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 a 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, just keep using the oil you have used for the first 135,000, and you may get a few more 135,000's.
Q: I am writing to you about the 2004 Escalade (120,000 miles) my daughter bought nine months ago. She only got a 30-day guarantee with it. Her problems started a few months after she bought it.
The first time her car quit on her, she was told she needed a new throttle body. Two months later her car quit again and she needed a new transmission. One month after the new transmission, her car's engine light read "reduce engine power" and the car quit again. She had the car towed to where she'd had the transmission installed.
The mechanic there had the car for a week and told her something about 11 points he had to check. After the week he got it going and said all he could find was she needed a new air filter. (She had the oil changed at the dealership after she bought the car).
A week after the air filter was changed, the car quit again and it was towed again to the same mechanic. He had the car another week and told her about the 11 points again.
He told her he wasn't sure what the problem was but thought oil was leaking into the engine, and if that was not the problem, she should take it to a dealership for them to figure it out. Please help her. What do you think is wrong?
A: Variable cam timing, and Maf Sensor are just a few of the known problems on the Escalade. Variable cam timing depends on oil being present at the sensor with the proper pressure. The Caddy may be sucking oil out of its six-quart system and lowering the quantity to the point that the cam sensors are being starved and shutting the engine down. Other known problems are with the Maf Sensor, which is located at the front of the air intake tube.
When this problem does happen, if it is indeed the Maf Sensor, technicians have been able to unplug the Maf Sensor and the vehicle then runs again. If you stick to one good shop and give them the time they need to do the proper diagnostics, you will be able to get rid of the problem and enjoy the Escalade.
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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 email to firstname.lastname@example.org.