All you need to know : Engine Oil

IS ENGINE OIL IMPORTANT?

Have you ever wondered sometime when you browse through mudah.my or used car website you saw several new cars having a very cheap price tag on them. Further along your reading you found out the car has been severely damaged in terms of the engine and transmission. Why is that happen? It’s a new car isn’t it? It should have at least 3 year of heavy usage without problem. And sometimes you see an ancient Perodua Kancil still running swiftly on the Plus Highway. Simply it doesn’t make sense. This is most likely because of the maintenance. Like everything else in this world, car need care and attention from time to time.

When you purchased a new car, you best need a specific way to drive the car. This is because the car is brand new and it needed a proper engine braking. You can learn more about how to drive new car on Youtube (Conquer Driving). After your car hits 1000 Miles, you best need to do a few things such as engine oil change, oil filter and many more. This is important as after hitting 1000 miles, your car produced a lot of carbon and what we call as metal flake in the cylinder. It also cools down an internal combustion engine, which creates a lot of heat. And it cleans engine parts, which can get dirty. Engine oil turns dark mean they are doing their job perfectly of capturing dust and many more nasty thing.

If you ask your mechanic, they say you should change your oil every 3,000 miles or less, but today technology in lubricant advancement, I think you can get away with changing it every 5,000 miles. Engine oil is very important as it is the main lubricant that keep every single part in your mechanical engine oiled and reduce the friction significantly. Without a proper care of the EO, your car will have the common problem such as burnt gasket, burst valve and many more expensive fixes which can even lead to overhauling your engine. This could easily cost you thousand when you can actually save that by changing your EO on time. Change the EO when it hit the recommended miles or when the duration of the services is overdue. Whichever comes first. How to read the number on the label? You often see number like SW 40 and more. The number represent the viscosity of the oil. Take a look at this chart,

img_techinfo03

Basically, choose the number according to your environment and the style of driving. About the brands? It’s a never-ending fight of words, curse and tears. Choose what you think best. Everyone has their own favorite brand. For me, I choose the Castrol EDGE 5W-40. This is because every time I change the oil, the oil is still in a good condition and you can feel the performance of the oil.

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Also you need to choose between mineral, semi synthetic and fully synthetic. The best is fully synthetic but it is a bit pricey. But hey, its your car so why not spent a few more dough for your baby.

Type-of-engine-oil

How to change your EO?

Well if you do not want the hassle of having oil all over your body, getting down on the dirty floor, the fear of being below your car and many more  fear, just send it to your nearest workshop and watch your car being service while you can sip the free mineral water in the waiting bay. But, if you are the type of person who likes to get dirty and really want to know your car better, you can change it yourself. In this way you get to know your car better and improve your relationship. But beware as this need a few crucial steps to complete. Without it you may damage your car.

  1. Before you get under the vehicle, the best activity is warm it up temporarily by having a brisk drive around or leave it sitting idle for around five minutes. This can help to make the oil less thick and easier to drain.
  2. You’ll have to jack up your car, so make sure you’re qualified to handle the jack and please make sure you find the right spot to jack up your car. THIS IS IMPORTANT as it can damaged the body frame and damage your body panel or even can slip over when you are doing the services.
  1. Find your car drain plug and unscrew the drain plug and drain all of the old oil into your oil pan. Be sure to use the correct tool and make sure you have a place to hold the oil when you open the plug. The oil will come right away
  2. Once all of the oil is drained, Clean the drain plug and install the drain plug back securely.
  3. Go back to your engine and remove the old oil filter with your oil filter wrench. Use the right tool and note that they will be a little oil inside the filter itself. Keep a rag cloth near you.
  4. Lubricate the oil filter rubber gasket with some new motor oil. This help to make the gasket more durable
  5. Screw in the new oil filter. Do not over tight the filter as it could loosen by time.
  6. Fill in the oil using the correct funnel. Check the oil level after you have fill in the oil. Be sure not to over fill it. Use the recommended oil level depending on your car.
  7. With a dipstick, double check your oil level to be sure you’ve added enough.
  8. Start your car and check for any leakage and then check the oil level again.

You are good to go now. And that is all you need to know about the engine oil of your car. Have fun driving around and be sure to check other posts from us.

What To Do When You Lose Your Car Keys

Losing things is normal, you may have lost your stationary or your favourite piece of clothing, unless you managed to find them, losing your things isn’t fun, your anger just keeps increasing each time a person asks you “well, where did you last put it?” or telling you, you should have done something in the first place to not lose it. Losing your car keys is a little bit more scarier, like misplacing your mobile phone, it gives you that mini heart attack. What if you somehow lost your car keys, and you can never find it? now there are various ways your keys can go missing, here are some quick tips on what to do, and what to expect.

  • Before you move on to replacing your car keys, check and re-check again where you last put them.
  • Once you’re sure its gone, do not panic, there is no need to go to the police station to make a report.
  • You only need to go to the station IF your keys were forced from you (being robbed).
  • If your car is new and under warranty, its best to head to the dealer to have it replace and reprogrammed.
  • Locksmiths can also duplicate, replace and reprogram car keys, depending on locksmith.
  • Prices vary hugely, be ready to pay a little or a lot, especially for more premium, key-less entry type keys or newer cars with modern key heads.
  • Make sure the dealer/locksmith reprograms your car’s system.
  • Reprogramming would stop the original missing key from being used (important if someone, somehow took your key and never gave it back).

Just this week, my father accidentally placed his car key on a table at a local shop, and forgot to take it. Upon exiting the store, he realised the key was not there anymore, completely vanished. After asking the police officer, who said that a report wasn’t necessary due to him not being a victim of a crime involving key theft, we wen’t to our local locksmith who had the expertise on duplicating car keys (most locksmiths can, look for ones which have car keys on display at their shop), and the ability to reprogram the car’s locking code. the total of that? RM 850, why? because its a Mercedes? I’m not sure, but the key of our Mercedes C180 isn’t a normal teeth type key (see image below), its this weirdly shaped knob, which would justify the high price, as I’ve said before, some keys, or key fobs (key-less entry cars) will cost higher because it needs to be programmed, Even normal cars with teeth type keys will cost you quite a bit of money, unless you drive an older car with a key that looks like its for a house door.

Mercedes car key
Source: MBworld

It really is best not to lose your key, because the time it takes to have it done, duplicated and programmed is not quick. According to Master Locksmith Association, the fastest way to get your keys done is to go to a locksmith who specialises in car keys, while car dealerships could take some time. Master Lock Association also mentioned insurance cover for lost car keys, which doesn’t seem to be a thing here in Malaysia based on my research. Regardless, if you do lose your car keys, whether by accident or by force, that’s very unfortunate for you, just stay calm and prepare to pay the amount you have to, to get two keys again, because if you just kept one key and lost that one too, you’re going to be keyless.

What To Expect When Buying A Second Hand Car/ Hand Me Down Car

Being given a car is probably one of the best things that could ever happen when you turn 17, though not everyone is lucky enough to get a brand new car from their parents. Sometimes it’s not a matter of financial status, like me, my parents insisted to get me a second hand car, because it teachers you to be grateful of even having the privilege to own a set of wheels. I wasn’t to picky myself, like I said, having my own car was already a huge thing for me. Now usually, your parents would either get you a car from your local used car shop, or simply give you one of their cars, I’ve had both experience, currently I drive my mum’s old Kia, and previously owned a true, second hand car, a 2003 Hyundai Getz which I had to sell, it was an emotional moment, you can read the story here. 

Second hand cars come in many shapes, sizes and condition, its up to you or your parents to choose a reliable car for you to drive around. the safest way is to always choose something cheap to maintain, a Perodua for example, parts are easy to get, and if you want to personalise it, the aftermarket support is huge with those cars, Proton cars are generally cheap, they’re cheap to buy because of their terrible resale value, but some models are expensive to maintain, the Proton Waja is known to be quite pricey. Needless to say, not all car brands have a fix maintenance cost, each model may have its own unique part that is expensive to replace, and some parts of a car are just very expensive when they break. Both of my cars were rather expensive to fix because they’re Korean (parts are very expensive), and they’re pretty old, such as my Getz, which is 17 years old now, its old enough to get its own driving license! 
So what do you have to expect when getting a second hand car? or even a hand me down, while you might be at ease because your parents are taking care of the expenses, its still good to know what to do when things go wrong, and generally prepare a life of owning a second hand/hand me down car. Here are some tips. 

  • Be grateful.
  • When searching for a second hand car, find ones with decent mileage on the odometer.
  • Cars with higher mileage tend to be worn out and have much more problems especially if not taken care of by the previous owner.
  • Always check the vehicle, get a “feel” of it.
    • Look around for obvious dings or dents. 
    • Check for any touched up or different patches of paint, this might hint that it has been in an accident before
    • Go through the engine bay and look around for any leaks or broken wiring/hoses
    • Start the car up and feel the vibration, if it is vibrating too much at idle, the mounts have worn out.
    • Try to hear any irregular noises when starting it up, such as creaks, screeches or things that a car shouldn’t be making. 
    • Check the inside of the car for any missing interior buttons, make sure all the instruments work (dials, needles, digital displays), window switches, mirror switches, sensors etc.
    • Test drive the car to see how it feels on the road (wobbly handling, road noises etc).
  • If you/your parents feel its a good deal and have purchased it,take it to your local mechanic and have it all checked again. Mechanics can inspect fluid levels and other things such as worn our components (absorbers, belts and seals). 
  • Don’t expect your car to drive perfectly without any cabin vibration, it’s a second hand car, live with it.
  • Older cars are almost always expected to need replacement parts, either from unreliability or simply from high mileage and age.
  • You need to be ready to replace parts when your car has high mileage or is getting up there with your driving.
  • Shock absorbers and brake pads are examples of rather common parts to wear out due to daily use. Seals, engine belts and mounts will start to wear out later and will cost a considerable amount because of labour cost.
  • Normal maintenance is absolutely necessary to keep your car running, keep up with oil changes and monitor your car’s performance such as engine temperature.
  • Overheating is also a common issue with older cars. It can be rectified by cleaning and flushing out your radiator.
  • In more serious cases, an overhaul is needed and will cost a lot of money. (my Getz had this issue).
  • Personalising your car visually should cause no issues.
  • Personalising it electronically or mechanically would need consultation from your mechanic, and make sure to use safe aftermarket parts.
  • Join groups or forums about the car you bought to learn more things about it such as issues, how to get parts and things to expect along its age.
  • Some car forums may have people selling specific or rare parts for your car at a cheaper price.
  • Hand me down cars given by your parents should also have no issues as long as you keep it maintained and serviced accordingly. 
  • Do not panic if your car suddenly breaks down on  the road, call your parents, friends or your insurance towing services. Highway services may also help (official ones).

My mechanic always says that it’s normal to have wear and tear from driving, you don’t need to change the parts immediately unless it is absolutely causing you problems when driving. My Kia is currently at 140,000 kilometres and the engine mounts have started to show its wear, but again, this is a normal thing, I plan to wait until it get’s bad, then only change it. It may be costly, but as a hand me down car, it is still a new-ish and a great car, the cost is worth it if you’re going to keep the car for quite some time. While it might be scary and sometimes annoying if you have a second hand car that keeps breaking, but I see it as a story to be cherished, keep a positive mind and think of those unsuspected break downs on the side of the highway as memories. There’s a magical bond between your first car and you, you will always remember what your first car is, especially if its a crappy one. Treat your old car as a friend and not just a simple machine, because one day, you’ll be thinking of it.