Ask the Expert
Things change, maintenance too.
by Jerry Lupul
Timely vehicle maintenance makes good money sense, especially when compared to costly engine repairs or an engine replacement. Extended service intervals have created a major concern for the old-school generation, especially technicians who have serviced cars for 30 plus years. OUR early driving and maintenance experience was with less fuel-efficient and higher emission-output vehicles. WE were accustomed to vehicles being serviced every 3,000 km.
But new technology has now made the internal combustion engines more fuel efficient and less polluting. So, for the younger generation, the extended service intervals are normal. Without a ‘warning’ indicator or ‘maintenance required’ message, many would not give a second thought to driving a vehicle 15,000km before having the oil and filter changed. When the service reminder light illuminates, they may continue operating the vehicle for a further extended period of time, before having the car serviced. During this time, the oil filter bypass valve would most likely be open allowing contaminated oil to be pumped throughout the engine.
Extended service intervals have certainly enhanced vehicle sales, as the new car dealers promote low maintenance as a plus for purchasing a vehicle. Some dealerships accept this marketing strategy while others question the extended service intervals and then compromise on the mileage at which to have the lube service performed.
Identifying severe versus normal service is the key. Most think they drive under normal service conditions. Some vehicle manufacturers have made adjustments in their recommended service intervals because of contamination issues resulting in high warranty claims. We have seen this documented in factory service bulletins and letters to vehicle owners to have their vehicles returned to the dealer for a software update to increase the maintenance frequency.
When all else fails, follow the severe service intervals in
your owner’s manual. We want you to
remember that “Maintenance is Always Cheaper
This is weather?
By Jerry Lupul
Ahh, Spring. After the long Canadian Winters Spring is such relief. My bones don’t ache when I’m outside, my nostrils stay in their original, rounded state, and my breath is invisible like it is supposed to be. There may be some more shovelling to do, but sometimes I don’t even need to put on mittens or gloves.
While I love the fluctuating weather, my car does not. Constant freeze and thaw cycles weaken the plastics, and have you noticed just how much plastic is on a car these days? I’m not the only one who thinks that it is odd that the car manufacturers use such a cheap material for important pieces of a car and yet spend umpteen million dollars developing a car, am I? And then there is nothing they can do, warranty wise, when these parts start to fail?
There is also a lot of rubber on and in cars. From the tires (you are using dedicated Winter tires, right? They have a lovely snowflake on them) to the hoses to the belts to the door seals to the wiper blades. Rubber is usually a natural material and reacts to cold and heat. One of the most annoying things in the whole world is when the doors freeze shut. I learned to keep a bottle of lock de-icer on me, and NOT in the car. That helps to get frozen rubber to un-stick. Hair dryers also work well, if they are at hand and you can park somewhere warm afterwards so that the moisture doesn’t re-freeze and you’re outside in the cold again.
The fluids in your car can also thicken to a syrup-like consistency and they need time to thaw properly. Run your vehicle for a very few minutes before driving so YOU get warm, but, be aware that this does not help the fluids. Then drive easy until the engine temperature is up to operating level. This is the best way to help the fluids flow regularly. Make sure that your fluids are as fresh as possible during frigid weather. This is the biggest help you can give your car. Lubrication Station can do that.
Has your car been a hard starter this winter? A synthetic engine oil can help.
Is your car taking forever to warm up? A coolant change can expedite the process.
Does your car whine loudly when turning corners? A power steering system flush could be the silencer.
Get your vehicle’s fluids changed regularly, especially in swing weather times like Spring and Autumn, to prevent the sludging that can hurt the mechanical parts the fluid is lubricating.
Lubrication Station will check your fluids for you, and, in some cases, even the condition of the fluid.
Got any questions? Give our shops a call and speak to our
Realistic service guides
by Jerry Lupul
Even though synthetic motor oil has been on the market along side conventional oil for over 40 years, many consumers still have misunderstandings about the product. However, being able to speak to the differences and benefits can help shatter any confusion or myths around synthetic oil and clear the air. Being educated about the advantages of using synthetic oils will ultimately lead to educated consumers and help extend both their engine life and consumer trust.
Lubricant technology has vastly improved, so the 5,000-kilometre interval between oil changes is simply not a hard and fast rule for modern vehicles. Most car manufacturers actually suggest changes of between 12,000 and 16,000 kilometres depending on the vehicle and type of driving. If using the right synthetic oil many cars can achieve these figures under NORMAL driving conditions. The problem is NORMAL DRIVING CONDITIONS do not exist on our planet. (I repeat myself so much my staff don’t even let me finish this sentence) Always go to the SEVERE SERVICE portion of your owners’ manual to get the proper intervals for your fluid changes, it can be hard to find, and a Google search may be your best bet.
does not matter whether it is engine oil, transmission oil, gear oil etc. using
the SEVERE SERVICE guide will give you the most kilometres for your dollar.
Switching some, or even all, of your fluids to synthetic does not void your warranty, they are not for just high-performance cars, and
you can switch at any time during the life of your car. In our climate
synthetic lubricants are the way to go, in the hot, clammy summers, and the
cold, frigid winters. Call either Lubrication Station location and ask as many
questions as you need so that you can make an informed decision on one of the
biggest investments in your life. We carry seven different brands of synthetic
oils at many different weight to make sure we have the right one for your car.
Know what you're getting into
by Brandon Entwistle
Vehicles come at a costly price these days, new or used. Most people shop for a vehicle right and need it right now, but they can't afford to buy the vehicle with cash, so they will be stuck taking out a loan. Stuck to a monthly payment plan for X amount of dollars and most likely for a long term as in five, six or even ten years. So, my automotive advice is don't live past your means; make sure you know what to expect before you make that purchase. Don't expect to just pay the monthly payment, gas up the vehicle, pay your insurance, and away you go. It will not be that easy.
Question what kind of fuel the vehicle will require, how often it will be needed, how much oil changes and lesser known regular maintenance will cost? How much insurance will cost, can you pay it yearly or monthly? Suddenly, it is not just making a car payment anymore. Pricing may have started at $350 per month and the big picture is more like $650. Those extra costs are not often figured in, and regular maintenance is vital to keep this new, or new-to-you, car in the best shape it can be.
I remember when I started working in this field, only 16 years ago - oil changes started at $21.95. Boy, times have changed. Vehicles have become more complicated, factory requirements for oil specifications have changed. It is now more common for a brand-new vehicle to require synthetic oils, and that comes with a higher cost, $120 or more for a single service. At Lubrication Station we will warn you when your vehicle will need services beyond oil changes, transmission, power steering, etc. I would recommend putting some money away every month so when the maintenance is due it's not a strain on the wallet. General maintenance is required by the manufacturer so from the day of your purchase please be prepared and know what you’re getting into. If it is not explained to you in person, please check our vehicle’s manual which gives not only the recommended service intervals but the specs of the replacements.
Vehicle maintenance is necessary to avoid mechanical damages done by day-to-day driving. Yes, every day puts wear on the car, on the road but even while parked. We are so trusting in our vehicle’s reliability but from my personal experience, things will happen that we don't expect, but we should try to be prepared. Lubrication Station loves preparation, after all, Maintenance is Cheaper Than Repairs.
If you don't like winter
by Jonathan Lupul
If you don’t like winter, read on because there is nothing you can do to stop winter from arriving. I think it was Aristotle who said, “He who prepares for winter driving conditions ahead of time is smart”. If you want to be as smart as Aristotle, then prepare for it. These tips are simple. Some are inexpensive and some are not, but in most cases these will save both money and time down the road (did you notice the pun?).
1. Keep testing your tire pressure. We can test your tire pressure for $0.00 when you drive into a Lubrication Station.
2. Invest in winter tires because they are, perhaps, the main factor in making winter fun… and safe. Proper tread depth on your tires is important, too. We can do a tire depth test for $0.00 when you drive into a Lubrication Station.
3. Make sure that your battery is strong. Cold weather reduces the power available to turn your starter over and will render a marginal battery useless. We can test the strength of your battery for $0.00 when you drive into a Lubrication Station.
4. Full synthetic oils flow at lower temperatures than conventional oils. This one change makes is easier on your starter, your battery, and will give you oil pressure faster to start protecting the vital components of the engine.
5. Don’t bother with gas-line antifreeze because almost all fuel stations switch to a ‘winter’ fuel or diesel fuel in the fall.
6. Fuel system cleaners should be part of your maintenance schedule because more deposits build up in our engines in cold temperatures, especially if you have a direct-injected vehicle. We can add cleaners when you drive into a Lubrication Station.
7. Make sure that you have winter washer fluid in your reservoir. We can top up washer fluid for $0.00 when you drive into a Lubrication Station.
8. This last tip is about the biggest habit to avoid. This would reduce polluting our environment, reduce the drain on your bank account, and drastically reduce the wear and tear on your engine. All you have to do is STOP warming up your car by idling it for any longer than one minute. Just get in the vehicle and drive. It’s what Aristotle would do.
by Jerry Lupul
I am probably the world’s worst skeptic when it comes to getting things for free. Almost every time I get something in the mail, or get an unsolicited phone call, or have a salesperson say to me “You are entitled to a FREE whatever” I know there is a catch or some condition attached to the offer or product. That is why I understand why people are not beating down our doors for the FREE services we provide any day of the week. I guess you are just as skeptical as I am BUT there is no need to be at the Lubrication Station. It is getting harder and harder to find FREE air when the need arises to top up your tires, whether they have a slow leak or it is just due to the temperature changes here on the prairies. We will gladly check your tire pressure at both of our locations. That also gives us the opportunity to check the wear and look to see if we can locate the cause of any leaks.
Especially this time of year, it is good to have your battery tested to see if it is coming to the end of it’s life. The cold weather pushes your battery to it’s limits and if that limit is fast approaching you may be stranded in a location that would not be your first choice. We will test your battery’s charge and let you know if it has a fighting chance to survive another of our winters. If we suspect a problem we can also check your alternator and starter because they may be the culprits, not the battery. Also, the belts (serpentine or v-groove) will be inspected at the same time.
Last, but not least, with every complete oil change, we will top up your windshield washer fluid and coolant/antifreeze for FREE along with a multi-point inspection of the underside of your vehicle. Yes, some things are still FREE. Give us a call or better yet give a try and let us have a chance to earn your business. Remember every 7th oil change is FREE and we are the only completely LOCALLY owned and operated quick lube in Saskatoon.
Why do we tell you something different from your dealer?
by Jerry Lupul
The simple answer is bias.
The complex answer is education. Where our knowledge comes from oil companies, vehicle manufacturers, engineers, after-market organizations, and parts manufacturers, most dealers’ comes just from the manufacturer that they are affiliated with. And rightly so.
So why do we still say change your oil every 5,000 kilometres when your dealer said 7,000, 10,000, or more? We have harped on about severe driving versus normal many, many times, and we can go on about it for years more. We also know there is currently no oil on the market, synthetic or otherwise, that can be guaranteed much past that 5,000 kms mark.
What do we mean by that, you may be asking? The oil in your car is pretty different to the oil that comes up from the ground. That base oil that has been brought up has been refined, tweaked, and had additive packages added to make it that golden colour and be useable in your high-performance engine. It is those additive packages that make motor oil work. It is also those additive packages that get depleted and make the oil break down and become next to useless in your engine after that 5,000 km mark.
Once the additives have been used up the oil in your car is thin and breaking down quite quickly. It is not thick enough to lubricate properly, it doesn’t clean anymore, and it gunks up and sits at the bottom of your engine waiting to break loose and get in to somewhere it should not be.
If you would like further information from an aftermarket source, please go to www.noln.net and look for the article Educating Your Customers on the New Definition of Severe Driving by Peter Suciu. The National Oil and Lube News is a great reference for how the automobile aftermarket digs to find out the truth, and it is not always pretty.
If you would like more information please visit either Lubrication Station location. We have experienced technicians that are not just knowledgeable but eager to learn the newest information of every make and model of car.
by Gerald Guenette
Today topic: lights. Do you know how many different lights are on your vehicle and the purposes they serve?
The different types of exterior lights on your car are:
- headlights (high beam, low beam, daytime running lights), possibly fog lights
- signal lights, marker lights
- tail lights, brake lights, and reverse lights
- license plate bulbs
All light bulbs are on your car for a reason, mostly for safety and not just your safety but also for other drivers on the road. Making sure all your lights are operating correctly keeps everyone on the road safe.
The most obvious lights on your car are your headlights, whose function is to ensure that the driver can see in low light and darkness and allow other drivers to see your vehicle. Along with headlights are Daytime Running Lights (DRLs). While they don’t help you see, as they are only on in daylight, they aid other drivers in seeing you. Like the DRL’s, tail lights in the back make your vehicle visible from the rear when turned on.
The other set of lights on the front of your vehicle are your fog lights (not the commonly said Running Lights) which are designed for helping when it's foggy out. The bulbs are positioned low enough that they shine underneath the fog to allow you to see the road, however, white light against white fog does nothing, they should be yellow to cut through cloudiness.
Brake lights activate when pressing the brake pedal to alert traffic that you are slowing down or coming to a stop. Most vehicles have three brake lights – drivers’ side, passenger side, and high centre. If one of these are burnt out, the risk of the vehicle behind you not being able to see your braking increases. For example, if your centre brake light is out and you apply your brakes, the driver of a large truck driving behind you may not be able to see over the hood as is can obstruct the other lower brake lights.
Then there are the reverse lights that light up when you put your vehicle in reverse so other drivers know that you are backing up and indicate that you need extra space.
The purpose of a license plate bulb is simple: it illuminates the license plate to make it visible. A question that I get asked frequently when I let people know that its burnt out is, do I really need them? The answer is yes, if your vehicle is equipped with a light then it needs to be functioning.
Your signal lights serve two purposes - The first is to signal to traffic which direction you are attempting to go when you are changing lanes or turning a corner. The second is they also function as your hazard lights if your vehicle is damaged or undrivable they let other drivers know you are a non-moving object.
And lastly your marker lights provide extra illumination when turned on at night and during times of poor visibility to help other drivers and pedestrians see the vehicle. That’s it.
Making sure the light’s lens is not to fogged or scratched so that the lights can do their job properly is important. At Lubrication Station, we offer a headlight restoration service that is guaranteed to make those puppy’s good as new! Visit www.lubestation.ca to see the results.
Simple, right? Just remember safety should always be number one priority when it comes to your vehicle and the road.
by Jerry Lupul
After 30+ years in the same business you would think I am becoming tired of using the world SAFETY over and over day after day. Well, I am not tired of harping to my staff but to my customers as well.
At Lubrication Station, safety is part of our on-going, continual, always updating training, so I don’t need to go down that road in this article. BUT, for my customers, I think it is a subject that needs to be reinforced from time to time: As part of our visual inspection we touch on areas that are not part of an everyday oil change, seeing things that could potentially interfere with a vehicle’s safety.
Tires – not only do we check tire inflation we also check wear patterns, tread depth, as well as the condition of the inside walls, which I can guess almost none of us do on a regular basis??? (I don’t, I get my technicians to do it)
We also have the opportunity to inspect the underside of the car for worn steering and suspension parts, and exhaust system integrity, lessening the chances of steering snapping, exhaust seeping in to a car, and the cost of frustrating breakdowns.
Vehicle’s wiper blades – way too often these components are over-looked even though they are right in front of our faces every time we get into our cars. Just because they do not get used often, just sitting there at the bottom of our windshields, they must not be wearing out, right? WRONG. Our atmospheric conditions are constantly bombarding the rubber of our blades each and every season. Whether it is ultraviolet rays from the sun, acid rain due to climate change (which does not apply to the U.S.) or just inactivity, wiper blades should be changed at least once a year.
We want to make sure your vehicle is as safe as possible, and the Lubrication Station visual inspection is free anytime for our customers. Yes, that says FREE.
… Don’t forget we are Saskatoon’s only 100%
independent, local, family owned and operated quick lube. Ask for your original
Having a Mobile or Being Mobile
by Jerry Lupul
An article recently came across my desk, Rush to Buy an iPhone, Complain About Auto Repair by Tom Venetis of www.ssgm.com, and it really struck a chord with me. To make a short story shorter he explains how most people will willingly spend hundreds of dollars on a phone to replace their current not-obsolete, in-perfect-condition phone worth hundreds of dollars, just to say the have the newest and greatest, don’t blink an eye, yet ignore their vehicle’s maintenance and repairs because of the cost.
Both your vehicle and your mobile phone are important items in a day, especially in a place with horrid transit systems. I totally understand, as I am very attached to both myself. Both are essential in my daily routine, sometimes I use both at the same time (with hands free systems, even in my vehicle that does not have built-in Bluetooth). Having said that, my car is more important than my cellular phone – I can use a landline when I get to work, but I cannot forget my car or leave it at home for a day. If I’m without my car I need to borrow or rent something ASAP to get from one shop to another, to my suppliers, and to and from home.
Yes, I was a car guy before I got in to the oil change business. I was in the habit of car maintenance before I started preaching about it. I cannot stress enough the importance of keeping your car in good condition, and the easiest way is to follow scheduled maintenance, including oil changes, but also tire rotations, wiper blade changes, and fluid flushes. Maintenance does cost money, and sometimes the prices seem to change daily, but it should never be a “grudge expense”.
It is also during these scheduled stops that my staff, who see many cars every day in ways that you may never see your own car, can let you know about any other service work required. Ultimately its about staying mobile.
Be prepared for the unexpected
by Brandon Entwistle
We all expect that we can simply jump in our car, turn the key (or press the START button) and away we go. After all the other things life throws at us when we first start our day, getting the kids out of bed, fed, clothes, lunch ready for school, teeth brushed and hair done, the last thing we think about when we go to start the car is will it fire without a hitch?
This is not always the case.
things can go wrong and it seems like it is at the worst possible time. The
most common things that I hear are a dead battery and/or a flat tire.
brings me to my question: When was the last time you had a look at your
vehicles emergency supplies? I have had a few unfortunate times when my vehicle
decided to make life more difficult than it needed to be.
So why not be ahead of it?
We know at some point something is going to happen. Be ready for it. Good things to have in a vehicle emergency kit would be as follows:
- Tire pressure gauge with portable pump
- Battery charger to boost a weak battery (we do not recommend jumper cables for vehicles newer than 1995)
- Tire repair kit (possibly to fix a giant screw that you just pulled from your tire)
- At least a litre of engine oil, coolant, and transmission oil to limp the vehicle to a service location
- Small fire extinguisher (optional but a good idea)
- A small assortment of tools (pliers, small socket set, and wrench set)
I know this sounds like a lot but it's better to have it and not need then need it and not have it.
The Lubrication Station performs many free check-up services. Come by anytime to have your vehicle looked over for no charge. We will make sure to check for possible problems and to keep fluids at optimal levels to help prevent unexpected early morning delays.
Thanks for reading and learning.
I believe you?
by Jerry Lupul
Lubrication Station changes oil. Really well. But that’s pretty much it. Engine oil, transmission oil, power steering fluid, differential fluids, transfer case fluids, radiator fluid, even a fuel system cleaning, we can do it. Have a light out? We can usually change those. And we also change those air filters, cabin filters, and wiper blades that we keep going on about. If you need a fuel system additive every time you get an oil change (looking at you here, Hyundai owners) we can do that, too.
Lubrication Station cannot get those bumps and scratches out of your paint. We cannot fix that mysterious shuddering that happens when you’re braking or accelerating. We cannot make your exhaust quiet again, or stop your car from pulling to the left when trying to go straight, or magically get rid of the knocking that happens when your car is cold. We are categorically NOT mechanics.
So why do you need to know this? Because Lubrication Station can prevent a lot of that stuff. By following the manufacturer’s recommended service intervals (which can change frequently) and the information given by the oil and filter companies (which may be different than the manufacturer’s), your car can run smoothly for 10+ years.
Lubrication Station sees a lot of cars in a day and never only one make or model. We also are not beholden to one oil company. Want to know why we recommend an oil that your car doesn’t specifically ask for? Because we have experience that is not limited by the logo on the door. Ask us what we use in our own vehicles. We will tell you and give you the reasons why. Our staff is not limited to reciting the memos that the head office sends out.
Still having problems even after performing regular maintenance? Most of the time we can pinpoint why and let you know the next steps needed. If you are worried about problems that may occur in your vehicle’s future come in and ask us about our absolutely free extended warranty or visit http://www.wynnsusa.com/ (remember that this is an American website so think kilometres).
parts will fail. People can make mistakes. Lubrication Station endeavours to be
open and honest when dealing with our customers. Be curious and ask questions.
Or even in all aspects of life. It feels good to know the how’s and why’s.