SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

May 11, 2013

Auto Scanner: Does ’98 Honda Accord need high-mileage oil?

Auto Scanner
Larry Rubenstein

---- — Q: I recently had the oil changed in my 1998 Honda Accord that has 135,000 miles on it. My mechanic recommended a high-mileage oil, which costs about $10 more per oil change. My question is, is it worth the added cost? I have religiously changed the oil and filter every 3,000 miles in this car since it was new and it burns no oil.

A: Your ’98 Accord is going to give you a lot more miles as long as you keep doing what you do. Changing the oil every 3,000 miles or every 90 days is the way to go. Further, as long as you keep to the schedule there is no need for you to change to the high-price, high-profit, high-mileage oil. The oil itself does not break down; it’s the additive package that we are dealing with for the difference. Either way, valve seals are going to wear out, gaskets are going to leak, and parts will wear down and break. But, if you keep on your schedule, you can keep using the oil you have used for the first 135,000, and you may get another 135,000 miles.

Q: I have a 2007 Chrysler 300 and in the center of the dash there is a clock that looks like a pocket watch. Every day it loses a half-hour or more. I have to reset it. Is this something that I have to take back to the dealership, or is there something that I can do?

A: There are two ways to handle this problem. First, you could take the vehicle to a shop and have the clock removed and sent to the dealer, who will in turn send it out for repair. But the least expensive way to handle the problem would be to have the clock removed and replaced with one from a local car recycling dealer, or even online. There are not any special tools involved in the removal of the clock, but there is a level of skill needed to remove and reinstall the clock. By the way, I personally like the analog clock — it’s a classy touch.

Q: I was told many years ago that whenever your automobile spends any time being worked on in an auto body shop you should have the oil changed when it’s finished. My friends don’t believe it. What’s your opinion on this and, if so, what is the reason for that?

A: That is a valid tip. Here is the deal on this: In a body shop there is typically a lot of dust caused by sanding a car during the repairs. You will notice that the shop workers wear breathing masks. Your car isn’t as fortunate, and the dust that’s generated ends up in your engine, and possibly in your car if the car is not sealed. The body shop will typically clean the car inside and out before returning it to you, but very rarely will they change the oil or the oil filter, which will be contaminated with body repair dust.

Car care tip: Many cars have what is called a cabin air filter. This filter is for the people riding in your car to help keep the car free of allergens and outside pollutants. Replacing this filter once a year should be sufficient.

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Larry Rubenstein is a master technician who owns a North Shore service station. His column appears every Saturday. Write to Larry at The Salem News, c/o Auto Scanner, 32 Dunham Road, Beverly, MA 01915, or send an email to scanauto@aol.com.