What is Viscosity?

Understanding Motor Oil

You get it that there are different kinds of motor oil–conventional, full synthetic, synthetic blend, and high mileage. But then there are various viscosities. What is that? What should you choose? Visit Jeff’s Auto Repair on Sandpoint Way, Seattle, Washington, for expert advice from our ASE certified technicians. We can help you select what’s best for your car or truck based on climate conditions, your driving habits, the age of your car, and the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Understanding Viscosity

When you pour motor oil, it acts differently according to its viscosity, the measure of how well oil pours at a certain temperature. Thinner oil has a lower viscosity, and it pours more easily in cold temperatures than does higher viscosity, thicker oil. Which is better? It depends on the conditions and uses. Lower viscosity engine oil works well to reduce friction between engine parts. It also acts a bit quicker when your car starts in cold weather. Higher viscosity oil, on the other hand, is good at creating and maintaining a sufficient film over engine parts. Also, the thicker oil is more effective at sustaining oil pressure when hauling heavy loads. To understand what you’re buying, look for the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) scale. The initial digit (in front of the “W”) is the viscosity. It indicates how well the oil pours at certain degrees of temperature. Lower numbers thicken less in cold weather. The “W” stands for winter. The two numbers after the “W” give the viscosity at 100 degrees Celsius, showing you how well the oil resists thinning when exposed to heat. Oils with lower numbers thin out quicker than do higher-numbered oils.

Thinking About Viscosity

As you think about the viscosity of engine oil you want to buy, check the manufacturer’s recommendation as listed in your owner’s manual. Also, think about the driving conditions where you live. If most of your driving occurs in cold temperatures, a lower winter viscosity motor oil might be an appropriate choice for you. Conversely, you may select a higher viscosity oil if most of your travels are in hotter conditions. Our expert staff at the Sandpoint Way location of Jeff’s Auto Repair in Seattle, Washington, can assist you with the best choice of motor oil for your vehicle as well as all your car service and repair needs.

Motor Oil Can’t Be Broken, Can It?

No, your motor oil isn’t a part that can break, but it can break down. One of the most important things you can do to extend the life of your car and to minimize expensive repairs is to change the oil regularly. Whether you use conventional, full synthetic, synthetic blend, or high mileage engine oil, you need to ensure that your vehicle is routinely given new lubricant.

Therefore, it is wise to bring your car or truck to the ASE certified technicians at Jeff’s Auto Repair in Lynnwood, Washington. We can assist you with all your maintenance and service needs for any make or model vehicle.

What Happens to Oil Over Time

Wine connoisseurs assure us that a great bottle gets better with time, but car enthusiasts know that it is just the opposite of motor oil. The purpose of engine lubricant is to coat the moving metal parts to prevent bare metal from rubbing against bare metal, absorb some of the heat produced from friction, and collect dirt and debris to prevent it from corroding parts. As oil is aged not only by time but also by mileage and engine heat, it gradually loses its properties, rendering it less and less effective until it is nearly worthless and can actually cause issues of its own. This allows metal shavings from improperly lubricated parts to flake off into the oil and circulate through the engine, potentially causing damage. Also, internal parts of the engine can overheat, potentially causing warping. Finally, the lubricant can no longer gather the unwanted particles and keep them away from the engine parts, allowing corrosion to occur because the oil’s additives have also lost their effectiveness. The nasty, ineffective oil eventually becomes a dark gel known as sludge that further contaminates the engine and can cause the engine to seize. Although synthetic or blends last longer, all types of lubricants must be changed eventually.

Change Your Oil, Change Your Car’s Fate

Lack of proper lubrication is one of the top three causes of catastrophic engine failure. Your decision to change or not change your oil on a regular basis can actually determine your car’s fate. Simply stated, oil breakdown will cause a car breakdown. In many vehicles today, you will actually receive an alert in your dashboard panel when it is time for an oil change. Will your vehicle last a long time, or will it die an early death, costing you thousands of dollars for an engine replacement or new car purchase?

Trust The Professionals

To ensure that you have a sufficient amount of clean oil and a fresh filter, bring your vehicle to Jeff’s Auto Repair in Lynnwood, Washington. Our experts can provide you with the preventive services that will keep your investment running well for as long as possible.

Oil Change–for your car’s health and yours–During the COVID-19 Crisis

As the world watches the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic through multiple countries, we are all certainly keenly aware of the virus and its implications here in King County. Since the first case of Coronavirus in the United States was here in Washington, we became vigilant early on and remain so. While the ASE certified technicians and the entire staff at Jeff’s Auto Repair in Renton, Washington, is taking every available precaution to keep customers, employees, families, and community safe, we also recognize that our services are essential to maintaining your ability to drive to important places such as grocery stores, medical providers, and necessary jobs in hospitals, fire departments, etc. Therefore, put your health first, but don’t forget about your car’s vitality. You still need to change the oil.

Your Car’s Health

You already know that it’s important to have your vehicle’s oil changed on a regular basis. However, it is even more important now for two reasons. First, you want to be sure that any routine maintenance services needed to keep your car in good working order have been performed. Few things would be worse than needing to get to a medical care provider should you fall ill and having an unreliable ride that may or may not get you there. Second, until the economy improves, many of us will be driving the same car awhile instead of purchasing a new one. Scheduled oil changes are one strategy for extending the life of your car or truck. As oil ages, it breaks down and stops adequately lubricating your engine parts (causing unnecessary wear), fails to absorb and remove heat from the engine to the extent it once did, and stops capturing damaging dirt particles, keeping them away from metal where they cause corrosion.

Your Own Health

During these cautionary times, Jeff’s Auto Repair in Renton, Washington, is committed not only to taking care of your vehicle but also to protecting you. Our entire staff is operating under the community health guidelines published by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as well as those set forth by King County. As we service and repair cars, our employees are keeping shop surfaces sanitized. Also, our technicians are using gloves in much the same manner as medical professionals. We use clean gloves for each vehicle and then dispose of them. Further, we are disinfecting your vehicle’s high-touch areas (door handles, steering wheel, etc.) both before and after service. Although we love seeing you, we have also established a protocol for servicing your car without you ever having to speak with us face-to-face. Estimates, invoices, and payments can be handled by distance (email, text, and telephone), and you can drop off your car and keys outside at any hour of the day (24/7). As you can see, your safety is our priority. You don’t have to forgo the oil change even in unusual circumstances.

How Oil Filters Work

Fluid Filters: Explained

When you get an oil change, the oil filter must also be replaced. That’s because it’s responsible for catching and trapping the contaminants that the oil collects over time. It’s normal for fluid to get dirty. That means it’s doing its job, and for the oil filter to do its job, it can’t be clogged. At Jeff’s Auto Repair in Seattle, Washington, we use the right oil filter for your vehicle to ensure you get the most from your new fluid until your next service. Here’s more information on how that filter works inside your car.

What It Does

The filter has two important roles: it filters contaminants and keeps oil in the right place. The engine can’t perform well without clean motor oil, which means it can’t succeed unless the oil filter is doing its job. The filter is the silent hero of your car’s powerful, consistent performance!

The Kidneys of Your Vehicle

If the engine is the heart of your vehicle and the oil is the lifeblood, then the oil filter is like the kidneys. It filters waste and removes it to keep the whole system healthy. With the use of the filter, clean oil can flow better and support a healthy engine. Without it, junk would accumulate in the fluid and build-up on engine parts, leading to performance and longevity problems.

Sending Oil Where It’s Needed

In addition to filtration, the oil filter is also a director. It keeps oil in the places it’s needed at the right time. For example, the valves shut to prevent oil from seeping when the car is not running. During cold months when fluid thickens, the relief valve opens to discharge unfiltered oil into the engine, giving it a much-needed boost until it warms up. These are just a few ways the filter is used to control where oil goes in the engine!

Replace it Regularly

After driving a few thousand miles, your filter has likely done all that it can to keep the fluid clean and the engine healthy. The oil has likely circulated through it around 12,000 times! At that point, it will need to be replaced. Visit the experts at Jeff’s Auto Repair in Seattle, Washington, for your fluid service. We’ll replace the oil and filter with the recommended ones for your vehicle.

Oil Viscosity Explained

What You Need to Know

If you have ever tried to purchase motor oil, you know that there are many kinds to choose from. Not just any motor oil off the shelf will be the right one for your vehicle! You need one with the right viscosity — one that’s not too thick to flow through the engine effectively! Viscosity can be difficult to understand, with all the different numbers and letters used to provide information. That’s why Jeff’s Auto Repair in Seattle, Washington is taking a moment to explain viscosity and how it’s labeled. This summary can help you make the right selection for your vehicle!

Resistance to Flow

Viscosity refers to a fluid’s resistance to flow. A thick oil (think thick like syrup) has a high resistance to flow and a high viscosity. Something with low viscosity, like water, flows quickly and easily.

Multiple Grades

Most oils have a range of viscosity grades, which is where some vehicle owners can get easily confused. There won’t be just one number on the bottle to tell you what you need to know. The reason for this is because viscosity can change at different temperatures.

You want to make sure the oil you put into your car will stay within an appropriate viscosity range at extreme high and low temperatures. This means that where you live, and how cold or hot it gets there, has an impact on the kind of oil you get!

Viscosity grades use a number followed by a “W” for winter to indicate the oil’s rating at low temperatures. The lower this number is, the better it will flow in cold temperatures, where oil is known to thicken up. The next number indicates the viscosity at high temperatures, where oil is known to thin out.

Selection

These numbers can help you find an oil that won’t thin out in the heat or thicken up the extreme cold, which means your engine will be protected through all weather conditions! Work with your local auto repair experts to find the right choice for your specific vehicle. Jeff’s Auto Repair in Seattle, Washington takes manufacturer recommendations into account to find appropriate motor oils for all vehicles that visit our shop.

Should You Change Dirty Motor Oil?

Why Oil Gets Dirty

The Benefits of Oil

If you want to keep your car healthy, you know to keep an eye on the motor oil and change it routinely. That’s because clean oil is the key to a healthy, well-performing engine. It lubricates parts to prevent excessive wear and overheating. It also collects any contaminants to prevent them from building up on parts and slowing down performance. The benefits of motor oil only lasts as long as it does, which isn’t forever. Eventually, it breaks down and needs to be replaced to keep the engine protected. So when does it need to be replaced?

Checking Oil Quality

Some vehicle owners use a dipstick to check the quality of the motor oil regularly. If they see that it has changed colors or collected lots of dirt, they think it’s time to change it. While this might be true for some cars, it isn’t true in all cases. If you inspect your oil regularly to see if it’s dirty, don’t jump too quickly to changing it. You might not be getting the most for your money if you change it too soon!

Dirty Oil Is Doing Its Job

If oil is dirty, that means it’s doing its job, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it can’t continue to perform its functions in the engine. Whatever contaminants were in the engine are now being suspended in the oil, as designed. Unless it has been months or thousands of miles since your last oil change, you don’t always need to replace it just because it’s dirty. Let the oil do its job and get the most from the money you spent on it!

Metal Flakes

You should replace motor oil that has visible metal flakes in it. This means that something in the engine is damaged and falling apart, which could lead to a serious breakdown. It could be a cylinder, camshaft, crankshaft, valve, or any other component. You’ll need an expert to come in and inspect the system or you put your vehicle at risk of a complete engine failure.

Contact the Experts

Dirty oil doesn’t mean it’s done doing its job. But if you see metal flakes in your oil, that’s when you need to call in the experts! Jeff’s Auto Repair in Renton, Washington can help you with all of your vehicle’s fluid service needs.

Should I Change My Oil?

FAQ

At Jeff’s Auto Repair in Lynnwood, Washington, we get a lot of questions from our customers about when they should change their car’s oil. We decided to answer the most frequently asked questions in one post, so you have an easy resource to turn to when you have questions about your oil change schedule. If you have a question that’s not answered here, feel free to reach out to our team. We are always happy to help!

Should I Change My Oil Before a Road Trip?

We like to hear that drivers are considering their car’s health before heading out on the road for a long trip. It’s a good idea to handle any services your vehicle might need ahead of time so you don’t get stuck with vehicle problems along the way. However, it’s not always necessary to change the motor oil before road trips. If you visit our shop for routine oil changes, you should have a sticker on your windshield that indicates an estimated time frame and mileage for your next service. If you anticipate passing this mileage marker on your journey, you can get the oil change done ahead of time. If not, you’re good to go and can get the service when you return.

Should I Change the Oil When It’s Dirty?

We often tell drivers about the dangers of dirty oil and encourage them to inspect it regularly to ensure they don’t go too long without an oil change. This can lead some vehicle owners to panic when they see their oil has changed colors or has particles floating in it, but you shouldn’t worry! This just means that the oil is doing its job. It’s designed to collect dirt and hold particles in suspension, keeping them from building up on engine parts. The time for concern is if you notice large metal flakes in the oil. That could indicate a major problem!

Should I Use Synthetic Motor Oil?

You may have learned about the benefits of different kinds of motor oil and want to make sure that you’re giving your car the best of the best. However, it’s not always necessary to use premium full-synthetic motor oil in all vehicles. It’s good practice to follow the manufacturers recommendations for the type of motor oil you use, and its viscosity levels in different climates. If you have questions about what product is right for your vehicle, ask one of our experts! We work with all kinds of vehicles and will be able to tell you what’s best for your new or aging car.

If you have more questions about oil changes or any other services, contact Jeff’s Auto Repair in Lynnwood, Washington!

Mercedes A-Service & B-Service

Mercedes-Benz’s Repair & Maintenance

Flexible Service System

From the European import repair experts at Jeff’s Auto Repair in Bellevue, Washington, congratulations on your new Mercedes-Benz! Whether you’ve purchased a new or used Mercedes, you probably want to know everything you need to do to care for it. When does it need fluid replacement, brake repair, or tune-ups? Lucky for you, your vehicle’s manufacturer has outlined all the repair and maintenance details you need to know and programmed them into your car’s computer. The Flexible Service System onboard your vehicle will determine exactly when your specific car needs its next repair. And to keep things organized and easy to understand, Mercedes organizes routine services into two categories: A-Service & B-Service.

A-Service

The first round of repairs for Mercedes vehicles (models year 2009 and newer) is classified as A-Service. It is recommended after the first 10,000 miles or 1-year of driving. After that point, it is recommended at routine intervals of 20,000 miles or every 2 years.

When you visit an approved Mercedes repair specialist for A-Service, they will perform the following services:

B-Service

The next category of repairs for vehicles model year 2009 and newer is B-Service. It is recommended first at 20,000 miles (or about 1 year from the previous service) and every 20,000 miles after (about every 2 years).

Mercedes-Benz B-Service includes the following services:

The key difference between A & B Service is more the added tune-up items, including the filter replacements and brake fluid exchange.

Your Mercedes Repair Provider

Is your vehicle due for its next routine service? Or do you need repairs in between to protect performance? Jeff’s Auto Repair in Bellevue, Washington is your trusted resource for Mercedes repairs!

Oil Change Cost

Do You Get What You Paid For?

Oil changes are an essential maintenance item for all vehicle owners. No matter what you drive or where you go, your car will need fluid service to protect the engine and keep it running well for as long as possible. But because this is one of the services you pay for the most, it’s easy to see how the cost adds up. Some drivers try to go longer between oil changes to save money, but this could put their vehicle at risk of damage — damage that will require repair and costlier service. Oil changes are called preventative maintenance because they protect the car from more costly repairs, but only when performed on a routine schedule. At Jeff’s Auto Repair in Windermere, Washington, we understand that drivers want to maximize both their maintenance budget and vehicle’s health. They want to know what’s worth paying for and what isn’t, so we are breaking down the costs of oil change services.

Synthetic Oil

Price is perhaps most noticeable to those who have to fill their cars with full-synthetic oil — the most expensive of all kinds of motor oil. It’s easy to wonder why this type costs so much, and whether or not it’s really necessary. If your vehicle requires synthetic oil, you can’t downgrade or you’ll risk serious damage and degradation to your vehicle’s health and performance. But you aren’t paying for nothing. Synthetic oil contains helpful additives that are proven to help engines run longer and perform better. You should see savings on auto repairs and get more out of your vehicle thanks to this type of oil. Synthetic oil may not need to be changed as often as conventional, which can even out the higher costs over time.

Conventional Oil

If your car runs on synthetic oil, you might be tempted to switch to a more budget-friendly conventional type. But this can be extremely damaging to your vehicle. Conventional oil is affordable for a reason. It doesn’t contain as many additives that condition the engine or protect it from damage. It may not perform as well in certain vehicles, putting the engine at risk of overheating or contamination. If your vehicle does run on conventional oil and you feel that the costs are adding up, consider the alternatives. Skipping oil changes forces your engine to work harder. It uses more gas to travel the same distance — which means higher fuel costs. It puts more strain on other components — which means more frequent repairs. The cost of regular oil changes is nothing compared to a failed engine that didn’t last to its full potential.

When to Change Motor Oil

What Affects How Long Oil Lasts

When Should I Change My Oil?

It’s one of the most common questions that we hear at Jeff’s Auto Repair. Drivers in Sandpoint, Washington and across the country want the information they need to take care of their vehicles. The problem is that there is no simple answer. Saying that you should change it when it wears out is oversimplified and doesn’t give an accurate timeline. But essentially, that’s the short of it.

The answer to this question is complicated by many factors. With a variety of different kinds of motor oil, lifespans vary. And with vehicles of all makes, models, and ages on running on all different kinds of motor oil, a single timeframe won’t work for everyone. Saying that you should change your motor oil every 3,000 miles or 3-months may not be the best, optimized schedule for your specific vehicle. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do that. Swapping out the oil that frequently ensures your engine stays clean and protected. The problem comes for drivers of vehicles that require synthetic oil — a much more expensive variation.

But don’t despair in the mess of things. There are a few ways you can find out when is a good time to change your motor oil!

Check Your Owner’s Manual

The easiest way to determine an ideal oil change schedule for your vehicle’s make and model is by checking the manufacturer’s recommendations. Your owner’s manual contains recommended intervals tested by the manufacturers. This information is a great guide for your oil changes, but there are still a few factors it may not take into account.

Follow Onboard Monitoring Systems

Lots of time spent idling in stop-and-go traffic, living in a very cold or hot climate, taking frequent trips, short drives, hauling heavy loads — all of these things can influence the lifespan of engine oil. New vehicles equipped with onboard maintenance counters track data from your individual driving habits to formulate recommendations for oil changes. If your car is equipped with one of these systems, that estimate will be a safe bet for your oil change schedule.

Ask Your Technician

If you visit the same auto shop for your routine oil changes — like Jeff’s Auto Repair in Sandpoint, Washington — your technician can give you an accurate recommendation for an ideal oil change schedule. In fact, more shops place this information on a sticker on your windshield to help you remember when it’s time for another service!