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Today I will be taking your automotive questions. If you have a question about a car, car repair, DIYs on your car, Volkswagen, mechanic’s tools, or anything car related, ask it up. If you have a car question for a show like this, email me Charles(at)Humblemechanic(DOT)com.  Be sure to put the phrase “Question for Charles” in the subject. That is the best way to avoid the spam monster. If you don’t get your question on this show, email it again just to be sure.

Sponsor of the Day

CRP AUTOCRP deals in a ton of OE automotive parts. They also make the factory DSG fluid for VW. Having them as a sponsor will give us access to more information about fluids than I would ever get from VW. I am really excited to have them as a resource of information. To learn more about the great products they have, check out CRPAutomotive.com

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Join me today as we discuss:


Trouble viewing? Watch “Viewer Automotive Questions ~ Podcast Episode 148” on YouTube.

As always I love to hear your thoughts. Please post them in the comments section below. Again, if you have a question for a show like this, email me Charles(at)humblemechanic(dot)com with Question for Charles in the subject. Also if you have an idea for a show you can email me, or use the contact me form!

Don’t forget to follow me at:

#DIYOilChange

DIYOilChangeIt may shock some folks, but I too must change the oil in my car. Yes even auto mechanics have to maintain their car. So today I will be giving you some awesome and very important tips on changing the oil in your car. We will be using my 2005 Volkswagen Passat 1.8t to learn the right way to change oil. I also need to thank Apex Tuning  for letting me use their shop to do this video for you. This video has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #DIYOilChange

 

 

Remember any time you are working on your car, safety is priority number one. Please make sure you are working in a safe manor.

Join me for an oil change DIY:

  • Oil filter I use on my VW
  • Engine oil I use on my car Pennzoil Platinum engine oil
  • What to do with used engine oil
  • Working safe
  • Cleaning up after an oil change
  • Removing the oil filter
  • What is double gasket
  • Under car inspecsions
  • Drain plug
  • Tips for filling engine oil
  • and more

Trouble viewing? Watch “How To Change Your Car’s Engine Oil” on YouTube.

As always I love to hear your thoughts. Please post them in the comments section below. If you have an idea for a show you can email me, or use the contact me form! Don’t forget to follow me at:

Passat TDI Oil Change
Plastic oil pan MK7 GTI

Plastic Oil Pan?

A few weeks ago I posted a picture of the oil extractor that I bought. I mainly bought it because someone at Volkswagen thought it would be a good idea to use a PLASTIC oil pan on the new MK7 GTI. It’s too early to know if a plastic oil pan is a good idea or not, but let’s shelf that for now.

When I posted the picture, it brought up a good point. Is extracting oil better, worse, or the same as draining it from the drain plug.

Before we talk about the Pros and Cons of these methods. Let’s be sure to define each.

  • Draining Engine Oil
    This is the process where a plug is removed that the oil drains out the bottom.
  • Extracting Engine Oil
    This is where a device is used to suck the oil out. For this discussion, let’s assume we are pulling oil out through the dip stick funnel.

When most folks think of an oil change, they think of draining the oil. Up until a few months ago, that is how I did every service. Let’s talk about the pros and cons of DRAINING oil first

Pros

  • It is fast.
    We are letting gravity do the work for us. On a hot engine you will get most of the engine oil out in about 5 minutes.
  • You MAY get more oil out.
    I say you MAY because that is not a guarantee you will get more oil out
  • You can do other things while the oil drains.
    I usually pull wheel caps off while I drain the engine oil
  • It is a more traditional way to change oil

Cons

  • It can be messy
    You basically need to be sure you hit the target of the drain pan
  • You have to raise the car up.
    You need to have the car high enough to access the drain plug
  • Risk oil pan damage
    May oil pans are made of soft metal, or plastic, each time a drain plug is removed, the potential for damage is there.

    Passat TDI Oil Change

    Extracting engine oil

Let’s look a little deeper into the Pros and Cons of extracting engine oil

Pros

  • Clean
    All of the oil is pulled in to a container. Mine has a spout to make pouring easier
  • No need to raise the car
    This is great when putting the car in the air is not easy.
  • No worry about drain plug damage
    A you can see I am concerned about the long term on these plastic pans.

Cons

  • Noisy
    Mine is fairly loud
  • Need air supply
    With most of these extractors, you need a good supply of compressed air, or you have to manually pump the oil
  • You may not get all the oil out
    I have found that mine does not get all the oil out of some engines.
  • It may take more time
    On a cold engine, my extractor takes forever to pull oil  out.

There are a few other points that I want to bring up about using an extractor. They may or may not be cons. It is more like just thoughts. Just because you don’t need to put the car in the air to drain the oil, doesn’t mean you don’t put the car in the air. You may still need to access the filter from the bottom. It is also important to put the car up in the air to do an inspection.

There is also the idea that debris in the engine oil will settle to the bottom. When a drain plug is removed, that will be the first to come out. This sounds like a good theory. But the oil filter will hold most of the debris. The oil is changed HOT. This means the debris doesn’t really have time to settle. Plus no matter what you do , there is still oil left in the engine. Heck there is still oil left in the pan.

Mityvac 7300

This is the extractor that I use

Conclusion, which is better?
Well, like most good questions, the answer is “it depends”. For me, extracting the oil on a TDI that comes in to wait is perfect. The filter is on the top, the extractor gets all the way down to the bottom, and the oil is hot.

I can tell you that on a 2.0 FSI, there is is no point to use an extractor. I still have to put the car in the air to access the oil filter. It would be a waste of time to extract the oil, then lift the car to replace the filter.

Your thoughts
What do you think? Is draining better? Do you get more oil out? Does a 1/2 of a cup left in the engine really matter? Post your thoughts in the comments below.

Purolator Oil Filter ReviewHey everyone. A few weeks ago I did a video about changing your own oil. The response has been huge. Because of the response, I thought I would follow up that video and write a little more information about changing your own oil.

Changing your cars oil is one of the easiest things to do yourself. That being said, a mistake here can be very costly. An oil change is one of the most important things you can do to keep your car’s engine happy. Be sure to follow the manufacturers recommended service interval. So before you dive into changing your own oil, let’s talk about some do’s and don’ts.

DO’s

  • Have a basic understanding of your car
  • Proper hand tools for your car
  • Have all the parts you need for the service. We will talk more about this later
  • Have a proper container to catch the oil
  • Be sure to have something to store the old oil.
  • Properly dispose of the oil, oil and filter.
  • Keep a record of the service

Don’ts

  • Be in a hurry
  • Cheap out of your parts
  • Forget to work safe
  • Put engine oil in the trash.

As you can see, there are plenty of things to keep in mind when doing your own oil change. Before we get into the steps to change your oil, let’s make sure we have all the right stuff.

Parts
It should come as no surprise, having the right oil, filter and washer is VITAL! You do not want to be the person that has to duct tape their oil filter back on. Yes, I have seen that happen. I talked a little about the differences in oil filters in the Purolator Review Post. Check that out for some filter features to consider. When it comes to oil, follow the manufacturer spec to the letter.  If you are not 100% sure about the oil you need, call your dealership’s parts department. They can tell you exactly what you need, and how much oil your car requires.

Tools
This will be highly vehicle specific. While I can’t list every tool to change oil, here are the parts you will need tools for:

  • Engine oil filter
  • Drain plug
  • Check your car for any cover that need to be removed. This may require more tools
  • Tools to remove the washer on the drain plug.
  • A funnel to add oil
  • Rags or towels for clean up
  • Drain bucket to collect oil
  • Your application may require some other special tools, especially if you drive a German car 😉

The Process
When I change oil, I have a very strict process I follow. It really is borderline OCD. You do not need to have such a strict process, but having a game plan is really important. Doing an oil change is also an opportunity to check the overall heath of your car. Here is my process for changing oil:

Damaged oil drain plug

Bad practices lead to destroyed oil pans

  1. Be sure you have ALL the parts to do the service. We don’t want to have to run out to the store during the service.
  2. Check the engine oil on level ground before you start.
  3. Raise the front of the car up. If you are using a floor jack, be sure to safely secure the car with jack stands. At home, I prefer the drive-on style ramps.
  4. Place the drain pan under the engine. Depending on how hot the engine is, the oil may “shoot out”. Be sure to place the pan accordingly. Also have your towels ready for any oil spills
  5. Allow the engine oil to drain for about 10 minutes. This will get most of the engine oil out. Remember, we are not in a hurry.
  6. Replace the washer on the drain plug, and properly tighten the drain plug.
  7. Remove the engine oil filter. Allow the oil to drain out of the filter.
  8. Before replacing the filter, put a thin film of oil on the filter.
  9. Properly tighten the filter.
  10. Replace any cover that you may had to remove.
  11. Lower your car on to level ground.
  12. Fill the engine with the recommended amount of engine oil.
  13. Double check the engine oil on the dipstick.
  14. Triple check the engine oil on the dipstick
  15. Start your car and let it run for about a minute.
  16. Shut the car off, and let it rest for 2-3 minutes.
  17. Recheck the engine oil level, and adjust as needed.
  18. Check and top off the coolant, power steering fluid, washer fluid, and transmission fluid(if applicable)
  19. Double check your work. Make sure there are no oil leaks!
  20. Record the service
  21. Be sure to properly dispose of the engine oil.

Well, congratulations, you have just crushed your own oil change. You might be thinking that 21 steps is a lot of work. But with the right tools, the right parts, and a little know how, you can to it. I really do want to stress buying top quality parts.

If you have any question about changing your oil, please post it up in the comments. You can also learn more about the history of the engine oil filter here.

Disclosure
I was paid by Purolator to review for this post with Burst Media, all thoughts and opinions are my own. All products were provided by Purolator; however are items I genuinely enjoy and feel are appropriate for my site.


1.8t Passat engine Failure

Hey everyone! I hope that you are all enjoying your Monday. I spent the weekend doing some remodeling on my bathroom. It turns out that I like working on cars much much more than I like working on the house. Okay enough about houses, let’s talk oil changes.

This is another installment in the “Does my car need this service” series. That is where we take a commonly recommended service, and drive in to see if you really need it. This week we are talking about oil changes. We have talked before about “What exactly an oil change is“. Today we will talk about WHY!

Why would it need to be changed?
The oil in your car does basically 3 things

1.8 Passat engine damage

This is the result of not changing oil

  1. Lubricates
    This is the obvious one. It lubricates by keeping metal riding on a thin film. That prevents metal parts from touching. If metal parts actually touched, they would seize pretty quick.
  2. Cools
    Oil pulls heat away from the moving parts of the engine. That is why most cars have an oil cooler. It also reduces friction, that keeps parts cooler.
  3. Cleans
    Engine oil is responsible for moving debris from the engine crank case and oil galleys. It is also built with detergent packs to keep those moving parts clean. This is one area that car separate cheap oil from the good stuff.

The longer the oil is in your engine, the less it will do it’s 3 main jobs. Oil, will break down over time and lose it lubricating properties. As it loses it’s lubricating properties, it will not cool as effectively or clean like it should.

Using a good quality oil filter will help keep your oil clean. I recommend changing the filter when you change the oil. I use manufacturer oil filters in all my cars. If you choose an aftermarket filter, be sure it is the right size. The 1.8t Passat is a great example. VW switched to a big oil filter in 2005. I still see them come in with the smaller filters. They fit just fine, but it is not the proper filter.

How to check the fluid
Checking the level of your oil is pretty easy. Just make sure that your car is on a level surface. I need to shoot a little video for you guys. That would really be the best way to explain it. I am due for oil changes on both my cars. 🙁

Checking the condition is a little trickier. I check it by dabbing a little oil from the dipstick on to a piece of paper. Sift through it and check the color, and check for small chunks. The chunks are generally carbon. If you are getting carbon chunks, you not only in need of an oil change, but probably an oil system flush. Carbon chunks are a bad bad thing. Things get a little tougher when you have a TDI. That is is almost always very black. It makes it hard to determine the condition.

All that makes a great case for keeping good records. At my dealer, we can look at all the services that a customer has done. We can only see what services were done at my dealer. I have a file in my desk that I keep all my car maintenance records in.

How is the fluid replaced?
Nothing really fancy here. Just shut off the engine, and pull the plug. It really is that simple.

So do I really need it?
100% yes! Changing engine oil and filter is one of the most important things you can do for your car. I have replaced more than one engine due to lack of proper oil changes. I have also done tons of engine oil services because people didn’t change the oil in their car. They were not all 1.8t Passats.

Make sure that your car is getting the proper engine oil. Follow your owners manual for the proper oil, and the proper replacement interval. This is definitely one of the cheapest, most important services your car needs. Please don’t skip it.

1.8t Passat engine Failure

Change your oil, or your car will end up like this!

One last thing. I emailed the winner of the Snap-on tray. I have not heard back from them. If I don’t hear back by Wednesday, I will pick another winner. Make sure you all check your email. Be sure to check the spam folder. My email may have gotten filtered.

1.8 Passat engine damage

I talk all the time about changing engine oil. I have said that it is the one, if not THE, most important thing you can do to keep your car healthy. I went back and checked all the “Behind The Wrench” interviews I have done. Everyone said that changing engine oil was the most important thing for your car.

What exactly is an oil change? The obvious answer is “changing the oil” DUH! But oil changes are more than that. When I do an oil change on a customer’s car, it goes something like this.

  1. Take a quick spin around the lot. That give me a chance to listen for any weird noises.
  2. Check all the lights on the car~I don’t want my customers getting a ticket
  3. Check the wipers and make sure they clear properly.
  4. Look under the hood, here I am checking for any damage to belts, hoses, vacuum lines. I also look for any coolant or oil leaks.
  5. Check the oil level. I want to know if it is low before I start the service.
  6. This next step varies from car to car. Some I change the filter first, other I change it last. On my Passat, I do the filter first. On the other 1.8t engines I do the filter after. It doesn’t really matter.
  7. Next I drain the engine oil. I try to let it drain for about 10 minutes, or until the oil is dripping out. The more oil that comes out, the more through of an oil change it is.
  8. While the oil is draining, I take a look at the rest of the under car. Checking tire pressures, looking for anything that might be an issue, including brakes.
  9. Install and torque the drain plug. To be honest, I don’t put a torque wrench on the drain plug in the oil pan anymore. I have a really good idea of what 30nm is. 😉
  10. After lowering the car down, I fill the engine with oil, checking the level twice.
  11. Next I top off all the fluids, do another quick check under the hood, and wrap it up.

As you can see, there is a lot more to an oil change, than just draining and filling engine oil. At my shop we call an oil change a LOF/S. That is a Lube, Oil, Filter, with Synthetic. The lube is generally topping off all the fluids. We have went over the oil. Then of course the Filter. The filter is a very important as well. It is the filter that catches all the little partials, and junk floating around in your oil. Remember that your oil carries debris and the filter holds it. You would not all that junk to get caught in an oil passage, and cause engine damage.

Clean engine oil is so so critical to a vehicle! I don’t really care if you do your own, or bring it to the shop. Just get your oil changed. I am actually due for an oil change on my car. When I do it, I will shoot a little video for you guys. You can see exactly what I am talking about.

UPDATE~ I am traveling for training this week. I leave on Wednesday and will not be home until Saturday. That should not affect any posts with week, but traveling might throw a wrench in things. I will be learning about our new diagnostic software. I will give you a full report when I get back. I hope I can find some cool stuff to show you while I am there. Remember you can always connect with my on Facebook, Twitter, and email.

Hey everyone, it’s time for Behind the Wrench! Today we have a former mechanic who now teaches the craft to the next generation! It is my absolute pleasure to have this interview with Bill!

NAME:
William (Bill) Foster
How long have you been in the Industry?
40 years
What is your current job title?
Program Director, Tech School
What were you doing for your first automotive job?
I started out working for Sears Automotive, busting tires, changing oil, you know, grunt work.
In the years you have been in the industry cars have changed so much, what is your favorite thing cars are equipped with now that they were not when you started?
As a music fan, I really like the way radios have progressed. Otherwise, GPS rocks.
Were cars really built better when you first started working on them? Is “they just don’t build them like they use to” really true?
Cars were easier to work on back in the 70s, but they needed a lot of work. By 70K, one had to have suspensions rebuilt and sometime, major engine repairs. Newer cars don’t have to be worked on as often. It is true, they don’t make them like they used to…they make them better.
Do you currently work at a Dealer, or in an aftermarket shop, do you prefer one over the other?
My last hands-on job was at an independent. During my career, I worked for both dealers and independents both have their good and bad.
Walk us through what you do on a daily basis.
Currently, I’m a director and a teacher at a technical school in a manufacturers program. I like it because I get the skinny on all the new technology and I have a 40-hour week.
When you are not working on or with cars, what do you like to do?
Summer, boating and jet-skiing. Fall and Winter, hiking.
What kind of car do you drive?
Old Jeep Cherokee. It pulls the boats and takes me to the trails.
 What was your first car?
1969 Camaro SS. 396, 4-speed.
What made you want to work on cars?
A hands-on career with good pay. I have no regrets on that decision.
What is the weirdest thing that you have found in a car, that should not have been there?
A kitten. I rescued it with welding gloves on. When the owner would not take it, I suggested that I put in back in the engine bay where I found it. She changed her mind. They became good friends.
Do you have much customer interaction?
As a tech, yes, and I hated it. As a shop manager, yes, but it was my job. As a teacher/program director, it’s my job and I enjoy it.
What is your favorite part of your job?
Turning on light bulbs in normally dimly lit brains.
If giving the chance, what would you never do again at work?
As a technician, I would avoid being directly involved with customers. I would second guess becoming certified, as you get all of the problem cars.
The auto industry has a really bad rap, what do you say to someone who thinks you are trying to take advantage of them?
The next time you go to the doctor, and then have to go back for the same problem, and you get charged for it, think of how cheap the car repair was. Remember, doctors bury their mistakes.
Are cars harder to work on(for a pro mechanic) now? Cars are loaded up with computers, does that make it easier or harder to fix?
Cars are harder to work on for pro mechanics…who think they can repair cars with their wits. You need diagnostic skills, diagnostic tools, and service information. I was fortunate to have worked for employers who purchased good service manuals and equipment.
Of all the maintenance that cars need, what is the ONE that will keep my car healthy the longest?
Full-service oil changes.
How important is reading your vehicles owner’s manual?
It is very important to read the owner’s manual; you miss out on all the features of a car if you don’t.
Have you read the owners manual to your car?
Yes. After I drove a car for 6 years and found out about the auto-headlight function, I started reading them.
What tool in your tool box do you use the most?
Hammer. Just kidding, DVOM.
Is there a brand of tool that you prefer?
The brand with the best service. Currently, that’s Snap-On.
If you could only use 3 tools from now on, what would they be( and why)?
Scanner, DVOM, test light. I enjoy the challenge of drivablility and electrical work…now that I’m not on flat-rate.
If you were building a “James Bond” car, what is the one thing you would add it?
DVD player to watch Bond movies.
You are sending your kid off to college, what car would you buy for them?
Toyota or Scion because of the dependability. Actually, I did that for two of them.
What is the one thing that you want folks to know about your job that they might not know?
Your local tech-school instructor works hard to get young men and women ready for entry-level employment. They are not masters yet, and will not be for a few years to come. Give them a chance as someone did you one day. It is frustrating to watch young people work hard for a year or two learning a career just to be denied a chance, or get paid so little that pizza delivery is a better choice upon graduation. It happens every day.
WOW, 40 years in the business. Bill, you must be a trooper! Folks,I really want to thank Bill for such an awesome interview. If you have a question for Bill, post it in the comments.Be sure to swing by and check out Bills website over at AutotechsForum.com. He has a great blog about cars too.
If you want to be featured, just Contact Me. I am always looking for new folks to interview!
I hope everyone has a great weekend. Hit me on Twitter that is the fastest way to get in touch with me.