Niagara Gazette

Features

June 13, 2013

TOM'S CORNER: What's really necessary during an oil change?

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — All synthetic oils are NOT the same. Look for synthetic oils like AMSOIL or Mobil One that have extremely robust additive packages designed for longer drain intervals. This insures you are getting highly additive-ized oil that provides maximum protection regardless of mileage.

Does your vehicle need a fuel system cleaning?

Fuel system cleaning isn’t addressed directly in maintenance schedules. I checked six specific year, make, and model vehicles in the ALLDATA database and I came up with only one reference regarding fuel delivery system inspection; and two others, one referencing fuel filter replacement and one referencing fuel line inspection. So this is a gray area. I can tell you that fuel flow creates varnish deposits and that inefficient combustion from worn sparkplugs and wires causes carbon buildup within the engine. Over time, the injectors clog up. When this happens, the injectors dribble fuel into the combustion chamber instead of delivering a fine mist of air/fuel mixture for perfect combustion. In addition, I can tell you that fuel additives to the fuel tank alone cannot keep a fuel system clean.

Chemical companies that develop fuel system cleaning chemicals recommend a complete fuel system cleaning every 30K–40K miles. During the cleaning process, industrial strength carbon and varnish cleaners are injected directly into the fuel delivery system while the engine is running. The problem I have with the quick lube recommendation? First, they “recommend” the service almost every time you stop in for an oil change. Second, I question the quality of the fuel system service they offer. For this service to work effectively, they must use a special machine and a specific set of tools, as well as an industrial grade carbon and varnish cleaner. Such equipment, found in high quality repair facilities or dealerships, are often not available at quick lubes. Don’t get me wrong; quick lubes have their place in automotive service. However, I think they are out of their league in this area of service.

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