Episode 1107 – BMW Partners with TVS Motors, Renault Twin’Z, GM Miscalculates Service Intervals

April 8th, 2013 at 11:53am

Runtime: 7:36

BMW expands its motorcycle lineup by teaming up with an Indian motorcycle company. Renault showcases its design direction with a small concept car called the Twin’Z. GM’s extended service intervals are causing problems in certain models with the 2.4L 4-cylinder engine. All that and more, plus have you heard of this new kind of carbon fiber bridge, what they call a bridge in a backpack?

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Hello and welcome to a brand new week of Autoline Daily. Coming up later in the show we have the results of our latest poll, where we wanted to know if you’d buy a new vehicle with the logos of your favorite sports team. But first, let’s get to the news.

BMW is expanding its motorcycle lineup. It’s partnering up with Indian motorcycle company TVS Motors. The two companies will develop and build bikes smaller than 500 cc’s, which will be differentiated and sold under their own brands in India and around the world.

Well it seems like Fisker just can’t stay out of the news, and it has not been good news either. Last week the company furloughed 160 employees to save cash. Well Fisker did not give those employees the required 60-days notice and they just filed a federal lawsuit against the company. And all this revived the debate about the government handing out money to “green” start ups. Here’s my Autoline Insight. The government should absolutely put money into research, but should never give money to companies to run their operations.

Maybe you’ve heard that automakers in North America like to have their dealers stocked up with 60 days of inventory. But that number actually fluctuates with the seasons. You want more inventory in the spring and summer and less in the dead of winter. Well, Ward’s reports that right now, new car dealers in the U.S. have 60 days of inventory, a time when 65 days would be considered ideal. And the lowest inventory is with vehicles built in North America, not the imports. That probably means production will have to increase in the second quarter and that is good news for the North American industry.

Renault just took the wraps off a small concept car called the Twin’Z which is meant to showcase the company’s design direction. It was created along with British designer Ross Lovegrove. The rear-wheel-drive electric vehicle features a rear mounted motor, and batteries under the floor which free up more cabin space. While there are a number of wild looking design cues, one of the most interesting are the wheels and tires which were designed by Michelin. They kind of look like a futuristic version of its airless tires, the Tweel.

General Motors made a big deal about how its oil life monitoring system would extend service intervals and save customers money. But it looks like that extended interval is causing problems in the 2010-12 Buick LaCrosse, Regal, Chevy Equinox and GMC Terrain with the 2.4L 4-cylinder engine. The monitor allows vehicles to go too long between oil changes resulting in premature engine wear. Dealers will now reprogram the software for the monitors at no charge to the customer. But what we want to know is what will be done for out-of-warranty customers?

And now for our latest poll results. We based this poll on the fact that the Ram brand sold 3,000 pick-ups with the logos of the Detroit Red Wings hockey team as a $400 option. Based on that success they want to offer that option for other sports teams. So we asked you if you would go for an option like that. And 80 percent of you said no way. But 20 percent said yes, and that’s a much higher take rate that Ram got. In fact, a 20 percent take rate would mean 70,000 Ram buyers might go for a sports logo package. So I think they’re smart to expand the idea to include other sports teams.

Coming up next, have you heard of this new kind of carbon fiber bridge, what they call a bridge in a backpack? That is coming up next.

On Autoline After Hours last week our guest was Kirk Steudle, the director of the Department of Transportation in Michigan. Part of what we talked about was new construction techniques to make bridges faster and cheaper. He told us about a fascinating new construction technique. Take a look.

(Clip from Autoline After Hours about bridge in a backpack can only be viewed in the video version of today’s show.)

There’s a lot of great information in that show about roads and transportation infrastructure. In fact people who have watched it commented that they never knew that roads could be so interesting. And we’ll be showing you some of those other innovative construction techniques in upcoming shows.

But anyway, that brings us to the end of this show. Thanks for watching, please join us again here tomorrow.

Thanks to our Partners for embedding Autoline Daily on their websites: Autoblog and WardsAuto.com

69 Comments to “Episode 1107 – BMW Partners with TVS Motors, Renault Twin’Z, GM Miscalculates Service Intervals”

  1. Wim van Acker Says:

    Thanks for sharing the new bridge construction concept, very informative.

  2. ColoradoKid Says:

    ( from this morning )

    Holden Losen Ground ;


    Not to be contentious or anything .. but … errr ….. care to comment Mr Bejma

    Hate to say it but …. I told you so !

  3. ColoradoKid Says:

    Formula One

    Can’t wait till ” Rush ” comes out in September ?

    The spring ‘ Break ‘ got you jonesing for some F1 action ?

    Got the next best thing . The 1976 F1 Season ‘ official ‘ review ( approx. 56 minutes … so grab a beverage … take a break … and enjoy )

    Caveat ; The music is abysmal and the Long Beach round was ….. edited out ….. dang it !


    Take notice how many US ( car ) entries there was back then . Too bad none of them had the stones to stick it out 8)

  4. Lex Says:

    GM’s SHORTENED SERVICE INTERVALS Fiasco is why I have the oil changed in all of my vehicles every 3,000 miles. If you have your local quick oil change center do it you can have it done for very little money and usually within 30 mintues. You are right John McElroy, GM what about those customers who are now out of warranty? I would never buy another GM vehicle, lease maybe but buying one is out of the questions for me. Every GM vehicle I had gave me a ton of trouble. If I leased a GM vehicle I want a full 3 year manufactures warranty and the piece of mind knowing that I can walk await after at the end of the three year lease without any worries.

  5. ColoradoKid Says:

    Bridge in a Backpack

    With all the county , rural and small town bridges on the verge of collapse across the nation due to the ravages of time and weather and at a point when money is short ( especially in Small Town and Rural America )…. this looks like a winning solution IMO

    Two thumbs up for this ALD

  6. Tony Gray Says:

    AMEN John. I always said that I have no beef with research…but he practical application of this information is best left to the free market and public sector.

  7. T. Bejma Says:


    Saw that. Like how they mention the Yen (and US Dollar) manipulation as a large culprit.

    From this morning as well…

    “GM & Cadillac are doing is making the mistake of attempting to substitute genuine engineering , quality and advancement with a lot of Hype , Marketing Strategies , Advertising , Smoke & Mirrors…”

    Marketing? Sure, I agree.

    Engineering? No way. Making a vehicle that is lighter and handles and brakes better than a 3 Series is a fantastic Engineering achievement. Even Peter D. agrees that our Engineering is top notch, so I take a lot of offense on this one.

    Quality? Not enough data, but so far the trend is positive. No one, not even you CK, can call something a fact, without the data.

    Advancement? Magnetic Ride, CUE, Lightness, brand new platform. I have to disagree with you on this one as well. What advancements did BMW or MB bring to the table?

  8. T. Bejma Says:


    All of the vehicles mentioned have 5 year, 100,000 mile (best in the industry) powertrain warranties.

  9. Lex Says:

    On Autoline After Hours last week your guest was Kirk Steudle, the director of the Department of Transportation in Michigan. The subject of “TOLLS” and “Registration Fees” came up. I believe this would be an interesting AAH show to survey the entire country as to find out what are the actual charges and methods used the in each of the 50 States. Compare the amount of fees, tolls and registrations collected by each State and compare that to the ranking of Best to Worst Roads in America.

  10. GM Veteran Says:

    Thanks for the AAH segment on road repair and construction in Michigan. It was fascinating and I learned a lot. The comparisons to other states like Ohio were eye opening, and gave new emphasis to our Governor’s current campaign to increase funding for the roads. Great guest and segment. Keep up the good work!

  11. buzzerd Says:

    @Lex-I think changing the oil in any modern car every 3,000miles is a waste of oil and money. Most modern cars recommend much longer intervals in their manuals.

  12. HtG Says:

    Another thing that Steudle said which intrigued me was that people are driving fewer miles these days because they’re doing their errands all in one trip. Little trips for one thing aren’t happening as much. Hearing it from someone like Steudle tells me this is a big deal. I know I do it. And this behavior is one argument that car rental services like ZipCar use to show how green they are; their clients don’t do little trips like car owners.

  13. C-Tech Says:

    I wonder if we will see some of that 3M technology mentioned on an earlier show on those low-cost TVS-BMW motorcyles?

    The longer interval problem at GM I thought was a software glitch. On the earlier 2.4L models I believe it caused excessive chain guide wear and premature failure. The fix has been out for awhile. Overall I believe if you are not using synthetic or semi-synthetic oil (like GM Dexos) then a 3K miles oil change is cheap insurance for the engine, regardless of the brand.

  14. ColoradoKid Says:

    T Bejma

    A reminder . Who ( in fact … not in the media ) holds the most automotive patents ? Who in fact has advanced the automobile more than any other manufacture in the areas of safety , comfort and handling ? Who’s automotive patents and designs have either been licensed or copied by other manufactures ? Who does everyone ( including BMW ) try to aim for when it comes to quality and engineering ?

    The answer to all the above would be ;

    Mercedes Benz

    ” Making a vehicle that is lighter and handles and brakes better than a 3 Series is a fantastic Engineering achievement ”

    Sorry T but Lotus has been doing that since day one ( 50′s ) BMW’s done it more times than they can remember …. and fact is only time’ll tell if that so called ‘ lighter ‘ technology will hold up … but if history tells us anything about GM’s ‘ advances …. they won’t ( hold up that is )

    BMW ? Oh come now … lets not even go down the ” GM is as good as BMW ” route for the love of Pete ( who ever this Pete fellow might be ) GM hasn’t had / got / or ever will have a product thats capable of even being mentioned in the same sentence as BMW …. and err … a reminder …. BMW’s WON in F1 … whereas GM’s never even had the stones to enter

    CUE ? Seriously ? You’ve got the nerve to place that absolute trendy wendy dreck in the conversation ?

    Magnetic ride ? See anyone copying that lately ? ( don’t even try the Ferrari argument on me T ;-) )

    Sorry T .. but I’ll hold to my opinion . GM has become the master of ” Spin Doctor ” as well as ” Smoke & Mirrors ” .. with zero Style or Substance to back it up

    Same GM . Different Day . Same old result

    ( caveat ; this is not to imply or place the blame on GM’s engineers or employees … but rather squarely on the shoulders of the Powers that Be at GM …. e.g. Board CO’s upper management etc )

  15. ColoradoKid Says:

    buzzerd – 11 – Not if you truly understand the dynamics and properties of even the synthetic oils in an ICE . I change mine at least once a year despite both M-B and the oil manufactures claims and feel it only prudent to do so in a quality car one wishes to keep on the road … e.g. I’m 100% on board with Lex on this one

    BWTM – Re-read the above ALD article on GM’s debacle due to their extended intervals for oil changes …. and then tell me Lex and I are wrong ;-)

  16. HtG Says:

    You might also give credit to GM(Sloan) for inventing modern financial controls for a large corporation. Whenever I hear the praises for VW I am reminded of who came up with the idea for independent divisions.(fargin bastages in the govt with their antitrust)

    Also, Daimler has big chits with the world for not enforcing its safety patents. They don’t crow much about it.

  17. pedro fernandez Says:

    I have gotten into arguments with people that insist that new cars only need oil changes every 7k miles or so, as long as you have a clean new engine, YES! As the engine ages and gets dirtier inside, you need to change it more often. I saw that happen with our previous xB, when new, the oil was still clean even after 5k miles, at the first oil change, I chose synth oil, sure enough one year later, it was just a little dirty, however as the engine aged to over 25k miles, the intervals became more frequent cause the oil looked dirty, same is happening with the FR-S the first oil change at 5k miles and it looked factory fresh.

  18. pedro fernandez Says:

    Even BMW salesmen tell their clients that their “special” oils can last up to 12k miles or one year. w/o replacing and that is why it is so expensive, it must come from a special holy site in the middle east I assume?

  19. chuck @ GM Says:

    #11 I agree. In our ‘Nox I change the oil when the message comes up to do so. Several years ago I had to deal with the engineers who do that very thing. These are people whose professional lives are dedicated to knowing how long oil should last, as well as other related things. On the other hand there are people who change oil like Lex. I disagree with that, but that’s their choice. I disagree from an environmental viewpoint, like you I think it’s a waste of the rest of the life of the oil and contributes to the sum of waste oil unnecessarily.

  20. Alan Adler Says:


    The reflashing of the oil life monitor has been added to standard service so anyone who brings one of the vehicles involved in for any service issue will have the reflash for the new oil life setting.

    Alan Adler
    GM Communications

  21. HtG Says:

    The guy who runs PelicanParts says you should ignore Porsche’s oil change interval schedule, and change much more frequently. It’s like 200 bucks for a Boxster! One bit of genius Stuttgart pulled off was to have no bearings for the camshafts. The head and valve cover are machined to fit, but people run into trouble with wear. Thinking about such an issue makes me want to hurl every time I start dreaming about a Boxster.

  22. pedro fernandez Says:

    A freaking gas guzzlers will waste more petroleum over its life than changing the oil a little more often ever will.

  23. buzzerd Says:

    CK I also change the oil in my Vette once a year as I don’t put enough mileage on the car to get the change oil prompt from the car. But changing the oil every 3,000 miles is old thinking for new cars and I don’t think it’s cheap insurance when you look at the big environmental picture of 10′s of millions of people needlessly changing their oil despite the recommendations of the engineers who designed and tested the engine. That part I truly understand.

  24. Bradley Says:

    #23 +1

    I agree.

  25. pedro fernandez Says:

    TTAC reviews the Dart and it’s a nice effort with a weak standard power train combo, that seems to plague most domestics models, you gotta spend more to get a proper drive-train

  26. C-Tech Says:

    As a technician I look forward to your (more) frequent $$$ ENGINE changes. How environmentally friendly is that? Beside if you choose wisely, many shops recycle the used oil.

  27. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ 8,T: Chrysler also has 5yr/100k.GM ain’t ‘best’ in anything…..it’s a tie,and I think Chrysler wuz th’ fustus with that ;}> Till recently,I was a chevy silverado fan and owner of many of them.Gm is only now,one step from losing me completely as a customer.If,when they FINALLY tell us something about a diesel in the upcoming model,no maybe’s or we’re looking into it…”….hard concrete ‘yes’ and this is what it will be.Anything other then that,I drive home for sure in a ram 1500 diesel.If one oem pisses me off,there’s alway two more to chose from,and since no oem has ever showed loyalty to me as a customer,I show none to them.Life is good ;}>

  28. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ C-tech: The place where I get my oil changed at recycles all of the used oil…..into diesel for his own use.He’s been doing that for the last 10 years that I know off.

  29. ColoradoKid Says:


    Better a few bucks in your back pocket for more frequent oil changes than a whole lotta bucks in someone else’s for a plethora of major engine repairs in my book any day .

    For the record every independent garage I spoke to this morning ( a Toyota – a BMW – a Porsche and a Benz specialist ) all to a number recommended more frequent oil changes than that of the manufacture …. whereas most the dealers for those brands ( with exception of my preferred Benz dealer ) suggested staying with the manufactures claims .

    Hmmmn .


    HtG – For the love of all things good ….. don’t do it ( buy a Boxster )

  30. ColoradoKid Says:

    G.A. Branigan


    Amen !

    As we say here at Chez Kid……. when it comes to all purchasing and services …..

    We Vote with our checkbooks ;-)

  31. T. Bejma Says:


    Sorry G.A., GM was first in 2006


    Chrysler temporarily offered a “lifetime” Powertrain Warranty in 2007 and then cut it back to 5 year/100K in 2009

    You know I would love to retain you as a GM customer G.A. so whatever I can do to help (and not lose my job) I will do.

  32. G.A.Branigan Says:

    I run mobile 1 in both vehicles,and change it out every 5k.After the change,I have them reset the oil monitor thing for me.Damn computer stuff….

  33. G.A.Branigan Says:

    @ T: tell me positively that GM’s upcoming rebirth of the mid-size twins will have a diesel option right from the get-go,I will consider it,within some time constraints.I ain’t gonna wait long is what I’m saying.By the end of this year/beginning of next,I will have a diesel truck.

  34. T. Bejma Says:


    I’m working on it, should know before your deadline.

  35. ColoradoKid Says:

    Pedro Fernandez

    re; Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum ( the CO online car reviewers )

    Here’s what I found out . Everyone of note I talked to that had even heard of them ( most hadn’t ) said they’re sort of entertaining at best …. but with zero credibility when it comes to their tests and conclusions . The thing no one can figure out is how they’re getting sponsorship ( ads ) and why the ____ anyone is giving them vehicles to test


    T Bejma – So …… just as I though you ( GM … not you personally ) have no interest what so ever in getting folks like myself ( highly educated – cultured – discerning – comfortable middle class etc ) back into the GM fold ( my first two cars were a [used ] 65 Old 442 [ highly modified ] and a [ used ] 65 Vette convertible ….. with my family having HAD [ emphasis on the word … had ) GM’s of all sizes shapes and colors since the early 50′s ( my parents new car was a 57 Chevy Bel Air w/ all the factory hop up goodies )

    Hmmmmn . Interesting .

  36. Kit Gerhart Says:

    HtG, from yesterday:
    I didn’t make it to In and Out. I was mostly with a large group, and we didn’t go there.

  37. Enn Norak Says:

    I’m a great believer in frequent oil changes especially in situations of mostly stop and go driving in cold climates; however I am suspicious that some manufacturers and or dealers deliberately request that customers change their oil too frequently in order to increase dealer service revenue. There is a small risk every time an owner does not change his own oil. Inexperienced underpaid apprentices sometimes strip the threads by applying too much torque to oil drain plugs and/or overfill new oil.

  38. Kit Gerhart Says:

    The myth of the need for 3000 mile oil changes is perpetuated, very effectively, I might add, by people in the oil change business. Unless you are driving a lot of one mile trips in the winter, there is no need to change oil that often. BMW says once a year, or 15,000 miles for their cars with synthetic. The 3000 mile recommendation was from the days of engines with carburetors which often ran sloppy rich during warm up, and had much less precise tolerances than today’s engines.

  39. Kit Gerhart Says:

    “Advancement? Magnetic Ride, CUE, Lightness, brand new platform. I have to disagree with you on this one as well. ”

    TB, I agree with what you say, except about CUE. CUE sucks, as does MyFord Touch and a number of other “advancements” in recent cars, which serve mainly to distract the driver from, uh, driving.

  40. C-Tech Says:

    What really increases dealer service revenue are not the oil changes but the unnecessary fluid flushes , like trans and coolant fushes. I saw a Honda customer who had his trans fluid flushed twice in 30K miles because the service advisor recommended it! Find a good service advisor, ask them to check your service history to make sure you aren’t duplicating services, or getting things done (like trans or coolant or differential flushes) too often.

  41. T. Bejma Says:


    Why do you think we (GM) do not want you back in the fold?

    HtG (“highly educated – cultured – discerning – comfortable middle class etc”) seems pretty enamored by the Impala, so it seems that we may be doing somewhat of a good job… ;-)


    Didn’t say CUE was flawless, just advanced. Most new advancements are a little “cumbersome” when they are first introduced.

  42. C-Tech Says:

    @ #38 I will accept 5K between oil changes for a newer car on regular oil, however I think you invite risk when you go regularly go past 7K on regular oil. The other advantage to regular oil changes is that a good shop will check over your older vehicle for other services which may be legitimately needed, such as worn brakes (don’t let them get to metal-to-metal), worn tires, burned out bulbs, worn suspension components. These items when caught early can be replaced easily and for less than when they totally fail and cause other failures.

  43. C-Tech Says:

    @ #41 I don’t know T.B., why would you want C.K. back in the fold? Not all money is good money :)

  44. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I change the oil in my ’86 VW once every 4 years or 1000 miles, whichever comes first. I change it more often in my ’89 Caravan since it has a turbocharger, every 3 years or 1000 miles, whichever comes first. I drive both cars only in the summer, and any time I run the engines, I warm them up completely. C-Tech, what do you think of my oil change intervals for these seldom-driven cars?

  45. HtG Says:

    35 Check out the Chevy SS, CK. It looks great in the flesh and has a Vette engine. It’s a manly man car. Also, the Buicks I’ve sat in are so sharp, it makes me feel that GM is certainly doing it right for more affluent people. But you can’t fix being 6’4″. You’re an outlier.

  46. HtG Says:

    42 C-Tech, what do you guys think of people like me who bring their car into the dealer for oil because they know a tech will check the car over for other jobs? It’s a bargain, if you ask me.

  47. T. Bejma Says:


    Thanks for the support HtG!

    I am 6’4″ and am comfortable in every one of our cars from the Spark to the Escalade. I must have a common body/leg ratio because besides the BRZ, I have not sat in a car that I’m uncomfortable in. I like the coupe (koo – pay ;-) ) better because my sitting position doesn’t put my head at the B-Pillar, but I can live with it. I guess racing in a 12A RX-7 got me used to tight quarters :-)

  48. C-Tech Says:

    @ #44 For those cars, that seems like a reasonable oil change interval. I may be more concerned about the coolant, water pump, and trans seals with so little circulation to the seals.

    @ #46 Find a good dealer or repair shop, try to see the same service advisor, who will look at your vehicle history before recommending services. The advantage of the (ggod) dealer is if there are recalls and/or updates you can get them done at the same time as your other services. Very often you will find its not that big of a difference between dealer and aftermarket. Can’t get those things done at Iffy Lube.

  49. Kit Gerhart Says:

    I’ve changed the coolant three times in both of them, most recently about 6-7 years ago. I used orangish Prestone which the package said should last forever, at least a long time. Also, the package said you didn’t need to worry about getting every drop of green stuff out of the system. What do you think about the various types of coolant, especially for cars like my older ones?

  50. pedro fernandez Says:

    Agree with C-Tech re changing fluids too often, I did my tranny flush 5 yrs ago and it’s still ok, and we’re talking about a really used tranny, I’ve never, ever changed the brake fluid either, the tech told me to do so was to ask for trouble. However as the engine gets older and with lots of miles, the oil does get dirtier quicker!

  51. C-Tech Says:

    @ #48 Sorry, that should be (good) dealer

  52. C-Tech Says:

    i personally try to stick with the type of coolant the car came with. If it came with 3 yr green coolant, I try to stick with that. If it came with orange HOAT (need a chemist here!) I try to put that back into a customer’s car. I don’t see any need to change coolant types and it may invite a failure later. If I change a radiator, when possible I try to make sure it installed properly as to not induce electralysis. Just the basics, lasts longer that way. Electralysis probably kills more radiators and heater cores than anything else. As lom=ng as you have the correct mixture you should be fine.

  53. C-Tech Says:

    @ #52 Sorry sould be long. not lom=ng!

  54. HtG Says:

    Kit, afterhours

    If you make it to the burger joint, another secret menu item is a ‘neopolitan style’ milkshake. Choc, vanilla, and strawberry flavors, but they are layered, not blended.

    Better make that heart attack worth it.

  55. ColoradoKid Says:


    re; 45

    1) I live in a snow zone ( big one heading our way btw )
    2) I’ve long since outgrown the need for a Muscle Car and am wanting something a bit more sophisticated ( from what my Antipode informant has said … rehashed or not … a re-badged Holden is not desirable seeing as how even the Aussie’s won’t buy them )
    3) I prefer something along the lines of the GLK and we both know the SRX and the Encore aint it ;-)

    No HtG ….. its pretty damn obvious by the Ads and Marketing GM ( as well as Ford and Chrysler ) does that I’m not their target audience … so therefore neither must their cars be made for the likes of moi ( or SG who’s an avid Toyota owner )…. I’m sure though GM’d love to get its claws into even more of my cash than they’ve already got ( already got a pile of my tax dollars ) …. Problem is they’ve no clue how … constantly running down the Smoke & Mirrors path vainly hoping that’ll get my kind in the door


    C- Tech … guaranteed my money spends just fine and if GM ( or Chrysler – Ford ) had even a lick of sense they’d be bending over backwards to get their fair chunk of it rather than doing everything and anything possible to make sure they never see a penny . Which I’m sure MBUSA and Toyota USA thanks GM for ;-)

    BTW I do agree with your ‘ good dealer ‘ vs Jiffy Lube etc advice …. though a ‘ brand ‘ specialist is a great option ( sometimes better ) as well

  56. ColoradoKid Says:


    Send the man to ‘ Pinks ‘ I mean seriously what could be better ? Stars n’ their Cars ….. great dogs .. decent fries and the joint is legendary …

    In-n-Out …. eeesh ….. the very thought has me questioning the food ….. goes out as fast as it comes in ????

  57. GaryPaul Says:

    Comments on Engine Oil Change Intervals:

    In simple terms, there are mainly 2 types of wear that help to eventually break down the insides of an ICE (Internal Combustion Engine): Mechanical Wear and Chemical Wear.

    Think of ferrous spheres or spheroids as one source of mechanical wear that can damage internal engine surfaces. Another example would be the first cold start (like after sitting overnight)in the morning when for one second or two there is little or no full pressure lubrication helping to prevent metal to metal contact which will help create more of the tiny metallic spheroids. Of course the addition of magnetic oil drain plugs years ago on so many vehicles can help to trap some of these metal fragments just like on many manual trans plugs, but not all.

    Now Think of all kinds of acids that work their way into the engine oil as the chemical wear agents that eat away at metal surfaces. One example is from water condensate that collects on the inside sides of engine oil pans and drips down into the oil. Or think of the fact that engine blow-by gases which are largely cleared out by a properly operating PCV system, nevertheless, slowly deposit some of their materials (unburned hydrocarbons) into the engine compartment joining forces with water and other substances.

    Despite these assaults on engine oil, the oil molecules themselves do not for the most part, break down (whether they are from synthetic or conventional motor oils). But the additives added to modern SAE/API engine oil can and do break down and if there was a way to inexpensively remove the chemical impurities & worn out additives then we would be left with some perfectly good oil that we could improve with additives. Since we can’t easily do that, we thus recycle the oil.

    Reasonable Oil change intervals are thus mainly dependent on how impure (dirty) the oil becomes with both physical and especially chemical crap over a set period of time. And this is highly dependent on how the engine is operated. If it is operated in an environment of ideal outside temperatures (not -40 F mornings for example) and ideal driving conditions (not towing for example–which would keep engine temperatures from climbing high) there is essentially no reason that one would require synthetic motor oil. Yes synthetic is a superior oil. But you won’t use its capabilities unless you overstress the engine thus creating higher heat (whereby synthetic oil will perform more uniformly, like when you do all those quarter mile blasts each day) or are in an environment of severe temp conditions like cold where synthetic oil can still flow more easily than conventional oil.

    Thus the ideal 3000/7500/10,0000 mile oil change intervals are entirely dependent on how you drive, whether you push the engine towards its limits (like with towing), outside temperatures, or even if you drive too little–not allowing the engine to sufficiently warm up to burn off impurities and then magnifying the damage by leaving the same oil in the vehicle for years, because “I hardly drive it!” The manufacturers say some of this stuff, in so many words, often buried in an owner’s manual or software.

    If you really want to save your engine from mechanical wear at least, use an engine oil pre-luber, which will really reduce production of tiny metal chunks coming off engine parts during cold starts. But with so many engines going 200-400K on many vehicles these days, most folks don’t bother.

    The chemical impurities we cannot easily clear out of an engine’s oil at home & thus even if you use synthetic oil–it still needs to be changed!

    With the GM oil change issues there are likely other factors involved that we are not aware of (it may be more complicated than it seems on the surface). For example, perhaps the engine oil change interval monitors may not fully take into effect low driving mile situations, causing sludge to build up while the monitor indicates everything is Jim-Dandy.

  58. HtG Says:

    55 Security Girl would appreciate the sophisticated design of the coming Lincoln crossover, I’d dare say. The PS I talked to spoke mostly about the efforts to make fine choices in the appearance. I think they’re aiming right at you two.

    But yeah, GLK is quite a standard. I think its interior was designed just for me.

  59. C-Tech Says:

    @ #55 Just teasing C.K., although overly difficult customers are a problem with dealer surveys. I agree with you about “product specialists” in the aftermarket. Many of them are factory trained mechanics who have ventured out into their own shops. You still need to be mindful of knowing whom to trust.

  60. C-Tech Says:

    @ #57 I had our apprentice read your post bceause it explains alot about oil, and we were wondering if you agree that hot weather states were you run the a/c, in traffic, and/or on the freeways, is also a severe condition?

  61. pedro fernandez Says:

    In So fl, hot, humid, traffic jams, a/c and in my case, lots of miles and lots of starts (short trips) crucial that I keep oil clean and fresh.

  62. cwolf Says:

    Here is another acknowledgement for “American vehicles”. I wish I could understand why you continue to be misled by various biased reporting or cling to dislikes of long ago. This list of “2013 Best Family Cars” conducted by U.S. News & World Report has 19 categories. Of the 19, U.S brands took 10 places…most of which are GM vehicles.
    Come out from the dark side, my friend. Follow the light!!


  63. W L Simpson Says:

    I gave my Terrain synthetic last time . A 2.4 gets a little rattley when it gets low on oil , just about the time i got that oil life notice in the mail. seems to have survived. Gonna let the dealer have his way from now on , even if i HAVE been wrenching for over 50 years.

  64. vrmchris Says:

    hello to all.

    bmw and tvs. this is not a surprise. after all, hero of india invested 20 million in erik buell racing last year. companies need volume and access to technology. so for bmw and tvs, this might work.

    fisker. this is what happens when money matters more than people. this might be the thing that brings down fisker. unless someone has very deep pockets. and i do not mean chinese government companies. if they walked away from making bids, why should anyone else bid for fisker. it makes henrik fisker look smarter by the day.

    we need more. in my humble opinion, no. you do not need any more at this juncture. make sure you have sufficient examples to sell. if not, offer to order or find an example elsewhere for the customer.

    renault twin’z. question. was the stylist inspired by the original renault 5? it does seem that way to me. but i shall wait and see on this one.

    scheduled service intervals. your daily driving habits will determine how often you need to service your vehicle. while indicators in your vehicle can help, your sensor inside your cranium should be the primary indicator based on the information it has collected over time.

    bridge in a backpack. if anyone watched the last aah, one would have been surprised at how interesting from a technical point of view about what goes into constructing roads and bridges. very fascinating show. and i highly recommend anyone who watches ald to watch last weeks aah.

    gm vs daimler-benz. over the last decade it seems that daimler-benz is in more trouble than it lets on. you can only put up a brave face for so long. when the board only gives dr. dieter zetsche a 3 year extension instead of 5, that should be a warning to anyone who is a fan of daimler-benz. as for gm, we know what the trouble has been. agreed that perception is stronger than reality. however, gm is on the move. they have been stepping up their game over the past decade. are they where they should be? no. but one can see that there are strides being made. as for daimler-benz. one can only go so far downmarket. the cla? i have to wonder about that one. daimler, like audi and bmw want more and more volume. the question remains: how far downmarket can you go and still retain your cachet or status based on previous glories? even the fans of daimler, audi, and bmw should be questioning them on this point. it is getting to the point where the “upscale” marques are no longer “special” as a whole. and daimler-benz in my humble opinion has fallen the furthest. this does not mean that they do not make good even great vehicles. but they are no longer “special”.


  65. Lemon law Lawyers Says:

    On Autoline After Hours last week your guest was Kirk Steudle, the director of the Department of Transportation in Michigan. The subject of “TOLLS” and “Registration Fees” came up. I believe this would be an interesting AAH show to survey the entire country as to find out what are the actual charges and methods used the in each of the 50 States. Compare the amount of fees, tolls and registrations collected by each State and compare that to the ranking of Best to Worst Roads in America.

  66. T. Bejma Says:

    Thought CK might like to see his buddy Elon bragging up the Model S in this pretty positive review of a trip from LA to Vegas…


  67. pedro fernandez Says:

    I can just see a cottage industry of “massage parlors” in trailers opening up at Tesla charging stations to keep the driver busy while they wait for the others to charge up their Teslas.

  68. pedro fernandez Says:

    TTAC has an article on how long car loans have become so people can buy over their heads, I thought that was the whole idea behind leasing, get more car than you really could afford by leasing instead of purchasing and never, ever finish making car payments.

  69. GaryPaul Says:

    #60: Thanks for your comments:
    “I had our apprentice read your post because it explains alot about oil, and we were wondering if you agree that hot weather states were you run the a/c, in traffic, and/or on the freeways, is also a severe condition?”

    The short answer is:
    Anything that overstress the engine will reduce the life of the engine. In simplest terms, assuming you have decent oil quality and and cleanliness and the oil pressure is fine, then your simplest primary source would be to look at a good operating coolant gauge, which unfortunately many vehicles do not have. [Big Pet Peeve here: --and it would be nice if manufacturers would actually indicate the temp/pressure on the gauge with numbers, for Pete's sake--so many just have a zone where its RED (bad) and a zone where it is not red (happy face).] For example if you like to hot-dog (drive aggressively (but safely) like I do at times), it would be better to let the coolant level reach “normal” for a period of 10-15 minutes or so, while driving (so that the drive-train is warmed up as well such as the trans fluid or rear axle fluid) BEFORE you mash down on the throttle and do your ET, etc. Just this alone would reduce stress on components. And yes, the engine will take longer to warm up in C O L D temperatures than an 80 degree day! In some places you need to place a blanket over the radiator (like truck drivers have done for ages) just to get some decent heat out of the heater core! Not a good place to practice aggressive driving unless you get that engine oil temp up to normal. Now in conditions where the temps are really hot (110 F or more etc), this again depends on what an accurate coolant temp gauge would be telling you. true that is not engine oil temp but since most vehicles don’t have engine oil temp gauges, the coolant gauge can be a crude indicator that the engine temps are acceptable. Thus in your situation, if you radiator is sufficiently large and you are not towing to the max capacity, up a 4% incline for 14 miles, with a full load of fat passengers, etc(–you get the picture) and the coolant gauge is showing in the normal range or even a little warm (I am not going to get into the actual temps here for simplicity sake) you will be OK. If you are doing this constantly because you live in the heat of the 98 degree super high humidity environment (like some parts of the Philippines I am in), and are endlessly carpooling then you may wish to change oil earlier. However most vehicle manufactured for/sold in the Philippines for ex., such as a Ford Ranger or a Toyota Corolla take this environment into account and the vehicles are provided with more effective coolant radiators, etc. Today’s manufacturers are pretty good at making sure their vehicles can handle temps from -10 F to 110 F. So to answer your question for your particular situation, look at temp first (as read through coolant temp indicator), how long you are at idle(an operating engine “likes” the right level of load not overload or no load), etc. Yes your situation does add stress but it may not be enough to be concerned about as a SEVERE condition compared to towing and full loads (to curb weight), going up loooong inclines, etc.