While having the oil changed at one of the "quick change" chains, I inquired about the filter they were using. They told me it was "a really good quality one - we use Fram." I let them finish, but reckoned that I'd do some checking before the next oil change. I requested and got the old used (OEM) filter at that time.
I purchased a new OEM filter from the dealer (this was a Mercedes, but I had the same results later with a Mazda filter). Then I went to the local Pep Boys and got the recommended Fram replacement filter. The Fram unit was only about half the weight of the OEM filter. Figuring that it was only a few bucks, and I certainly wasn't going to use it on my car, I opened it up with a bandsaw, and did the same with the used OEM unit from the previous oil change.
Both filters were constructed with an accordian pattern of filter material (similar to porous paper), but the OEM unit had roughly three times the amount of material as compared to the Fram filter. Since car oil systems have a bypass pressure valve to allow oil to continue flowing even if the filter is clogged, the Fram filter could easily become completely clogged much earlier than the factory recommended service interval, allowing unfiltered oil to circulate throughout the engine.
I always provide my own filter at the quick-change shops now, for which I'm usually credited the princely sum of $2.00. I guess this is part of the reason that these outfits recommend a 3000 mile interval rather than the invariably longer (7500 on my car) manufacturer-recommended interval...
"Considering that the oil has oxidation rate that doubles for every 10 to 12 F increase in temperature, the gear oil in RWD differential is the most stressed lube in a vehicle."
Diff lube may see higher temps than engine oil, but the diff lube is not subject to outside contaminants such as engine oil is, especially from blowby - all engines have blowby and the majority of contaminants in engine oil is dilution from fuel (from the blowby).
So recommended drain intervals for diff lube can be in the 50K or more range, but you could never do this with engine oil regardless of how good the oil is unless we can somehow minimize blowby to nothing.
Also, because diff lube is not subject to fuel dilution and the variety of things an IC engine oil sees, it can be engineered for a more narrow set of operating parameters (i.e. temp and shear) thus giving it longer life.
This is a subject that simply cannot be discussed in this short space, but trying to keep it simple: even the most advanced lubricating systems in latest cars cannot cope with the inevitable: Dirt Ingress. All AIR filters in automotive use are NOT absolute systems, and it is practically impossible for them to remove 100% of the solid particles at the size range that damage the engine (abrasive damage). PERHAPS, if you live in a dreamlike place, free of abrasive dust in the air, well...; But for the rest of us, the oil change has to be executed in order to maintain an acceptable cleanliness of the oil (and that ignoring the measurable oil degradation altogether...). On OIL fliters, it is the same, no car oil filter can maintain the oil contents of the crankase as pristine as new oil, not to talk about the crankase contaminants added by the internal combustion engine, nor withstanding how advanced it is claimed to be.
One thing is to analyze the (possible) excessive oil change frecuency (and I concurr that the ever present practice of oil-changing at the familiar intervals is NOT the correct way to stablish a car maintenance schedule); and that Synthetic oils are capable of much longer service life than it is currentkly realized by people; BUT, the statement that there is an "Oil that does NOT need to be changed" is not a total, complete and absolute truth, and could conduce to some some engines being damaged.
Two extreme perhaps, , but clear examples: 1) At a factory producing cardboard boxes, several Forklift engines were completely destroyed in a matter of a few days (not months, not weeks). Reason: The extremely abrasive nature of the dust in that factory, the standard oil change schedule from the engine operating manual being followed, coupled to a failure prone air filter design that, when subjected to a large dust accumulation, flexed inside owing to its design and allowed some by-pass of the air into the engine.
2) Here where I live (Mexico City), we always have had the presence of appreciable dust quantities, but since 1996, its contains damaging levels of Volcanic Ash from "Popocatepetl" volcano near the city, varying along the year as the winds change direction. To leave the same oil charge for a long period is not a sane advice!
Maybe the only PROPER way to find how often the oil should be changed would be tru Oil Analysis, which unfortunately is not as inexpensive or easy for the gross of the population. (But is strongly advised for fleet use). And talking about car fleets: the most confirmed good practice for the maintenance of the Mexico City Airport Cab fleet, is to change the oil every two weeks! The difference in engine life of these Taxy cabs has been pretty well stablished, even using Synthetic. As I said, independently of how marvelous a synthetic oil could be considered, oil degradation is not the only aspect; feedom from abrasive particles is at least as important, and no oil could claim to be so advanced as to "repel dirt". amclaussen.
Have it in all my cars since 1985, and it really works.
But when ever I tell anyone about it and the fact that it works as claimed for me, I still can not get used to the fear that other people express about NOT changing Oil.
Oil industry keeps convincing you that you ahve to do it every 3 months or 3,000 miles (they sell oil and more of it they sell the better for them)
GM and others try to convince you that you do NOT have to chagne the oil as often in their superior vehicles that sport the OIL LIFE system, but then you find out that it only estimates oil chang einterval based on their OEM Dexos Oil and the oil monitor does not have any idea what oil you have (or even if you have enough of it in)
Yet it is really strange that the 3,000 miles Motor Oil change has caught on that well and still persists, and at the same time almost no one ever changes or checks oil in RWD differential - and that oil when towing can get up to 300 F or more !!
If motor oil gets over 220F in liquid cooled engine, you ahve some other serious problem (like no coolant) to worry much about the Motor Oil.
Considering that the oil has oxidation rate that doubles for every 10 to 12 F increase in temperature, the gear oil in RWD differential is the most stressed lube in a vehicle.
And I don't mean you buying an oil change at a national chain.
The failure occurred because the oil filter company did not perform quality assurance on the parts purchased from China.
When you purchase chicken at the supermarket, do you do a single check of quality on the first chicken purchased, the first time you visited the store? If that one chicken passed your quality tests, do you stop checking that the meat is good for ever?
If a part or process is outside of my control, quality checks get performed.
The sad fact is that when an organization does not have the information to deliver the correc product, they usually purchase the cheapest product. Many times the failure takes a while, but it does fail. Used motor oil is hard on many kinds of rubber, so having the correct choice does matter. It seems that the quick change place management either did not know or did not care. LIke some others have pointed out, It is possible to get excellent quality work in China, BUT it does not happen at every shop that you see.
were not the same as the oiul filter o-rings. Apparently the originl Shuttle O-ring was made with an asbestos compound, to withstand the conditions of launch, etc. But when asbestos was declared evil, they changed the material and it failed. The moral being, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
I had a friend who was running his car without the air cleaner. He went to some garage for an oil change and the "mechanic" poured the oil down the carbureter instead of the oil filler opening. My friend said, "don't sweat it," and started up the engine right there in the service bay. Have a little smoke! Bet the mechanic never made that mistake again!
Additionally, performing our own oil changes allows a lot of extra benefits:
1) You can visually check the appearance of the oil. Putting a couple of drops on a piece of white napkin paper will show discolorations; smell it, does it have the slightest gasoline odor?; how thick or thin it appears to be? Does it contain the slightest traces of visible metallic particles (under sunlight)?, How much oil is using your engine between changes? Ideally, you could even cut the oil filter to check the filtered matter... It is done in carefully maintained fleets. There are some excellently designed filter cutters that make this more a fast move than a chore. How much do you love your engine?
2) You can be shure the replacement Oil and the Flter are of good quality, not something the Quick-and dirty- place buys in a drum size container...
3) You can add an "Oil System Cleaner" or "Oil Flush" before draining the used oil, allowing the engine to fast idle for 3 minutes, which will get more dirt out of the engine that only draining the used oil; specially with Turbo or Supercharged engines, since the Turbo bearings and oil galleries are thinner than those of the rest of the engine. Flushing the engine oil is safe as long as you Don't load it or rev it above fast idle.
4) You can allow the used oil much more time to drain out, much more than the "Quick Change" places allow... in the mean time you can take out spark plugs, change the air filter, or the gas filter; check the condition of the belts, the coolant and the brake fluid.
5) You can check the condition of the engine gaskets, re-grease the suspension in older cars, or just drink a cool beer in the meantime!
6) I've SEEN several "Quick (and dirty) Change" places just clean the outside of the used oil filter, instead of replacing it. Not replacing the filter at EVERY oil change means up to 25% of the oil is not changed. One time I saw the old filter got a shining new STICKER with the date on it!
7) Be sure to carefully collect and dispose of the used oil and filter at a proper collection center, remember it only takes 5 quarts of used motor oil to render a full water truck undrinkable ppm's).
I have had the pleasure to disassemble some well cared engines, where the owner was careful enough, they are clean, free of dirt and goo... but also have seen some that appear to have the factory oil left in them! Nothing can be and look so different.
averagejoe72677 wrote:"The terms precision, quality and durability do not appear to translate into Mandrin[sic]. A cheap price is about all they have to offer..."
While most of the blame on Chinese products is deserved, blaming all on them automatically is plain shortsight (no offense). While I sympathize with your feeling sometimes, I invite you to carefully look around you in this very moment... The phones, computer, monitor, memory on your portables, your portables, cameras, TV's, tools... Gosh!, almost all them are made in China, and most of them work perfecly OK; Don't they? ...These items HAVE enought quality. -SO, Where needs the blame to be assigned?
I guess it begins with the stupid, greedy CEO's in most american (and too many other countries) companies, that rejoice comptemplating the very few cents they are "saving" (or the many thousands in bonuses they are collecting for their "hard" work) when they send the production, fabrication, assembly, and even design to China or similar countries.
To put it clearly: Today many Chinese companies are more than able to produce the best quality in the world. BUT, why are so many cheap, improvised, badly designed items reaching the buyers? It is because the buying companies persist in lowering costs without even checking that the quality level of the goods is truly built into them. Do the company buying/ordering/fabricating then in China bother to inspect the items? (or are they going to say it is costlier than fabricating them?)
One friend of mine is into the Model Airplane Hobby Business; He travels to Oriental countries yearly to check for their offerings. He has told us that a given fabricator has up to SEVEN different versions of (almost) the same engine... at a range of prices according to quality, but the important thing is that even to his trained eye, the different versions look amazingly similar, almost equal! Then the problem lies in the buyer or importer, or the company that fabricates them in China, more than anything else. Besides that, he tells me that there are no american made model airplane engines still made today, other than a very few specialty ones, and some of them are made from components made in China!
Another aspect that needs consideration is that for a given product, there a hundreds or thousands of Chinese companies available to deal with. Without a CAREFUL, slow and through revision, there is a possibility to make a deal with the wrong ones.
Next time you feel the urgent need to blame on a Chinese product, ask yourself if the people that produced it was asked to deliver their best effort based on COST or QUALITY by the persons making the deal. And that the american (or any other foreign) businessman visiting the Chinese takes the time and effort to learn at least a little Standard Chinese(Putonghua / Guoyu / Huayu), not Mandarin, instead of specting the other side to fully understand and correct all the terms of the deal. amclaussen.
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There’s a good chance that a few of the things mentioned here won't fully come to fruition in 2015 but rather much later down the line. However, as Malcolm X once said, "The future belongs to those who prepare for it today."
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