I just spoke to a 25 year mechanic

Messages
13,293
Location
ROCHESTER, NY
I just recently spoke to a 25 year auto mechanic. Just about everything that he mentioned about lubrication was from 26 years ago. He has no clue about what is going on today. He swears by snake oils and 10W40 and how he gets 150,000 miles on his V-8 teerrucks. "Big deal" I said. I get over 300,000+ miles on my 4 cyl engines with 5W30 dino. He swears by products like Lucas Oil Stabalizer, Valvoline All Climate, Slick 50, Fram Oil Filters, IsoPropal Alchohol in every tank of gas,(I thing that he's drinking the stuff), and he claims huge increases in horse power with just a K&N Air Filter. I personaly have nothing against any of these products myself. I've even used some of them in the past(FRAM,K&N), but I couldn't get a word in edgewise with this guy. You had to here him rattle on! So when I was able to speak, I engouraged him to use diesel fuel and kerosene in his gasoline engines. He says "ya know, you just maybe onto something there"!
 
Messages
2,858
Location
DELAWARE
25 years ago, the guy was probably correct. Now that we have FI cars and engines made with tighter tolerances, he has not evolved in his knowledge. Me and my wife deal with old people all the time and the vast majority get stuck in a "time warp" for the good old days have not kept up with technology leap froging there brains to understand. Hootbro
 

JTK

Messages
13,432
Location
Buffalo, NY
You'd think techs would want to keep current on lubes, adds, filters, etc.. but for some reason most don't have a clue on those. I know they are busy trying to make a living, but this is vital stuff!! G/luck Joel
 
quote:
You'd think techs would want to keep current on lubes, adds, filters, etc.. but for some reason most don't have a clue on those.
This is certainly NOT true of all techs, but many of them were not the scholarly type when they were young and just getting into the industry, and they are still not the scholarly type. The brilliant ones, like David Vizard and Moses Ludel, know so much theory that they write books explaining it, and they do empirical testing to see how theory turns out in practice. One of my best friends is a brilliant one, like the two mentioned above, and he approaches his work in a way that would be familiar to a good physician - he understands how and why everything works (as much as the state-of-the-art level of knowledge provides) and when he diagnoses a problem and repairs it, it is a done deal; it's fixed. No come backs. This guy owns his own shop and he strictly controls the way his techs work and the quality of their work. If they're not trainable and willing to stay current in their knowledge, they're gone. Most techs are NOT of this mentality. If you find one that is, then treasure him (or her) and THAT'S where you take your vehicles, even if it is more expensive. Back to oil and techs: the same techs that I described above are the ones that also know about oil. One caveat: you guys have to understand that we at BITOG are FAR more into oils and filters than a mechanic would or could be, unless he's a BITOGer. We have this as an interest and a passion, and even as an obsession, so few people outside of the oil industry either know as much as we collectively do, or care enough to learn it. I hope this post isn't too much all over the place.
 
Messages
115
Location
Tallahassee, FL
I agree with Big O Dave on many points as well. Most of the people that contribute and take advantage of the information on this board are the exception to the rule. _________________ Let me give you another way to look at things though. In my line of work I use powerful vacumn machines, various grades of hosing, solution pumps, etc.. and while I know my job VERY well I know next to nothing about how the hoses are made, the exact internal workings of the solution pump nor do I even have detailed knowledge of the chemicals and solutions I use outside of the legal and licensing requirements and how to properly apply and remove them. I do spend time looking at the latest and greatest however as I'm aware that things do change, but I address that further down. The reality is that I and most working stiffs just don't have time after a 12 hr day to do more work related "hobbies". Frankly, doing 12 hrs then taking something work related home to study that has no direct benefit to my income is not a welcome thought. The important question is: is that mechanic any good even though he's not knowledgable about current lubrication technologies? Is he able to perform the work you required? He could and perhaps should study up on lubrication all he likes, but the truth is unless he plans to market a boutique oil or spend a couple hours every day convincing people to run synthetics for a negligible return in profit then there is little point. He would be better served getting that other vehicle's tune-up job done on time. You can argue that he needs to be on the cutting edge for maximum prosperity or whatever but please remember that even if he'd like to, he can't order 20w-50 Castrol GTX from 1975 regardless of how insistent he may be. Whatever fluids and greases are being used in his work is going to have the same rating and meet the same standards as the stuff lining the shelves of AutoZone. I imagine that most of his customers have little interest in these things anyway and would be better off if they just had the **** car serviced in a timely manner vs. waiting for things to break. EDIT: Added and removed stuff.
 
Well said, Fastride! I agree with you completely... people just don't have time to be experts in every detail... at some point, they just have to take it on faith that their suppliers know what they are doing. Being a brilliant mechanic does NOT mean understanding the metallurgy of all the engine parts, or the composition of the gaskets, or even [Eek!] the details about oil and filters. Having said that, they should understand the basics, like using 5W-20 in appropriate Fords and Hondas, and they shouldn't still be living in the 1970's when it comes to what viscosity to use or the improvements in lubrication quality that have taken place over the years. Of course, there are those here at BITOG who have their own pet theories (Dr. Haas and low-viscosity oil in everything [or close to everything [Big Grin] ]), Gary and MMO, me and TP on zinc for flat tappet cams) but we are THINKING about how oils work and we are experimenting, and we are responsible for those experiments. Techs should know what the OEMs recommend and follow those guidelines, both for liability reasons and (hopefully) to give their customers the best chance of getting long life out of their vehicles. I cringe when I hear of techs that mindlessly put 10W-40 in everything (for example), because it is "better." What they are really doing is causing their customers to unknowingly experiment, and that's not right. Hey! Will someone help me off of my high horse? [Big Grin]
 
Messages
1,432
Location
Virginia
Like that Seinfeld episode...the clothes that a man wears reflect the best decade of his life. Jerry's punchline "But, where do they find all of these NEW old clothes?" In this case, 10W - 40 and all of this other crap go along with his fondest memories...of the great race between engine wear and body rot on his 1970's chevy truck. I say let him have it.
 
Messages
33
Location
Brooklyn, NY
I used to take my car to a mechanic to do an oil change. (a few months after buying my first car, a used 89 Ford Taurus SHO) He asked me if I wanted him to put 20W50 in with a shot of Lucas Oil foamalizer. This was maybe half a year before joining BITOG. Even then, 20W50 just plain seems wrong for a car that calls for 5W30. It was summer time then so I told him to put in 10W30. This mechanic must be like maybe between 30-35 years old. I agree with Big O Dave. Truth is most older and even some new ones, taught by older techs, have the mentality of "its broken replace it", without having a care about how things work, function, or Technological advances. Then there are techs that actually know what cars are. There is a mechanic in my area that has been a mechanic for 35 years. He has a 3rd grade reading level and yet I have held conversations with him that are similar in context to the stuff of BITOG. Not only is he known for having torn apart a chevy big block and putting it back together with a blindfold (not kidding) but he is known for giving sound, car saving advise to everyone in the area. Not all techs are the same. Find a good one and pay them well.
 
Messages
1,508
Location
Colorado
This thread gives me an idea. I think the next time I take my car into a shop - rare but occasional - I'll try to get the mechanic's opinion on engine oils and the like. Since I know a little about oil, I can evaluate his approach to this one topic. I don't expect him to know everything, but if he has the right approach, I think it will come through. - Glenn
 

Kestas

Staff member
Messages
13,959
Location
The Motor City
The right approach is keeping an open mind and realizing when somebody has knowledge that you can use and learn from.... though not always obvious at first.
 
Messages
1,508
Location
Colorado
I think you're absolutely right about that. Just the opposite of the "I'm the expert, so you should listen to me" attitude, which I've gotten a time or two. - Glenn
 

vad

Messages
1,856
Location
So Cal
quote:
Being a brilliant mechanic does NOT mean understanding the metallurgy of all the engine parts, or the composition of the gaskets, or even [Eek!] the details about oil and filters. Having said that, they should understand the basics, like using 5W-20 in appropriate Fords and Hondas, and they shouldn't still be living in the 1970's when it comes to what viscosity to use or the improvements in lubrication quality that have taken place over the years.
As applied to the dealerships, it's not in the tech's interest, or in his service managers interest, to be knowledgeable and know the oil BASICS, since the most dealerships are still pushing the 3K intervals. That's all they need to know. Imagine if the tech is a BITOGer and start giving his customers an advice on the extended OCI. He'll get fired the very next day!
 
Messages
333
Location
Shreveport, LA, USA
I still like the 3k OCI, even if it is overkill. I guess I just like changing oil. When my wife get's out of residency, maybe I'll quit my current job and work at Jiffy Lube. LOL Yeah, I hate to talk oil w/ my father. He chided me the other day for recommending he pick up some sale-priced Castrol for my mother's V-6 accord. "Castrol's just for 4 cyls!" he said. "Don't EVER use it in a six or eight!" He did a backflip when I brought up HDEOs. He's a Quakerstate/Penzoil 10W30 man. This from someone who kept them in business pouring a quart in his 84 Chevette everyday before his hourlong commute. The street in front of our house made the Exxon Valdez look like a trivial matter. But he knows best, right?
 
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36,464
Location
ME
<b>bkrell</b>, I remember those castrol ads from the 1980's: <i>Engineered for today's smaller cars</i>. Decent marketing ("Our oil can take the heat and stress") except your dad read it all backwards and felt excluded.
 
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