Mike “The Hammer” Garvin
has sound advice on auto care

As far as tune-up maintenance these days. I have always recommended that drivers follow the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) recommendations.

It is almost impossible to get any grown up to even open the owners manual, let alone understand and follow any maintenance schedule.

Most of us use a vehicle in severe-duty situations. Less than a 10-kilometre commute is severe duty. Shorter trips are harder on the vehicle because the engine transmission/transaxle does not fully reach operating temperature. This small thing creates large problems over time.

Condensation is created in any item that is warmed up and then cooled down. Your vehicle is a perfect laboratory for this to occur.

With new anti-idling policies in place in many municipalities, this will increase the cycle of heat/cool. Increasing condensation and increasing contaminants in the lubricants in your vehicle.

All internal combustion engines will eventually fail due to this contamination. When the engine is shut down, acids are created from the mixture and corrode bearings, cylinder walls, crankshaft, camshaft, etc.

The small pits start to score bearing material and the items slowly increase distances so that the lubricant can no longer bridge the gap and keep items from actually touching one another.

Your engine oil light may start to stay on a little longer each time the engine is started cold, this is a dry start. This is the worst case scenario. In cold climates this happens each time you start the engine. The correct engine oil is crucial so follow the OEM guidelines.

Most transmissions will fail as well. In an automatic transmission, many items have friction materials to perform engagement of clutches, bands and other parts that must be held in place to allow gear changes. The adhesive that attaches the friction materials are water based and will be dissolved over time and create a catastrophic failure of the component.

If you have owned the vehicle from new, hopefully you have checked the oil levels, brake fluid, engine coolant, power steering fluid etc. The colours of the product, and the function of each product is unique. Try to remember the colours when the vehicle is new. It should not change colour.

Modern engines are quite efficient and the oil should not change much from the golden honey colour. Diesel engines are an exception. Soot from combustion will turn the oil black soon after it changed.