Beach Benz

Servicing Mercedes Benz Exclusively for over 20 years

How to Know When to Change Your Oil At Beach Benz

Today in the Beach Benz auto care blog, we’re going to talk about oil change intervals. It seems that as engine technology advances, recommended oil change intervals have gotten longer for Beach Benz customers. High quality oil in a well-engineered sedan engine has lead to extended intervals. But it’s also lead to some confusion among Huntington Beach car owners.

The old mantra “change your oil every three months or three thousand miles, whichever comes first” once applied to every vehicle on Huntington Beach freeways. 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.

Huntington Beach car owners 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. How to Know When to Change Your Oil At Beach BenzFor example, recently four of the world’s largest auto 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 Huntington Beach 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 Beach Benz in Huntington Beach.

The auto 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: 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 California, short trips, drive in dusty or polluted Huntington Beach conditions, hot or cold weather, or haul heavy loads, you’re driving in severe service conditions. Your Beach Benz advisor can help you determine which schedule to follow.

So check your sedan owner’s manual or talk with your Beach Benz service advisor about where and how you drive in Huntington Beach. 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 California 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 Beach Benz to protect your sedan engine. Another place where California car owners can go wrong is with the type of oil they use. More and more new cars are coming to Huntington Beach 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 Huntington Beach people are tempted to use conventional oil for their oil changes. Now, it’s always best to use the oil recommended by your manufacturer. 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.

Higher Mileage Service Intervals For Huntington Beach

Huntington Beach auto owners have probably noticed that the government mandates a lot of equipment on cars: emission devices and control computers; safety equipment like airbags; and crash worthiness requirements. All of this is great for the motoring public in Fountain Valley but it does add quite a bit to the price of a new car in California.

Because new cars are more expensive, Huntington Beach residents are driving their old cars longer. The average car is now over nine years old. 68% of vehicles on the road have more than 75,000 miles/120,000 kilometers. As cars age, their performance drops, they have difficulty idling for long periods and are more sensitive to weather extremes. Fortunately today’s cars are up to the challenge – but they need a little help to keep on going.

Some owner’s manuals don’t outline service requirements and schedules at higher mileage. Of course, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have to be done. In fact, it’s more important than ever for Huntington Beach auto owners to stay on top of routine auto maintenance for cars with more than 120,000 miles/190,000 kilometers. Just extend regular service intervals out: for instance a service that’s recommended every 24,000 miles/38,000 kilometers should be performed at 24,000 mi/38,000 km; 48,000 mi/77,000 km; 72,000mi/116,000 km, 96,000 mi/154,000 km; and on and on.

Because of the additional stress older engines experience, the severe service maintenance schedule may be more appropriate than the regular schedule. Watch for leaks – seals and gaskets dry out over time and do not hold the fluids as well as they used to. If you don’t already have one, it is more essential than ever to get a good service professional, like any one of the automotive professionals on our team at Beach Benz. There are some services and replacements that are scheduled after you put some clicks on the odometer, like timing belts, valve train adjustments, suspension, anti-lock brake service, air bags, etc. And unexpected repairs down the road are just par for the course.

Check for unusual sounds, smells or the way your car feels. These could be hints that trouble is brewing. Better to catch it early before it turns into a significant repair. Regular wash and wax will help maintain your car’s appearance. One of the things Huntington Beach auto owners can do to really help a high mileage vehicle is to begin using high mileage formulation fluids. There are special engine oils, coolants, transmission fluids and power steering fluids that are formulated for cars that have higher mileage.

High mileage oil is designed to condition seals and gaskets, reduce wear and avoid premature burn off. Older engines are dirtier inside – and dirty engines contaminate their oil faster. High mileage oil has special additives that clean the engine, removing sludge deposits over time. The result is less stress on the engine, better gas mileage and excellent wear protection. Come into Beach Benz in Huntington Beach for a checkup.

Studies have even shown that using high mileage fluids early will actually prevent some of the problems of high kilometer vehicles. So once you hit around 50,000 mi/80,000 km, consider stepping up to high mileage formulations. The fluids cost a bit more than standard fluids because of the additional additives, but they can be worth their weight in gold in terms of preventing costly repair costs down the road.

It does cost more to properly maintain a higher mileage vehicle in Huntington Beach – but it’s much cheaper than a new car payment!

Breathe Deep With Your Cabin Air Filter

Bad air quality while you’re driving around Westminster is nothing to sneeze at. But seriously, more and more vehicles these days come equipped with a cabin air filter. Since they’re fairly new on the scene, a lot of folks don’t know about them yet.

These filters clean the air in the passenger compartment, or cabin, of your car or truck. They do the same job as the furnace filter you have at home. They can filter out particles as small as thee microns. By contrast, a grain of sand is about 200 microns.

So your cabin air filer can clean out dust, pollution, pollen and spores, to keep the air in your car nice and clean. And just like your furnace filter, they need to be replaced when they get dirty. Check your owner’s manual, but they typically need to be replaced at around twelve to fifteen thousand miles.

The filter is usually either under the hood or under the dashboard. Some are a little tricky to get to, so you’ll want to have your Huntington Beach California service center, Beach Benz, take care of replacing them.

As we said, many people don’t realize they have a cabin air filter and go to their shop complaining about a funky smell in the ventilation system. It turned out to be a cabin air filter that was long overdue for replacement – really dirty and starting to smell. A quick replacement and they were on their way and smelling fine.

People who are allergy sensitive can really benefit from a cabin air filter, as it keeps allergens to a minimum. If you’re one of them, you’ll want to stay on top of your filter replacement schedule.

Of course if you do a lot of driving in dusty or polluted conditions, you’ll need to change your cabin air filter more often.

Tire Replacement

You know you need new tires, but you’re not sure what type. You look at a tire to get the size: 225, 50, R, 16, 92, H. All the way to the service center you keep repeating it over and over. You even say it over in your mind while waiting in line. Then you get to the counter and the manager asks what size you need. Then your mind goes blank.

Tire size can be confusing. There’s so much on the side of the tire, and it’s hard to keep straight.

Even though there’s a lot on a tire – if you know what it all means, it’s actually more helpful than confusing. Let’s start with the size number.

For example, let’s say a tire reads: 225 50 R 16 92 H. The 225 part is the width of the tire in millimeters – the width between the sidewalls of an inflated tire with no load. The 50 is the aspect ratio – the ratio of the sidewall height to the tread width. Off-road tires will have a higher number and high performance tires will have a lower number.

The R signifies it’s a radial tire. And 16 is the rim or wheel size in inches.

The 92 is the load rating index – it’s the load carrying capacity of a tire. The higher the number, the more it can safely carry. Your empty vehicle can be safe with a lower number, but you’ll need a higher rating if you routinely haul heavy loads. The next letter is the speed rating. Not all tires are speed rated. The ratings generally follow the alphabet: the further up the alphabet, the higher the speed rating – with the exception of H – it comes between U and V (don’t ask why).

There’s a lot of fine print that you probably need a magnifying glass to read. But there are a couple of other large print items of interest. One is the tread type: highway, mud and snow, all season, severe snow, etc.

And then there’re the Uniform Tire Quality Grading System markings. The first is a tread wear index. 100 is the base line – a lower number is poorer and a higher number is better. All things being equal, a tire rated 200 would wear twice as long, on a government test track, than one rated at 100. These wear grades are only valid within a manufacturer’s product line – you can’t compare with other manufacturers. And it’s important to note that a lower rating might be just what you want – a high performance, sticky tire has a softer rubber compound and won’t wear as long, but boy, will it take those corners.

The next is a traction grade. This measures the tire’s ability to stop on wet pavement in government tests. A – the best, B – intermediate, C – acceptable.

Temperature grade measures a tire’s resistance to heat build up in government tests. A, B and C – from best to acceptable.

It’s safe to go with the original equipment recommendations that came on your car. But if you want to make adjustments, you’ll now be better equipped to communicate with your tire professional.