Best to Check that Oil!
I wanted to make you aware of an epidemic we are seeing in the Automotive Repair Industry and it has to do with oil consumption and parts breaking down on newer cars.
Let me back up and start with what is responsible for this. The Federal Government is holding the vehicle manufacturers accountable for fuel economy standards that they are working hard to meet. (Look up CAFÉ standards if you are bored sometime) The vehicle manufacturers are doing anything they can to get these cars to achieve better and better fuel economy and the car buying public is the test lab!
Low Tension Piston Rings are one of these ideas. If you look at the picture, in the center, you will see a piston that has piston rings around it. Also there are 2 piston rings; one thicker and one thinner, The thicker ring (Right) is out of a 1994 Engine, the thinner ring (Left) is out of a 2014 Engine. These rings seal the piston to the inside of a cylinder. They have changed to the thinner ring to lower friction and increase fuel economy.
The problem arises when carbon that is left behind from the fuel we burn starts to build up on these low tension piston rings (note black stuff on the piston in the picture) and they get locked in place. When this happens, oil from the crankcase gets into the cylinder where the fuel is ignited. Since all of the cylinders on the engine have this problem, the engine systematically starts to burn its own oil and the customer never knows it is happening.
What can you do?
1. Check your oil. Check it every time you get gas or at least every other time and add ASAP when needed. It helps to know what kind of oil your vehicle takes and to keep a quart in your trunk (see your owner's manual or ask us at your next oil change)
2. DON'T put off your oil changes.Standard oil change intervals of 3,000 miles for normal or synthetic blends of oil, 5,000 miles for full synthetic or oil changes that include an oil additive such as BG MOA that is designed to clean the engine while it lubricates. (see our blog post on this subject here) *We have heard some people with newer cars saying that their car salesperson told them some newer cars can go up to 10,000 miles before an oil change.We don't recommend this under any circumstances.
3. Jammin J Auto & Tire recommends an Engine Performance Restoration (EPR) and Motor Oil Additive (MOA) kit! The EPR dissolves carbon build up. We pour it into the oil and run the engine in place on the rack for 30 minutes to help loosen the stuck piston rings. Then we drain and change the oil and add the MOA to the new oil.The MOA additive has a cleaner and helps extend the life of the motor oil by preventing the build up. This procedure should be done every 3rd oil change or sooner depending on the amount of oil the engine is consuming. This will be normal maintenance on cars with low tension piston rings.
4. Don't hop from quickest/cheapest oil change place to the next. We know it is tempting to just swing in to a quick change place when you are in a hurry.But, just like your physician or your dentist, if you consistently go to the same place, they should be able to keep your vehicle in good condition.When you visit the same place several times in a row for oil changes, they can help keep an eye on whether your oil level has been lower than usual when it comes in for servicing. If you go to a different place every time, there is no way for them to know what your car did last time.
If you have a newer car and want to get a lot of miles out of it, starting as soon as possible with regular oil changes and having an EPR and MOA service every third oil change can help add years and miles to the your engine and hopefully reduce the risk of costly damage.