Oil Change in 1997 Cadillac PDF Print E-mail

Dear Barbara,

You helped me on my 1977 Buick last week. Thanks for that.

My grandson come over today and mentioned he was going to have his car oil changed soon. His question to me was could he go back to regular oil once he had synthetic oil in his car, “only one oil change”. It is a 1997 Cadillac with close to 100,000 on it. What do you think?

Thanks for your help,


Dear Jim,

He can for sure use whatever oil he wants to. There will not be any problem at all if he wants to go back to regular oil after using synthetic for one oil change. If he does go back to regular oil, I would suggest going to something along the lines of Max Life by Valvolin—an oil that is specifically designed for cars with 75k over on the ODO.

Thanks for the great questions!

Fluid Levels for 2008 Sentra PDF Print E-mail

Dear Barbara,

My wife just bought a new 2008 Sentra with the CVT transmission. While she was waiting to pick up her new car, the salesman told her that the fluid level should be adjusted by a Nissan Service Center only. Being 60+ yrs old and having been around cars and trucks most all of life (shade tree), this sounds more like “let’s tell her this and she won’t know any better” type deal to get her to bring her car only to Nissan. I am no mechanic in today’s terms but I’m pretty sure I can check fluid levels and, if needed, add the correct amount. Haven’t had any problems doing this with my 1950 Chevrolet pickup truck or my 1990 Ford F150. The problem is the wife and convincing her that Nissan is not the only one that can check and adjust the fluid level. Please give me your thoughts.

PS: I had a 1958 Buick with one of these CV type of trannies. No problems even for an 18-yr-old who drove a car hard if you get my drift. Keep your columns coming.


Dear Tom,

Oh boy, for the life of me, I will never understand how drivers day in and day out on a regular basis are convinced of taking their car to the dealer for all of the required service.

I would recommend that you do let the dealer check and service this tranny being as the dipsticks on the Nissan models with the CVT tranny require a unique tool in order to release the dipstick. The CVT tranny also requires a special tranny fluid like the NS-2, because if you add the wrong fluid, you are looking at damaging that tranny.

As far as all of the other fluids under the hood, you need to show your wife that you are more than capable of being her manly man and get to replenishing!

Speaking of the resale value on certain luxury cars, I do however always suggest that if you own something like a Beamer that has regular service intervals and a book that gets stamped by the dealer when those services are performed that you do take it to the dealer. Because when it comes time for the owner to sell it, they are going to grab a larger audience and get the total value out of the car if they do show that the book has been stamped by the dealer.

Oh, and I do catch your drift regarding those wild 18-year-old drivers… If I remember correctly, I fit into that category back in the day… wink wink!

Thanks for writing in, I hope that this helps out and I will for sure keep my columns heading at you!

Oil Change in 2001 Ford F150 PDF Print E-mail

Dear Barbara,

I am writing to you from Houston, Texas. I look forward to your article in the Houston Chronicle every Sunday, but I do have a question I hope you can help me with. I am an oil-change nut and every vehicle I own gets the oil changed every 3,000 miles without fail. I just recently picked up a 2001 Ford F150 with the 4.2 liter V-6. The truck currently has 59,000 miles. In my 350Z, I run Mobile 1, which I think is a blend. I have heard that if you run a blend or Synthetic oil in vehicles that have higher mileage, you run the risk of getting oil leaks. The truck doesn't have any oil leaks currently and I would like to keep it that way. Any thoughts which oil would be best.


Don in Houston

Dear Don,

First of all I am flattered that you look forward to my Q and A article in the Houston Chronicles Auto section every Sunday… thanks for reading!

Being an oil-change nut is a good thing not only for your vehicles but for your bank account, and I am impressed that you are religious about it.

Mobil 1 is an excellent choice for a synthetic oil to run in your sports car, jalopy and that F150 you just acquired. I can, however, only speak for the knowledge I have pertaining to synthetic oils and of course my own personal experience. I have been asked this same question many times and I personally have had no leaking after switching over to a synthetic in any of the vehicles that I have chosen to switch over.

I have also been told that there is no factual basis to the myth of synthetic oil causing an oil leak, and you can switch to a good synthetic oil at any age or mileage as long as your engine is in a good mechanical state.

I recommend an initial short (2,000 to 3,000 miles) oil change, both oil and filter to help allow the synthetic oil to clean some of the engine deposits that have built-up over the years. Following this initial short oil change, I always continue with my normal oil change intervals.

I hope my opinion and advice gives you that comfort level you are looking for in order to switch over. I would also give Ford a shout and ask their opinion!

Buick Lacrosse Free Oil Changes PDF Print E-mail

Dear Barbara,

I have a new Buick Lacrosse and I am taking it to the dealer for oil changes and I have 4 free oil changes coming from the dealer. My question is this. They use Mobil Oil and I would like to use Castrol. Would it hurt to wait anther year to start using Castrol or should I do it now. If I use the free changes, they will continue to use Mobil.

I love your new articles. Keep up the good work.


Dear Omar,

Mobil Oil is a great quality oil and it will not hurt a thing to change to Castrol once your free oil services are done by the dealer.

I appreciate the question and obvious concern of this nature and the fact that you take your car's health very seriously.

Thanks for writing in and loving my articles…much appreciated!

1973 Chevy Impala Oil with Zinc PDF Print E-mail

Dear Barbara,

I have a 1973 Chevy Impala with 24,600 miles that I've owned since 1991. I use 10W30 Quaker State but I've heard older cars really need oil with high levels of Zinc, is this true?


Dear James,

It is true. But zinc is no longer available in motor oils. Just change the oil on time and keep that baby polished-up and you should be fine and ready to roll.

Thanks for writing in,

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