Q: I can’t seem to travel more than 10 miles without a collection of bugs on my car. Car washes, including yours, help a little, but how can I get them completely off?
– Bugged, Kalamazoo, MI
Motor Maven (MM): Bugged, I too am just as bugged. Springtime is such a promising, refreshing time of year with warmer weather creeping in, but it also brings with it bugs, which you have already had the privilege, like many Michigan travelers, to have experienced. Luckily, there is a remedy for your malaise. Unfortunately, it’ll take a little extra work than just running it through the car wash, but I promise, not much more.
GM used to produce a very recommended bug and tar remover, that was great at removing unwanted sticky everythings from your exterior. Note the “used to,” and my colleagues here at the dealership are just as perplexed as to why they discontinued it.
So, I asked our shop’s detailers what they use. In-house we use a product called Bug-A-Boo, supplied by Great Lakes Chemical off Michigan Ave., with a damp yellow bug-and-tar brush (which is a sponge covered in a plastic netting) used just to wipe the surface should be more than sufficient to remove your unwanted layer of bugs.
They also recommended for those in a pinch, Goof Off, which would suffice if you couldn’t find a professional (read: potentially expensive) detailing product.
Luckily today, you can find bug and tar remover at your local auto part store or grocery chains that sell automotive supplies.
The trick here is most of these products will ask you to apply the product and let it sit for a few minutes to penetrate the goo/guts before wiping it off. Then you are free to wash your car, bug-free.
So, again, it is a tiny bit extra work, but the bug-less, tar-less spring/summer exterior is well worth that extra step.
Q: My new Chevrolet is equipped with an oil life monitor which tells me when I should change my oil. My local quick oil change company tells me I should change my oil every 3000 miles which seems much more frequent than my oil life monitor. Which one should I believe?
– “Termoil,” Brighton, MI
MM: Termoil–wow. Every 3000 miles is a little excessive and will most certainly be more frequent than your oil life monitor. However, waiting for your oil life monitor to tell you it is time for an oil change is also a little too close for comfort.
So, first things first, your oil is designed not only to keep the engine lubricated so things can keep moving to keep your vehicle in motion, it also collects particulates that may have passed through the engine, which can be anything from metal flecks and carbon to potential spots of fuel. Each mile that is run through your engine, you lose more of the purity of the oil, which also left too long can lead to quite the inefficient (or eventually seized) engine. Now, seized is in the condition that you keep driving it and don’t change the oil from the day you get your brand new car. That oil becomes sludge and you now have a brick for a mode of transportation. But we’re aiming to avoid that situation, so instead, there have been guidelines and recommendations set to ensure you never reach or experience well, that.
Your best guide to start off with is your owner’s manual, which you can find in your glove box of your new Chevrolet (or other make–it’s pretty universal). Typically, it will direct you to getting an oil change every 7,500 miles, or potentially once a year, which might be stretching it a little past its prime and longevity. On the other hand, every 3000 miles is not necessary for today’s engines driving typical daily routes. Today’s synthetic oils have been engineered to keep engines well lubricated and cleaner longer. Perhaps the 3000 mile rule might be more true for older engines, but since you have a new car, no longer do you have to hold to that rule.
Our benchmark here is an oil change every 5000 miles or 6 months. There are multiple varying factors to take into consideration that would affect your oil life, such as engine usage, frequency, and how you drive (for instance your trucks that tow or performance cars you lay into frequently will likely need oil changes sooner than a car you drive 10 miles to work daily because of different stresses put on the engine).
Another benchmark we utilize is the oil life monitor, which we inform customers to schedule their next oil change when they reach about 30% oil life. (Heads up to the 5%’ers–you’re cutting it too close…).
There is much, much more we can go into about this, but this is a good basic start. Keep an eye on future posts as we will delve deeper into this.
Q: My service advisor has mentioned to me a couple of times that I should get some service with the fuel injector? What does that do and is it really needed?
– Fueled Up, Kalamazoo, MI
MM: Fueled Up, I believe you are referring to the fuel injector and throttle body service. What we do is insert an approved cleaning solvent (specially formulated for this service) into the gas tank and your fuel intake line, which helps to clean the fuel system as well as the throttle body. The throttle body is important because it is moves to control the amount of air coming into the fuel system through the air intake, which is imperative for performance. And your fuel system well, it’s practically the blood of our veins that keeps things working, just for your car instead.
But you’re thinking, “It’s fuel. Shouldn’t it be clean?” And you’re not wrong. However, sometimes things like moisture get into the system, or a little bit of carbon deposits, gums, exhaust emissions, varnish and/or fuel contaminates. Some of these are just things that occur in operating a vehicle and some are caused by what you are putting into your car. The “top tier vs. other fuels” is a controversial topic for some, but there is some truth to it, and some of the fuels out there can contain contaminates or cause residue in your engine, while others add agents to their fuel mixture to help clean your fuel system.
Just like the oil mentioned earlier, a clean system free of gunk or buildup will deliver fuel more efficiently to your engine, creating a more efficiently performing engine. We recommend the service every 30,000 miles, but you can ask your Certified Service Technician or Service Advisor when it might be time to do it as well.
This too will be a topic we’ll explore more in depth in another week of “For the Miles Ahead.”
You too can have your service maintenance and/or car-related trouble questions answered. Write to Motor Maven at MotorMaven@DeNooyer.com, and they could be included in the next installment of “Ask Motor Maven,” published every-other Wednesday here on the DeNooyer Chevrolet blog.