I own a 2008 Ford Fusion. The Ford dealer uses an oil blend of part regular oil, part synthetic for oil changes. When I inquired about whether I should go all synthetic (having read your advice), the service manager said I could, but that their blend is “good enough.”
QUESTION: I own a 2008 Ford Fusion. The Ford dealer uses an oil blend of part regular oil, part synthetic for oil changes. When I inquired about whether I should go all synthetic (having read your advice), the service manager said I could, but that their blend is “good enough.” What do you think – stick with the blend, or go all synthetic? I have 18,000 miles on the car. Is it OK to make a switch now?
ANSWER: Full synthetic oil will be the best choice. Over the years both engines and oil additives have changed. I would recommend the switch and oil change intervals of 5,000 miles or twice a year if you drive less than 10,000 miles a year. The full synthetic will improve economy and is better for the engine.
QUESTION: Could you tell if tire rotation is something car owners should do? I have had different opinions from two mechanics. If you recommend rotation, why and how often? Thank you in advance.
ANSWER: Tire rotation is very important on vehicles whose the tires can be rotated (the same size front and rear). Tire rotation is important because when the tire is changed from front to back, it will wear more evenly and last longer. Think about a front-drive car; the front tires move the car under power while also providing the steering. If that’s not enough, there’s the extra weight from the engine and transmission and the braking of the vehicle. I like to see tire rotation once a year for the average vehicle. I also suggest to change the air pressure a few pounds at oil change intervals, this changing of the air pressure gives the tire a different foot print to the ground again increasing tire life.
QUESTION: What breaks down in a spark plug that causes the need for replacement? I checked the plugs in my car with 10,000 miles and they look like new? My lawnmower and snow blower tend to go through a spark plug every year.
ANSWER: Today’s vehicles are fuel injected and run at almost the perfect fuel mixture. In this case a spark plug can last 100,000 miles. However after 50,000 miles the sparkplugs do wear between the electrodes and will get a carbon buildup. This does affect performance and fuel mileage. I like to see spark plugs replaced at 50,000 miles or less. The early spark plug replacement can also prevent spark plugs from rusting and rotting, and breaking apart the technician tries to remove them. As for the lawnmower, snow blower and any other small engine with a carburetor, expect spark plug replacement every year. Remember these small engines have carburetors and will not run like an engine with fuel injection.
QUESTION: Are there any manuals that have information on ignition key and key remote reprogramming?
ANSWER: I had used books provided by Autodata for many years. They publish many good informational manuals on this and other auto information. This information can also be found at Alldata.com on a car by car search.
Junior Damato writes regularly about cars. You can send questions to him care of the Old Colony Memorial, 182 Standish Ave., Plymouth, MA 02360, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.