Do I Need to Use the Manufacturer’s Oil?

Nobody knows better than Greenwood’s auto body shop in Seattle that the world of engine oil is not what it used to be. In living memory, the consumer could simply go down to the automotive section of their local store and pick out a bottle of oil based on a simple measure of viscosity. Today, however, oil has become so complex and convoluted that many manufacturers are putting out their own special brands and insisting that you use it if you want your car to keep running properly. Observing this, a canny consumer needs to wonder: is there a legitimate need to use the manufacturer’s brand of oil, or is this all marketing mumbo-jumbo?

The short answer is that, if your car’s manufacturer specifies a brand of oil for your engine, it’s probably a pretty good idea to use that oil. Different engines do in fact have different needs, and the right kind of oil can go a long way towards keeping up performance and prolonging the life of your car. However, it is also important to note that you don’t necessarily need to use the specified brand to get everything you need; so long as you are following the specifications found in your vehicle’s owner’s manual, you should be fine.

A problem that some drivers encounter is that the manufacturer threatens to void their drivetrain warranty if they do not use the manufacturer brand. The good news here is that you are protected by something called the Magnusson-Moss Warranty Act, which requires that your manufacturer is able to actually establish that an off-brand oil was responsible for damaging your engine. Should you be in a situation where you are being denied a warranty claim based on your oil use without an investigation, the company is in violation of the act.

Maintaining Your Car Battery

Some people think that a car battery does not require maintenance. However, there is a lot that can be done to extend the life of your battery and prevent the inconvenience that comes with finding yourself stranded with a dead power source. Our auto body shop in Seattle offers the following tips on how to get the most out of your car battery:

  • Keep the battery clean. Simply by wiping down a dirty case with a damp rag, you can prevent a lot of costly drain on your power.
  • Keep your battery posts or terminals clean. Start by loosening the negative cable, and then the positive cable. With a brass wire battery brush, apply a solution of baking soda and water to the posts and scrub them clean as needed. You will then need to apply a thin coating of grease to your terminals and clamps and then reconnect the cables, attaching the positive first and then the negative.
  • Watch your battery for damage. Do you see any cracks or bulges? This could mean that your battery needs to be replaced.
  • Does your battery have vent caps? It may need to have its water checked. Remove your caps to check your electrolyte levels. These should rise a half inch above the battery’s top plates. Use distilled water to bring this level up as needed.

Look Out for the Gas Tanker!

Have you ever driven into a gas station to see that the gasoline tanker is in the process of filling up the station’s gas supply? It can be a bothersome experience. After all, it probably means that you’re stuck waiting for the tanker to clear off before you can refill your car. Unfortunately, the problem goes even deeper than that; take the advice of your auto body shop in Seattle and find another station when you see a tanker in your favorite spot.

The problem with gas tankers is that, while they are refilling your gas station, they’re stirring up the content of the station’s underground tanks. Imagine that the tank is a bottle of pulpy orange juice; if you pour the juice without shaking it up, you’re not going to get much pulp. However, if you shake up the juice before pouring, your drink is going to be a lot pulpier. In the case of the gas station, this pulp is like all of the detritus and sediment in the tank. Fill up your car while all this junk is swimming around in the gasoline, and it will end up in your engine, clogging your filters and hampering your car’s performance. Do the right thing for your car, and avoid the gas stations that have recently been re-stocked.

Driving Greener

Nature abhors your car.  There’s no way around it; even in our modern age of environmental restoration, a car is a big, lumbering beast that eats death and excretes more death until it winds up as a monument of rust and poison on some shirtless guy’s lawn.  So how can you combat this?  Greenwood’s auto body shop in Seattle offers you these tips for cleaning up your car’s act a little and leading a greener, safer life.

  • Have your air conditioner properly serviced.  Your A/C produces chlorofluorocarbon gases, which contribute to the breakdown of the ozone layer.  An auto professional can capture these gasses while servicing your car, which will prevent them from leaking away into the atmosphere.
  • Recycle your used oil and oil filters.  There are facilities that can put these spent materials back to work, instead of letting them leak into the water supply and contaminate the surrounding area.
  • Keep your engine tuned.  A poorly maintained engine can decrease your fuel efficiency by as much as thirty percent, and that adds up to your gas money going up almost literally in smoke.
  • Rotate your tires and check them regularly.  A properly inflated tire will not only improve your fuel economy, but also resist wear and tear better.  Check your tires with every tank of gas, and you’ll find yourself driving better and expending fewer tires.

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