Cayenne here, and everyone in Los Altos, CA, knows we are advised to visit our dentist twice a year. Oral-conscious Los Altos residents have a teeth-cleaning and examination. Once a year, we get X-rays to look for problems that can't be seen with the naked eye. When our dentist is done, he/she tells us what was found – "Everything's fine, see you in six months." Or "You've got a small cavity starting; let's schedule an appointment to take care of it." By the time you leave, you have a plan for addressing any necessary issues.
This system works so much better than waiting for a painful problem before going to the dentist. Minor problems are fixed before they turn into big problems. And you avoid those huge bills.
If Los Altos folks understand the wisdom of using this system for handling dental care, why do many resist when facing the same system for our vehicle maintenance?
Following the vehicle manufacturer's recommended intervals can be confusing. First, there are recommendations for so many things: oil changes, transmission, coolant, air conditioning, power steering, brakes, fuel system, filters, belts, hoses, alignment, rotation, balancing ...you get the point.
Every item has a recommended interval, and it's hard for Los Altos drivers to keep it all straight – even if you're part of the 1% of CA drivers that read their owners' manual.
And if you have more than one vehicle, the complexity is multiplied. You'd need a computer to keep track of everything. Well, that's how your service center does it. For example, Allied Auto Works subscribes to automotive databases with your vehicle's recommended intervals. You may have wondered how they know what else to recommend when you take your car in for an oil change – it's all in the database.
Well, it's not all in the computer. Other variables can't be accounted for in the schedule: Los Altos weather conditions, altitude, and where and how you drive in CA. Talk about these things with your service advisor at Allied Auto Works, and you may decide that the severe service schedule in your owner's manual is more appropriate.
Since anything that's not driving in moderate weather is considered severe, and most of us do at least some of that around Los Altos, CA, it should be taken into account.
Let's take your basic oil change as an example. What issues are involved? The oil you put in your vehicle blends base oil and special additives. There are detergents and corrosion inhibitors to clean the inside of your vehicle engine. A good quality motor oil will lubricate your engine and help it stay clean inside and run cooler.
Now, these additives deplete with use and time. That's why most vehicle manufacturers' maintenance recommendations include both a time and mileage element – like 3 months or 3,000 miles/5,000 km, whichever comes first.
It's easy for Los Altos drivers to think, "Gee, I've only driven 2,000 miles/3,200 km in the last 3 months. I can wait on that oil change." But you need to remember that the inside of your engine is an environment. The oil is contaminated with combustion by-products, degrading its effectiveness even when sitting there.
Many people in Los Altos don't realize how harmful it is to skip an oil change. There are a lot of metal parts moving around in your engine. Small bits of metal wear off and are floating around in your oil. They can be carried to more delicate engine areas where they cause damage. Your oil filter is designed to trap metal particles and other dirt, but if it's clogged up because you haven't changed it, it can't trap anymore.
Oil sludge is another problem for Los Altos vehicles. Sludge is oil that has turned to a gunky jelly – think 'Vaseline.' Obviously, sludge doesn't lubricate. It can also clog small oil passages so that the oil doesn't properly protect all the parts. That'll lead to premature wear.
If you've missed some oil changes, don't despair. Just talk with the pros at Allied Auto Works. Fess up – you'll feel better. And they can help you get back on track. Following recommended intervals is the key to keeping your vehicle on the road and avoiding repairs.
I leave you with this thought for the week,
There is one advantage to having nothing, it never needs repair. ~ Frank Howard Clark
Allied Auto Works
2073 Grant Road
Los Altos, CA 94024