We are discovering that as new cars are coming off of their factory warranty and reaching the independent garages, they have been fairly neglected in the basic service areas. By basic service area we mean tire rotations, brake fluid changes and especially standard engine oil and filter changes. In an effort to look green and appear to produce an overall lower maintenance automobile, auto manufacturers are claiming their cars only need oil and filter changes every 10k miles, 15k miles, and even in some cases, 20k miles.
Most auto manufacturers are now offering maintenance plans that appear to cover the costs of full maintenance but in all actuality do not. These skeleton maintenance plans only cover oil changes within their extended mileage guidelines. Extended mileage intervals are causing internal engine problems because engines are not receiving the critical oil and filter changes as often as needed. Many components inside the modern automobile engine are controlled by oil flow and oil pressure, therefore clean and high quality engine oil is of the greatest importance. Contaminates from the combustion process, such as blow by, enter the oil and remain suspended there. As these contaminates build up in the oil over time they can clog the small oil passages within the engine such as lifters and cam adjusters thus leading to mechanical problems much sooner that normally expected.
Many consumers do not know that this supposedly “complimentary” maintenance plan is included in the purchase price of the automobile without choice to the end user. If an automobile you purchase includes this “Free Maintenance” plan, it is best to have supplemental oil changes performed in between those covered by the free maintenance offered by the agency. We generally recommended engine oil and filter changes every 5k~ miles. This seemingly conservative approach will provide a longer service life to engine mechanical components over the many years of vehicle ownership.
Tony Callas & Tom Prine