Ethanol is a cleaning agent and is harmful to your engine and its components. It will do considerable damage to your lawnmower, snowblower and any small engine. We are forced to use it in our vehicles and in 10% by volume it will not do a lot of harm. The problem comes when that is increased and I don’t think todays fuels are closely regulated and many times we buy a higher percentage.

The clean fuel program is pushing for a 15% and I feel that is too high and will cause harm. Time will tell how it all works out with the new administration. If you must use ethanol blended fuels in a small engine I recommend the addition of Sea Foam in the fuel.

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Emergency kits

If you received a road side emergency kit for Xmas here are a few facts. Most are a great help during a roadside emergency, the expensive are of course a bigger help, but anything is better than nothing.

I don’t see road side flares as a good idea, you store them in a warm trunk for who knows how long and will they work and if they do for how long.

The booster cables in many kits are worthless they are of such small gauge wire there is no power left when it gets to the battery. A good set is expensive but worth it when you need them, they should be a minimum of 16 – 18 feet long and heavy enough to supply power.

Duct tape or I prefer gorilla tape is a must for any kit as are a few basic tools and a first aid kit. There are several list on line and also kits are available but I would make up my own to your own set of skills and needs in an emergency.

Here again buy what you can afford, I know it is tough to spend money just to have it sit in storage until needed but trust me you will be glad you did when you need the kit.

Road side kits and emergency survival kits are a separate kit and the needs are different but in conjunction with each other they can be a life saver. A post later on home evacuation kits.


Codes and More Codes

Remember the good old days when you adjusted the carb or the vacuum break on the choke maybe bumped the timing up a toush. Now everything is electronic so you hook up a scanner or count light flashes to get a trouble code maybe use a lab scope to check burn time or KV of a plug wire if it has one or check a coil one for each cylinder.

I do think today’s engines run better with electronic controls. But getting a code is only the first step in repairing a problem. Code shows a bad MAP sensor so all you have to is replace the MAP sensor. WRONG it may be a leaking or plugged vacuum hose or a poor connection. When the counter guy says you need a MAP sensor to cure your problem remember it is his job to sell parts not to fix your problem.

Always use a trouble shooting tree to locate a problem and don’t skip a step because you kow it is OK or that never causes a problem. I have heard many a story from help lines that when they go there check list they find a skip was missed and that is the problem.


Highway VS Intown Miles

We have all seen the car for sale add “all highway miles” if this were always true the highways would be packed 24-7. True highway miles put less of a strain on a vehicle but I think it is the transmission that benefits the most. No shifting in and out of gear as in town and with lockup it is even less. In prior years it could be said that the even speed causes less engine wear and that is true but with 4 lane highways and greatly increased traffic there is an increase in changes of speed putting additional stress on the engine. However it is true that extended trips do put less strain on a vehicle.

Engines are designed to cruise at around 50 to 75. With the smaller engines this decreases some and remember don’t overdrive. All vehicles have an ideal cruising range some of the smaller engines this may be in the 60 MPH others may be higher.

One item that highway driving helps to decrease wear and tear is the brakes however a few panic stops from 70 MPH can decrease this in a hurry and also warp your brake rotors.

Rookie Winner At Michigan

For some time now I have been saying one of these young guns is going to win a race. Kyle Larson won at Michigan today and right behind him was Chase Elliott, Ryan Blaney was third, loved to watch his dad David race the AMOCO outlaw car. I don’t think this will be the last win for a rookie this year as Chase Elliott, love that name, was second and except for a bad restart would have won, his second missed win this year. Austin Dillon finished 16 even with grandpa’s help I doubt if he will pull off a win this year.

Oils Which To Use

If you want to start a long discussion ask about what type of oil auto technicians prefer. The only thing that would bring up more discourse would be blond, brunette or redhead.

Every mechanic, technician or grease monkey, wonder how that name came to be, everyone will have a different preferred oil.

There are many different ones on the market, synthetic, semi synthetic and plain old oil. Also weights SAE 0-40, 10-40, 10-30 5-30 and of course straight grades 10 to 60. Many manufactures also have their own oil GM has a synthetic they almost demand using.

Years ago I worked on NP railroad trucks and cars and they used 10 weight year round and got mileage into the 100K out of their engines, now days 200K is not unusual.

Most techs would say to stay away from semi synthetic oils as they are only a small percentage of synthetic. I think most would choose synthetic, of course the brands would vary with the edge going to Mobil 1.I am sure most GM Techs would choose their new oil and they are correct. However sticking with the same oil is also important if you have a vehicle with some miles do not switch to synthetic as it could cause problems such as leaks and oil consumption.

The weight is usually determined by the vehicle manufactures recommendations. Many use 5-30 so the upper cylinder gets adequate lubrication.

Extended mileage is also a good choice for high mileage engine, I use this in my sunbird with 136K, I use Mobil in my LeBaron and Mobil 1 in my other 2 cars 5-30 in the Pontiac and 5-30 in the winter and 10-30 in the summer in my Dodge pickup. If I had a new GM I would use their new oil also I have considered switching from Mobil 1 as they have apparently changed there formula, but I don’t what I would switch to.mobil 1

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