The Right Oil for the Season (Engine Oil Viscosity)

As the temperatures plunge, certain types of engine oil may not flow as easily as they did when it was warmer.  Makes sense, doesn’t it? Just like molasses gets thicker as the temperature goes down, engine oil does the same thing. So, maybe you’re wondering if you have to change your oil as the seasons change so it’s just the right thickness to lubricate your engine parts. 

How well engine oil flows is called its viscosity. There are different types of oil—some that have just one viscosity and others called “multigrade” oils.  Here’s the difference.

A single viscosity oil will flow better when it’s hot but not as well when it’s cold.  A multigrade oil is engineered so that its flow properties at cold temperatures are different than they are at warm temperatures.  In other words, a multigrade oil can start out in colder temperatures acting like a thinner oil and then behave like a thicker oil when it’s warm.  That’s a pretty cool trick and it’s why multigrade engine oil is used in nearly all vehicles.  Your vehicle’s manufacturer has the correct viscosity of oil for your particular model included in the owner’s manual.

Another choice you have to make when it comes to engine oil is whether you use conventional oil, synthetic oil or a blend of the two.  Synthetic oils have some advantages over conventional, such as resisting breakdown better and withstanding higher temperatures.

Check with your service advisor to see which viscosity and type of oil is recommended for your vehicle.  It’s important that in cold weather, the oil flows through your engine at the right thickness so that parts are being properly lubricated.  That will make sure you’ll get good fuel economy and performance, no matter what the temperature is.

Autotronics of St. Peter
111 Jefferson Avenue
St. Peter, MN 56082
507.934.9290
http://autotronicsstpeter.com

Positive Crankcase Ventilation ? PCV Valve Service at Autotronics of St. Peter

Hello St. Peter! Did you know that the first federally-mandated emissions control device was introduced in the 1960’s? The Positive Crankcase Ventilation valve, or PCV valve, has been installed in MN vehicles since 1964 and represents the first legislation by the United States government to regulate harmful emissions as well as to improve performance in the country’s vehicles.

The PCV valve, as you can probably guess, is located on the crankcase. The crankcase is the lowest part of a vehicle’s engine. It houses the crankshaft and the engine oil. The crankshaft connects to the pistons that power the engine.

Pistons are pushed down when fuel is burned in an engine. This causes the crankshaft to rotate, which sends power to the transmission.  It ultimately turns the axles and causes the vehicle to move. Some of the gases released by the burning fuel squeeze around the pistons and down into the crankcase.

If the escaped gases mix with the engine oil in the crankcase, oil sludge develops. This sludge has the consistency of petroleum jelly and can cause damage by clogging up passageways in the engine. Further, escaped gases can build up pressure inside the crankcase that can blow out seals and gaskets.

Before 1964, a hose was attached to the crankcase that vented escaped gases out into the air. These gases contained about 70% unburned fuel as well as harmful emissions. The PCV valve was designed to curb these harmful emissions as well as recapture unburned fuel.

The PCV valve is a small, one-way valve that allows escaped gases to exit the crankcase. The gases are then routed into the intake system so they can be re-burned in the engine. Fresh air enters the crankcase through a breather tube to facilitate this circulation and keep the air in the crankcase clean.

The PCV valve, like most working parts on a vehicle, will wear out over time. Usually it simply gets gummed up. Preventive maintenance, including routine oil changes at Autotronics of St. Peter in St. Peter, will extend the life of the valve, but eventually it will have to be replaced. A sticking PCV valve won’t allow gases to circulate properly, which can increase pressure in the crankcase. Over time, that pressure will lead to oil leaks.

Your vehicle manufacturer recommends that a PCV valve be replaced every 20,000 to 50,000 miles (32,000 to 80,000 kilometers), depending on the vehicle and St. Peter driving conditions. It’s an inexpensive repair but may not be included in the maintenance schedule in your owner’s manual.  So if you’re looking for auto advice about the PCV valve, you may have to ask our pros at Autotronics of St. Peter.

Taking care of our PCV valve protects the environment in MN and improves vehicle performance. It’s just part of good vehicle care for St. Peter drivers and a way all of us can do our part to improve the world we live in.

Autotronics of St. Peter
111 Jefferson Avenue
St. Peter, MN 56082
507.934.9290
http://autotronicsstpeter.com

Differential Service in St. Peter, MN – What You Need to Know

Scratching your head? Don’t worry, if you don’t know what a differential is – you will in a moment. That fact is that if you drive a car anywhere in St. Peter, MN, you have a differential. Whether your vehicle is front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, you have a differential. Some St. Peter vehicles might even have two or three.

Not surprisingly, a differential’s job is to compensate for differences; specifically, they’re the differences in wheel speed when turning. For instance, imagine taking a corner near your St. Peter, MN, home. Your inside wheel has a shorter distance to travel than the outside wheel as you turn the corner. That means that your outside wheel has to turn faster to keep pace with the inside wheel.

The differential allows the wheels to turn at different speeds while still providing power to your vehicle. Without a differential, St. Peter residents’ tires would scrub and hop along the pavement during turns like the early cars.

Ever noticed the big bulge in the middle of the rear axle on trucks? That’s the differential. Rear-wheel drive vehicles have a differential in back. Most four-wheel drive trucks and SUVs will also have a similar differential on the front axle. A front-wheel drive vehicle’s differential is called a transaxle because it combines the differential and transmission in one unit. An all-wheel drive vehicle will have a differential or transfer case that adjusts for speed differences between the front and rear drive wheels.

It can seem a little complex to some St. Peter drivers – but you can see that all of the engine’s power is routed through your differentials. They’re strong enough to handle the work, but- we’ve said it before – they need to be properly lubricated in order to stay strong. So from time to time, you need to schedule a differential service in St. Peter at Autotronics of St. Peter. The used fluid is drained and replaced with clean fluid. Some advise certain differentials to have special additives installed.

Get your differential serviced at Autotronics of St. Peter in St. Peter.

Autotronics of St. Peter
111 Jefferson Avenue
St. Peter, MN 56082
507.934.9290
http://autotronicsstpeter.com