Change your oil every three months or 3000 miles!

Sound familiar? More than likely your parents ground it into your memory, so every time the little sticker in the corner of our windshield matches our odometer we immediately head for the nearest Jiffy Lube.

When was the last time you went 10,000 miles without changing your oil? If your like most of us, probably never, however, some cars are made to run that long or longer on a single oil change thanks to tighter engine tolerances, better materials, and synthetic oils.

According to a recent government survey only 33% of people had ever driven their cars 4000 miles or more on a single oil change.

The truth is, changing your oil every 3000 miles is just too often, todays engines are made to run 5, 8, 10, and even 20,000 miles between oil changes. The average oil change costs around $30, and lets say we drive the standard 12,000 miles a year, that’s $120 a year in oil changes when really you should only be spending half that, it’s not a big savings, but over time really can help line your pocketbook.

Every year we throw away millions of gallons of half used oil, one analyst from Edmonds.com said “you wouldent change your bath water halfway through, why would you change your oil” and he’s right. If you want to find out how often you should change your oil you can either check your service manual, or go to http://www.checkyournumber.org put in your year make and model, and it will tell you how often you really need to stop in to the service station.

So what do the numbers on the motor oil mean?

1. The API service rating – this is a two letter rating that basically tells you the type of engine the oil is for ie gas or diesel and the quality level

2. The  next is viscosity grade for example 5W-30. This is the thickness of the oil. Water has a low viscosity and something like molasses would have a very high viscosity.

3. The last bit of information may be there or not bus basically tell you whether or not it’s “energy conserving”

Viscosity is ordinarily expressed in terms of the time required for a st­andard quantity of the fluid at a certain temperature to flow through a standard orifice. The higher the value, the more viscous the fluid. Since viscosity varies inversely with temperature, its value is meaningless unless accompanied by the temperature at which it is determined. With petroleum oils, viscosity is now commonly reported in centistokes (cSt), measured at either 40°C or 100 °C (ASTM Method D445 – Kinematic Viscosity).

a SAE 30 motor oil is the same viscosity as a 10w-30 or 5W-30 at 210° (100° C). The difference is when the viscosity is tested at a much colder temperature. For example, a 5W-30 motor oil performs like a SAE 5 motor oil would perform at the cold temperature specified, but still has the SAE 30 viscosity at 210° F (100° C) which is engine operating temperature. This allows the engine to get quick oil flow when it is started cold verses dry running until lubricant either warms up sufficiently or is finally forced through the engine oil system. The advantages of a low W viscosity number is obvious. The quicker the oil flows cold, the less dry running. Less dry running means much less engine wear.

Multi-weight oils (such as 10W-30) are  made possible by adding polymers to oil. The polymers allow the oil to have different weights at different temperatures. The first number indicates the viscosity of the oil at a cold temperature, while the second number indicates the viscosity at operating temperature. Another way of looking at multi-vis oils is to think of a 20W-50 as a 20 weight oil that will not thin more than a 50 weight would when hot.

You may hear people say that they wouldn’t use a 5W-30 motor oil because it is, “Too thin.” Then they may use a 10W-30 or SAE 30 motor oil. At engine operating temperatures these oils are the same. The only time the 5W-30 oil is “thin” is at cold start up conditions where you need it to be “thin.”

Despite the harm some cars do to the environment, the automobile is actually the most recycled product in the world.

GM’s Environmental Commitment

Product Life Cycle

At GM, when we develop new vehicles our designers and engineers work to find ways to improve the impact our products will have on the environment throughout their entire lifecycle. We look at everything from the materials that go into our vehicles and the manufacturing processes used to build them, to energy consumption on the road and the recyclability of our vehicles at the end of their useful life.

Vehicle Design

Components of the headliner in the 2010 Buick Lacrosse are made from recycled cardboard scrap salvaged from manufacturing operations at GM’s Marion Assembly plant in Marion, Indiana.

When designing new vehicles, we use recycled and bio-based materials from renewable resources whenever economically and technically possible. Engineers in our “Design for the Environment” group work with materials and components suppliers to  identify opportunities to continually increase the use of these materials. Recycled materials in our products come from a variety of origins – from things like old pop bottles, blue jeans and nylon carpet, to used tires and recycled vehicle bumpers. In fact, we’re even beginning to explore some opportunities to use recycled waste products from our own manufacturing facilities in parts for our new vehicles. This allows for an entire closed loop process where we can divert waste that may otherwise go to landfill butinstead is put to good use as part of a new product.

The 2010 Chevrolet Corvette uses renewable balsa wood, the fastest growing tree in the world, in its floor panel. Fibers from the kenaf plant, a quick growing, tall-stalky plant, are used to create a component of the headliner in the 2010 Chevrolet Equinox.

We’re also beginning to make use of some renewable natural fibers in vehicle parts to make our cars and trucks more sustainable. Right now we are using balsa wood in the floor panel of the Chevrolet Corvette, and kenaf fibers – as a component in the headliner of some vehicles.

Here is a link to GM Dismantling Manuals.

http://www.gm.com/corporate/responsibility/environment/recycling/veh_end_life/manuals_list.jsp  (GM Dismantling Manual)

Automotive Recycling Association (ARA)

Since 1943, the Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA) is an international trade association which has represented an industry dedicated to the efficient removal and reuse of automotive parts, and the safe disposal of inoperable motor vehicles.

ARA services approximately 1,000 member companies through direct membership and over 2,000 other companies through our affiliated chapters. Suppliers of equipment and services to this industry complete ARA’s membership. ARA is the only trade association serving the automotive recycling industry in 12 countries internationally.

ARA aims to further the automotive recycling industry through various services and programs to increase public awareness of the industry’s role in conserving the future through automotive recycling and to foster awareness of the industry’s value as a high quality, low cost alternative for the automotive consumer. ARA encourages aggressive environmental management programs to assist member facilities in maintaining proper management techniques for fluid and solid waste materials generated from the disposal of motor vehicles.

Facts About the North American Automotive Recycling Industry.

  • Total annual revenue is estimated to be $22 billion.
  • In 1997, auto recyclers acquired 4.7 million vehicles for the purpose of recycling.*
  • Recycling vehicles provides enough steel to produce almost 13 million new vehicles.*
  • Saves an estimated 85 million barrels of oil a year, that would have been used in the manufacturing of new or replacement parts.
  • Automotive recyclers spent nearly $50 million on environmental compliance in 1997.*
  • The majority of automotive recycling businesses used a computerized inventory system.*
  • Automotive recyclers provide wholesale and retail customers quality parts that sell for up to 50% less than the comparable new parts.
  • Automotive recycling businesses employ some 103,108 people at more than 8,267 businesses around the country.
  • An estimated 86% of automotive recycling companies is full-service and employs 10 or fewer people.*
  • Total annual payroll is estimated to be $3.3 Billion.
  • The majority of automotive recyclers can often locate parts faster than new part dealers because the facilities are connected by telephone, satellite and/or computerized communications systems to recyclers across the globe.*
  • Automotive recycling decreases insurance rates by purchasing inoperative vehicles from insurance companies, thus allowing for recovery of financial losses. These vehicles came primarily from individual owners and salvage auctions
  • Automotive recycling keeps highways and roads clear of abandoned and disabled vehicles by providing a place to deposit these vehicles.

Sources: *Most recent ARA statistical data regarding the automotive recycling industry. Data compiled from a 1997 survey by the private consulting firm, Axiom Research Company and Automotive Recycling: Your Cars Afterlife (2-13-2006).

Automotive recycling serves a vital role in preserving natural resources and reducing the demand for scarce landfill space. For example, each year approximately 95 percent of vehicles retired from use are processed for recycling.  The recycling of these vehicles saves an estimated 85 million barrels of oil that would have been used in the manufacturing of new or replacement parts.  Additional energy and resource conservation is realized by recycling rebuildable “core” parts to the automotive parts rebuilding industry.

In addition to conserving natural resources, automotive recycling plays an important role in reducing air and water pollution, and solid waste generation. Automotive recyclers must abide by stringent local and national regulations on dealing with waste generated by salvaged automobiles. Many individual automotive recyclers have also instituted their own unique programs to further reduce the potential effects of harmful materials to their businesses and communities.

The closest auto recycler to us in South Dakota that is also a registered member of the ARA is located in Colorado.

Colorado Auto Recyclers
Jolane Hochstetler, Executive Director
(303) 457-2119
(303) 451-7567 Fax


YouTube video tour of a recycling company.

Five Common Towing Mistakes to Avoid

As the weather changes, Spring hunters and fishermen begin preparing their campers, four-wheelers and boats.  Before hooking up your trailers, all drivers are invited to read the tips below to learn how to avoid the five most common towing mistakes, and increase their confidence behind the wheel.

According to Robert Krouse, Chevrolet’s lead trailering engineer and overall expert in all things-towing, “There are several common mistakes that people often make when towing and these mistakes can not only damage their trailer, but also their tow vehicle.”

“The new Silverado heavy-duty pickup is designed for towing, and provides drivers with the ability to tow 21,700 pounds and carry 6,635 pounds”, Mark Kostboth, Sale Manager

Mistake 1: Not knowing the actual weight of the trailer

“I often see that customers have incorrect trailer weights and they will then underestimate the weight of the items they are putting on the trailer,” said Krouse. For example, many people will misjudge the weight of the gear or supplies, such as building materials that are actually much heavier than people may think.

Mistake 2:  Not knowing the actual capacity of the tow vehicle as equipped

Far too often, an individual will mismatch the vehicle to the trailer load, which must always be properly matched for optimal efficiency. Many websites provide only maximum trailer weight ratings (TWR), which means consumers would need additional equipment to achieve the greatest performance for a vehicle that is not equipped with the maximum TWR.

Mistake 3:  Overloading the trailer or tow vehicle

Consumers often make the mistake of overloading and exceeding the TWR and GCWR as discussed in mistakes one and two, but it is also vital not to overload the trailer tongue weight, tow vehicle and trailer gross vehicle weight ratings (GVWRs), individual tow vehicle and trailer gross axle weight ratings (GAWRs) and individual tire ratings. “By putting too much weight on a trailer it can not only damage the trailer, but also the tow vehicle. Results can range from broken axles to bearing damage and excessive tire wear,” Krouse said.

Mistake 4:  Improper combination setup – including weight distribution hitch

After you have confirmed TWR and GCWR, it is important to make sure that the hitch ball, brake controller, sway controls and weight-distributing spring bars (if used) are properly installed and adjusted. “Too often I see that the hitch ball is too high or too low, the sway controls or weight-distributing spring bars are improperly adjusted and the brake controller may not be properly set up,” said Krouse. “It is common to see trailers with spring bars that are visibly curved upward and applying large amounts of torque to the hitch. “

Mistake 5:  General driving practices

One of the easiest ways to avoid mistakes while towing is to always practice safe driving techniques. The tow vehicle and trailer combination is often considerably heavier, longer and higher than the vehicle that is doing the towing. This combination makes it more difficult to maneuver, drive and stop the vehicle doing the towing.

Finally, Krouse notes that consumers need to pay close attention to vehicle and trailer maintenance. When trailering, it is important to remember that the tow vehicle is working harder than it does alone, generally operating under higher loads and higher temperatures that require additional attention. Also, trailers often sit for long periods of time and require maintenance due to long periods of inactivity. “Either way, stay on top of maintenance, particularly paying attention to fluids, tires and brakes in the tow vehicle and brakes, bearings, tires and electrical systems in the trailer,” said Krouse.

2011 Chevrolet Silverado HD Towing Features:

The Silverado HD was engineered from the ground up to offer drivers more capability, including:

  • The maximum conventional (ball hitch) towing rating is now a segment-best 17,000 pounds (7,727 kg)
  • The maximum fifth-wheel hitch rating is now 21,700 pounds (9,843 kg) for the Silverado 3500HD crew cab/long box
  • The maximum payload for the Silverado 3500HD is 6,635 pounds (3,009 kg)

In addition, the new Silverado HD is available with confidence- and control-related features specifically for towing, including:

  • Electronic trailer sway control senses conditions of trailer sway and automatically intervenes with braking and or reduced engine power to bring the trailer under control
  • Hill start assist helps prevent rollbacks on steep grades by holding the brakes for about 1.5 seconds, giving the driver time to switch from the brake pedal to the gas pedal without rolling
  • Automatic grade braking and intelligent brake assist uses the compression of the engine to slow the vehicle without applying the brakes, prolonging brake life and helping maintain control over long, downhill grades
  • The rear backup camera helps make connecting the Silverado HD to a trailer quicker and easier

 

10 Ways to make that tank of gas last longer – from the GM Certifed Service Department

1. Go the speed limit. Use cruise control.
Speed limits are calculated for maximum safety – they’ll also reward you with maximum gas mileage. You can get up to 20 percent more mileage traveling 55 mph than 70 mph. Using cruise control provides additional gas savings.

2. Drive evenly. Avoid hard stops.
Quick starts burn gas while hard stops also cost you. Take your foot off the accelerator and coast a bit before stopping for a traffic light or a stop sign.

3. Avoid idling and rush hour traffic.
You’re burning fuel while idling – up to a gallon every hour. So, avoid rush hour traffic when possible.

4. Open windows at slow speeds. Use A/C on highways.
Around town, turn your air conditioning off and roll down the windows. On the highway, open windows create drag at speeds of 40 mph or more, so roll them up and use the air.

5. Remove junk from the trunk.
Added weight in your vehicle affects fuel economy, so take unnecessary items out of your trunk.

6. Fill up when it’s cool and before holidays.
Cooler temperatures in the early morning or late evening create less vapor. Also, getting a fill-up three days before a holiday will help you save on the per-gallon price at the pump.

7. Don’t top off gas and tighten the cap.
When buying gas, stop when the pump shuts off automatically. And remember, your tank needs both fuel and fumes, so tighten the gas cap after every fill-up.

8. Use the correct fuel grade.
Use the fuel grade recommended by your vehicle manufacturer. In addition, TOP TIER Detergent Gasoline is even better for your vehicle. It is a class of gasoline with enhanced detergency, that exceed detergent requirements imposed by the EPA. It meets voluntary deposit control standards developed by four automotive companies, including General Motors. TOP TIER gasoline retailers include:
Chevron
Conoco
Phillips
QuikTrip
76
Shell
Texaco
Chevron-Canada
Shell-Canada
Petro-Canada
Sunoco-Canada
Entec Stations
MFA Oil Company
Kwik Trip/Kwik Star
The Somerset Refinery, Inc.
Aloha Petroleum
Tri-Par Oil Company
Turkey Hill
Mileage (Severson Oil Co.)

9. Don’t accelerate up hill.
Build up speed before an incline, and then maintain it on the way up. Coast on the way down for additional fuel economy.

10. Avoid rooftop carriers.
Approximately one quarter of each gallon of gas is needed to overcome wind resistance, so avoid carrying things on your roof. If necessary, use an aerodynamic carrier to help minimize drag.

Rapid Chevrolet GM Service Department

Winter Driving Safety: Fact from Myth 7 of 7

It’s good to use your cruise control in all conditions because it keeps your speed consistent – MYTH

It is very dangerous to drive on wet roads with your cruise on. If your vehicle hits a patch of water and starts to hyroplane, your tires will accelerate to a high rate of speed causing you to lose control of the vehicle once it picks up traction again.

Winter Driving Safety: Fact from Myth 6 of 7

Keep extra weight in your vehicle during the winter months, the weight gives you more traction – MYTH

Because most cars these days are either front or rear wheel drive, this advice wont help you at all. The extra weight on the non-driving wheels could work against you because you are more inclined to lose control of the vehicle.

Winter Driving Safety: Fact from Myth 5 of 7

When your stuck in ice and snow, salt works best to get you traction – MYTH

What is recommended is an abrasive or clumping material like sand or kitty litter. It’s also good to have a small shovel with you to help dig out around the tires.

Winter Driving Safety: Fact from Myth 4 of 7

When your car brakes down during the winter, go look for help – Myth

You have a better chance of being found with your vehicle than hiking off somewhere. You also are protected from some of the elements and are easier to spot in aerial searches. If you are broken down in the middle of traffic you do want to get out of your vehicle and find a safe place to stand because chances are, someone will run into your vehicle if it is stopped in traffic.

Winter Driving Safety: Fact from Myth 3 of 7

When you are sliding, turn in the direction of the skid: Myth

This is true if you drive a rear wheel drive vehicle but the majority of the vehicles on the road are now front wheel drive. So what you want to do is turn your steering wheel in the direction that you want to go and keep your foot on the gas. Anti-lock brakes will enable your wheel to keep turning and enable you to maintain control of steering. Most skids happen when the vehicle is going around a corner too fast for conditions so keep that speed down!