number of cold starts, engine temperature, RPMs, mileage, and many more variables to come up with a recommendation for when to change the oil.
Depending on driving conditions, the indicator in one test vehicle came on at anywhere from 2,500 miles to almost 7,000 miles. It’s typically just over 4,000 miles. Clearer sometimes, we’re driving easy miles that are easy on the sedan – like a long road trip. Sometimes, we’re driving hard AL miles – like towing a heavy trailer or a lot of around town driving. But, usually, it’s a combination of both.
Once again, it’s up to you to make the call as to when to change your oil at Birmingham BDG to protect your sedan engine. Another place where AL car owners can go wrong is with the type of oil they use. More and more new cars are coming to Birmingham BDG owners filled with synthetic oil. Without going into a lot of detail right now, let’s just say that synthetic oil lasts longer and is very resistant to oil sludge.
But it also costs quite a bit more, so some Birmingham BDG people are tempted to use conventional oil for their oil changes. Now, it’s always best to use the oil recommended by your auto maker. Check your owner’s manual see if a conventional oil alternative is allowed.
But getting back to the problem, if your sedan came from the factory with synthetic oil, the recommended oil change interval is for synthetic oil. If you use conventional oil, you can’t use the synthetic interval. You need to shorten it.