“I checked my oil the other day and it seemed fine. I don’t know HOW it could’ve gotten so low.”
Sometimes, your customers are telling you the truth and there IS a mysterious oil leak that suddenly occurs for no good reason, causing engine damage. More likely? It’s something they just didn’t pay attention to.
And with variable valve timing found in more and more engines, the cost of not paying attention is higher than ever.
Lack of regular maintenance is often the leading contributing factor in the failures of most of these systems. Unlike vehicles from yesterday where certain maintenance issues could be neglected, newer engines and newer systems require careful attention. Stressing this point to your customers and performing the required basic maintenance according to the manufacturer’s schedule will safeguard their vehicle, increase your effectiveness and keep your customers much happier.
Not all variable valve timing – or VVT – is operated at normal driving condition RPMs. For example, the Honda VTEC system doesn’t operate below 4,500 rpm. So, if the car you’re working on is rarely out on the highway and the customer hasn’t maintained the oil, there is a potential problem waiting to happen when the car is revved up above 4,500 rpm on its next highway trip.
Remind your customers to follow the viscosity recommendations for their particular vehicle – too heavy an oil is usually not good because many of these engines have tighter bearing clearances that require a lower-viscosity oil for proper lubrication. In some applications, such as the Toyota Prius, using the wrong viscosity oil (one that’s too heavy for example) may set a fault code. On others, an oil that is too heavy may interfere with the normal operation of the VVT system, causing additional fault codes to set.