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Extended Oil is Good for Low Mileage Vehicles

By Junior Damato, December 2nd, 2017

strong>Dear Doctor: I have a 2016 Chevrolet Equinox V-6 AWD with only 9,000 miles. I have always used Mobil 1. Would it be worth my while to switch to Mobil 1 Extended? I usually change the oil every 4,000 miles. Bob

Manufacturer photo: 2016 Chevrolet Equinox
Manufacturer photo: 2016 Chevrolet Equinox

strong>Dear Bob: The use of the extended oil will not do any harm, in fact, with the low mileage you drive extended oil is a good option. You should make a point to drive the car weekly for at least 20 minutes on the highway to get the engine up to temperature, as well as dry out the exhaust system. There are many brands of synthetic oil; just make sure the brand you use meets the General Motors specifications.

strong>Dear Doctor: I've owned many Subaru vehicles over the past 19 years. I just purchased the 2018 Crosstrek. My one critique: the radio comes on each time I turn the ignition on, regardless of whether the radio was on or off earlier. There is also a "secret handshake" of sorts to shut off the radio. The volume button must be pressed and held for a few seconds, and sometimes this must be done twice if you have not timed it just right during the touchscreen start-up cycle. I contacted Subaru about this flaw and they replied: "This normal operating characteristic can't be modified or changed at this time. We have received feedback regarding this design characteristic, and are working to address it with a future software update." What are your thoughts on this? Rosanna

strong>Dear Rosanna: Most vehicles have a lot of electronics and multiple computers. Some systems are a work in progress and it can take multiple computer updates to get what the manufacture wanted the system to do or make changes. I did not notice this condition when I spent a week test-driving the new Crosstrek because I never turn the radio off. If the radio bothers you so much, turn the volume down until the software update is available. The 2018 Crosstrek has multiple improvements over the 2017 model, all for the better. Don't let the radio operation get you down; as soon as the upgrade is available you will be notified.

strong>Dear Doctor: I own 2003 Chevrolet Express conversion van (5.3L V-8) with 140,000 miles. It was bought new and has been very reliable until recently when I started experiencing an intermittent starting issue. The issue happens when the "security" dashboard indicator light comes on. The ignition will turn over but it appears that the fuel pump does not engage so the engine stalls immediately. My mechanic says there are no OBDI faults. He also said he has had the same issue with a 2003 Escalade with the same engine and has replaced multiple parts with no luck. Have you come across this issue with similar GM vehicles? Pete

strong>Dear Pete: If the security light is flashing, the engine will start and stall. The system first needs to be checked for any fault codes. Sometimes turning the key to the on position for 10 minutes or longer will reprogram the key to the body control module. A computer chip key can sometimes also cause the security light to illuminate. The GM system is simple and easy to troubleshoot as long as the technician has the correct scan tool and understands the system.

strong>Dear Doctor: I have a 2016 Ford Fusion with nearly 78,000 miles and there are times it won't start and I don't always have someone here to jump-start it. The dealership put in a new battery but in the early mornings it's either hard to get started or it doesn't start at all. I try not to run the battery completely down. The battery light on the dash does not go out; it's on all the time. Can you help me get this problem fixed? Constance

strong>Dear Constance: My first suggestion is to leave the car for a day or more at the shop where you get diagnostics and repairs done. This will allow the technicians to have testing equipment connected so when the engine does not start, they can monitor the scan to look at all the sensor values. As for a jump-start solution, there are many new small jump boxes that will fit in the glovebox and are good solutions for getting the job done.

strong>Dear Doctor: We own a 2004 Hyundai Sonata and are able to open all doors remotely, however we cannot lock one door (the right rear passenger door). What do you suggest? Jack

strong>Dear Jack: The first step is to get all the electric door locks to operate. All the electric door lock actuators must be operating. The door latches also must be in operating condition. Once all the door actuators operate from the button in the car, the remote system can be checked by following the troubleshooting assistance found on both Alldata and Identifix.

Big Drop in Fuel Mileage: Get Engine Test


Big Drop in Fuel Mileage: Get Engine Test

strong>Dear Doctor: I have a 2014 Ford F-150 with the EcoBoost engine. The dealership cannot tell me why my gas mileage is at 9 mpg. It was 24 mpg when I purchased it. Can you help me out? Gerald

Gas Mileage Misread: Fuel System Needs Attention


Gas Mileage Misread: Fuel System Needs Attention

strong>Dear Doctor: I own a 2006 Ram 2500. The mileage calculator says I'm getting 30 miles per gallon in fuel economy, but I'm actually getting about 20 mpg. What should I do? Mark

Car Shakes at Idle: Check for Multiple Fault Codes


Car Shakes at Idle: Check for Multiple Fault Codes

strong>Dear Doctor: My 2009 Toyota Camry with 199,600 miles has a check engine light showing the codes P0101 and P0170. I have already replaced the MAF sensor, PCV valve, throttle body, the car's computer, O2 sensors, cam sensor, crank sensor, fuel pump, injectors, and fuel pressure regulator. I also checked for multiple vacuum or air leaks, and the cabin air filter, spark plugs, alternator, and battery have all been checked over the course of a year. Now the car has both codes showing consistently and it shakes at idle. What should we do? Cheyenne

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