Usa Roadways

Discussion in 'What's left to Talk About?' started by deeaa, Mar 25, 2020.

  1. deeaa

    deeaa Well-Known Member

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    Most of the good folk here are US residents so I thought I'd get some insight.

    I've been wondering of late on certain differences between car maintenance between Europe and the US and I wonder what is it exactly. I mean, some differences are easy to understand due to car models and being imports, such as Mercs and beemers are considered high maintenance and expensive to maintain, whereas in Europe they aren't really at all - that's understandable since in the US they are import parts and thus more expensive, and also they apparently only sell the most tricked out and special gasoline models in the US, not at all the normal trusty and cheap to maintain basic diesel models we use here (can't remember when I last saw a mercedes not running on diesel really)...and it's vice versa too. US cars can be horribly expensive to maintain here. It's no mystery

    BUT there's a couple other quite strange details when it comes to car maintenance accross the pond:

    1. It seems people in the US change their oils HUGELY more often than we do. I often change my oils like every 12,000 miles or so. Sometimes less. My current car is a mercedes with a 100K miles on it, and it's only visited service seven times during that time. making oil changes about 15K. Why would you change oils very often? The engine will run 400,000 miles even with 15K intervals without a problem anyway.

    2. Tyre rotation. What's up with that? I've NEVER rotated tyres, or heard anyone do that. But it appears to be standard practice in the US. Why? Maybe it's related to third q:

    3. Wheel alignment. Apparently that's done quite often in the US. Like even yearly(?) I have NEVER aligned any wheels in my cars, unless it's gotten new lower arms or something like that. and usually that means cars driven 200K miles already. I've had cars driven 300,000 miles and never had the wheels aligned, and no uneven wear on tyres. I'd say it's very very rare here to have wheels aligned normally. Out of hand, I can't even name a shop that could do it locally here. Perhaps the huge tyre emporium has the devices, regular service garages definitely don't. Why is it deemed necessary to do often in the US?

    Or are people I've talked with on the car forums full of it and just pulling my leg about all this?
     
  2. Poodlesrule

    Poodlesrule Well-Known Member

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    Good questions!

    Oil changes:
    - oil analysis should provide definite data.
    - oils, like tires may have improved significantly in past 20 years?
    - on my small engine Toyotas, oddly, extra noise when approaching oil change mark

    Other: Dude, you're trolling...!
     
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  3. mozz

    mozz Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    We can get a few diesel models here, not much. I used to change oil at 3000 miles, now running synthetic in our 4 cars and I've upped it to 5000 miles. It may be excessive but I don't have engine problems. I only rotate the tires front to back, sometimes never. Never get alignments either although I did buy the setup to do it yourself. Cost me a few hundred $, and the 1 car I did do the alignment myself drove the best it has driven since 12 years ago.
     

  4. golem

    golem Well-Known Member

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    We change oil frequently in the US. Usually, it's based on the manufacturer's suggestions.
    Tire rotation is done to make tires last longer.
    Alignment is checked when I get oil (at some shops not all). It's not fixed if it isn't broken.
     
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  5. Mickey

    Mickey Gandalf the Intonationer

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    On FWD cars I do not rotate tires at all thanks to research done (independently) by Michelin & GM (General Motors.)
    Their research showed that all rotation was doing was shortening the life of the rear tires on FWD vehicles.
    Also, rotating radial tires side-to-side loosens the belts in the tires shortening tire life.
    My vehicles recommend service at 5000 mile intervals. Most dealers will automatically rotate the tires when you have a vehicle serviced.
    Unless you specify otherwise.

    The last several vehicles I have bought new came with a lifetime warranty (the warranty is good until I sell/trade it)
    and the warranty requires you meet the manufacturer's service schedule else it is canceled.

    I can't even remember the last time I saw a diesel car. Probably one of the ones that got VW in trouble?
    Diesel pickups are common.

    The last vehicle I owned that needed a wheel alignment was a 1969 Triumph GT6 in 1969.
     
  6. tonray

    tonray Well-Known Member Supporting Member+

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    Oil changes: modern oils can indeed go way more than the old standard of 3000 mile changes that I grew up learning. And most new owners manuals state higher intervals. But under heavy loads, stop and go daily traffic, etc, it still might be prudent to changeva bit more frequently. One thing I've noticed is when you let it slip and smaller engines are run under stressed conditions you're more likely to have issues like leaking front engine seals.

    Tire rotation and alignment.. Tires will wear unevenly unless you are getting your wheels aligned every month. My best guess is the road conditions are somewhat better in Euro land, but in NJ where I did most of my driving, potholes and wrecked pavements were more the norm than the exception.
     
  7. toomanycats

    toomanycats Well-Known Member

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    Never saw them before. How do they compare to ALNiCo or ceramic?
     
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  8. Milkman

    Milkman Well-Known Member

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    This is similar to the best Merc I ever drove:

    upload_2020-3-25_8-41-23.jpeg
     
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  9. deeaa

    deeaa Well-Known Member

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    Niiiice!

    Although, honestly, regardless of cool and pretty they look, old cars really were quite terrible in reality in most imaginable ways. Horrible rides except for cruising, required constant maintenance and adjustments, and guzzled gas like nothing. Fun, though.
     
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  10. andrewsrea

    andrewsrea Well-Known Member

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    @deeaa you hit the nail on the head. Having driven a diesel for a while and having my best friend own a big truck business, himself being an expert mechanic, it is gas vs. diesel. Piston rings still let a minute amount of unspent fuel and exhaust into the motor oil. Gasoline breaks down oil faster than diesel. Also, the carbon released from diesel is a lubricant and that from gasoline is not. So the carbon blow-by also helps extend the life of motor oil in diesel engines.
     
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  11. thepezident

    thepezident Well-Known Member

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    Winner of the thread (y)(y)
     
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  12. Flatline

    Flatline Well-Known Member

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    The owner's manual to my wife's Kia Sorento says 7500mi for standard driving and 3000mi under extreme conditions. The dealership tries to get us to come in for maintenance (we're still under warranty and have a service plan) every 3000mi but I set the reminder thing to 4800 and/or 6 months whichever comes first. My F150 I just change the oil and balance the tires every 6 months. It usually only gets about 2,000mi on it in that time. I don't drive it much except to work which is less than 2 mi from my house.
     
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  13. AnotherJim

    AnotherJim Well-Known Member

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    Interesting. I used to live near a Texaco Reseacrh Center and had a buddy that worked in the shop in the back running motors on a dynamometer (I think that is the right term) They tested various oils. This is 30 years ago. He told me they ran an engine on Mobil 1 100000 miles, took it apart and the engine was in perfect condition. I realize the oils do break down and I can usually smell it if you wait too long but I found this interesting. I had also heard from a buddy of mine who was involved with guys that race cars that they put Mobil 1 in race cars because if something blows and the engine loses the oil that the engine might survive the loss. I am not a car guy, so take what I said other than about my buddy at Texaco with a grain of salt.
     
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  14. honyock

    honyock Well-Known Member

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    1. It depends a lot on the vehicle. A carburetor equipped engine needs to change oil more regularly because it is putting more fuel into the intake generally than is required. The older the engine the more blow by you get, the more quickly your oil gets contaminated. No amount of PCV will fix that
    2. Tires need to be rotated from drive wheels to non drive wheels, a v8 powered vehicle will eat rear tires if you drive aggressively at all. Even 4wd cars like my E500 will eat tires more in the rear than the front, especially with the camber Mercedes put in the rear of the W211/S211 chassis. FWD cars eat front tires because they do all 3 tasks, steering stopping, acceleratin (but I am hard on tires, and have not had a FWD car outside of my VW Golf TDi since my 1st car, so take that with a grain of salt)
    3. Most new cars are actually toe only alignment, but it still should be checked regularly to ensure ball joints, bushings, etc. have not worn out putting your caster/camber/toe out of manufacturer design.

    Bad roads in US exacerbate issues 2 and 3.
     
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  15. Mr. Leyvatone

    Mr. Leyvatone Well-Known Member

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    I don’t think oils have evolved as much as marketing would suggest.

    Engines have gotten cleaner. Oil will maintain many of its lubricating properties after its detergent effect has been exhausted.

    Oil gets changed when it gets dirty and modern engine emissions standards mean that should happen well past 5,000 miles.
     
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  16. Mikesr1963

    Mikesr1963 Well-Known Member

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    1. It seems people in the US change their oils HUGELY more often than we do. I often change my oils like every 12,000 miles or so. Sometimes less. My current car is a mercedes with a 100K miles on it, and it's only visited service seven times during that time. making oil changes about 15K. Why would you change oils very often? The engine will run 400,000 miles even with 15K intervals without a problem anyway.

    A. Every 5000 miles in my wife's car. Once a year in my van due to low amount of miles I drive it.

    2. Tyre rotation. What's up with that? I've NEVER rotated tyres, or heard anyone do that. But it appears to be standard practice in the US. Why? Maybe it's related to third q:

    A. When I lived in Wyoming and South Dakota never rotated my tires because the road are so flat. The tread never wore funny. Here on the East Coast, every oil change. The roads are rounds off on the ditch side more than in other places, especially where I live out in the country. You can really see how rounded the roads are and that will cause the tires to wear uneven. Here, if I get 36,000 to 40,000 out of a set of tires I'm very lucky. In Wyoming and South Dakota twice I had sets of tires make it to 80,000 mile. They still had plenty of tread on them but they started to get noisy going down the road, making a rap, rap, rap sound.

    3. Wheel alignment. Apparently that's done quite often in the US. Like even yearly(?) I have NEVER aligned any wheels in my cars, unless it's gotten new lower arms or something like that. and usually that means cars driven 200K miles already. I've had cars driven 300,000 miles and never had the wheels aligned, and no uneven wear on tyres. I'd say it's very very rare here to have wheels aligned normally. Out of hand, I can't even name a shop that could do it locally here. Perhaps the huge tyre emporium has the devices, regular service garages definitely don't. Why is it deemed necessary to do often in the US?
    A: Unless you hit a bump in the road or something like that the vehicle is not likely to need to be aligned. However, if you're driving down an empty flat highway and you briefly release your hands from the wheel and your starts to pull to either side your car is out of alignment. This in turn will drastically cause your tire wear to increase.
     
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  17. Poodlesrule

    Poodlesrule Well-Known Member

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    I forgot to add that my Tacoma has the "classic" 2.7L engine (older Camrys), runs on synthetic at 5000 interval.
    I would extend that to 8000, problem is I do not drive that much - self-isolation before it was fashionable!

    Edit: need to check levels... we had a thread about it few months ago, as i was asking if there was a way for an accurate remote reading!
     
  18. mozz

    mozz Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    I was under the impression your car should slightly pull to the right, so you don't drift into the lane of oncoming traffic. Synthetic is a marketing term, your oil may not contain any. Mobil 1 used to be real synthetic many years ago, now only Euro branded is true.
     
  19. deeaa

    deeaa Well-Known Member

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    Cars pull to the right slightly because the roads are curved, not flat. If there isn't any radius to it water would not flow off it so easily. Well made roads also tilt towards the inner curve quite a bit which makes them enjoyable to drive in the right car...the car will pretty much follow the curves by itself thanks to the tilt and curve of the surface. Best car I ever had in that respect was a Peugeot 405. No power steering, absolutely gorgeous to drive on winding roads. 406 was crap in comparison as it had power steering. These days it's hard to find cars that aren't completely ruined with excessive power steering - electric in worst cases - and automatic shitboxes for transmission.

    Funny as it is my old Renault that has a manual and no power steering is a Lot more enjoyable than most modern cars ever will be. I mean, the Mercedes E is nice on flat highways and comfy but it's nothing like the Renault in fun factor. Still better than the Subaru Outback I had that was pretty lifeless in steering, but thankfully at least a manual.

    Sent from my ASUS_X00TD using Tapatalk
     
  20. Rollin Hand

    Rollin Hand Well-Known Member

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    That was back when Mobil1 wasusing true synthetic (Group IV) base stocks. Ever since the court ruling allowing other companies to call Group III based oils to be sold as synthetic, Mobil has done the same (to be fair, these days there is next to difference).

    The extended mileage oils that advertise as being able to go 15K miles are (to muly knowledge) Group IV oils.

    I follow the manufacturer intervals in general. My BMW was supposed to go past 15K on oil changes, but I did it every 12K kms. Synthetic all the way.

    I worry about alignment a lot less than I used to. And I sort of half-assed rotate the tires when I swap over summers to wonters and vice versa.
     

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