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Service intervals

Question : I AM a retired person and do not travel extensively.

As such, I only covered about 2,000km in six months.

However, I do service my car and change engine oil every six months.

Is this wasteful? Maybe I should service my car every year instead of doing so after having covered 4,000km.

Do engine oils deteriorate over time ? What should be the service interval in terms of kilometres travelled or number of months if mileage is low.

Also, I have been told that I only need to service the air-conditioner when the air released is not cold.

Others have told me to service it every 18 months. Which is correct ?

Of course, it has to be repaired whenever it malfunctions but I am talking of normal operation.

Answer : The most important thing about any mechanical equipment is to keep it running.

While there is wear and tear while running, this wear is very small and inexpensive compared with the damage when the equipment is left idle for long periods of time.

As an example, in our climate there is always condensation in the engine oil pan and over time, water droplets form a sludge and sludge is not a lubricant.

When the engine is running, water vapour is one of the by-products that combines with the by-products of combustion to form acids but if the engine is sufficiently warmed up, these corrosive substances will be blown out of the exhaust.

However, if the engine does not get an opportunity to really warm up, these acids will contaminate the lubricating oil and ultimately cause corrosion in the main and con-rod bearings.

In short, you can change your oil every 12 months provided you run the engine regularly.

You should take the car out for a long run at least once a week so that the engine temperature gets up to normal operating range and all the moving parts get an opportunity to get a run.

Air conditioning systems also do not like to be stationary simply because the refrigerant is at high pressure and if the compressor is not moving, the shaft seals may dry sufficiently to cause the refrigerant to leak out.

Generally speaking, if the car is regularly used, one should service the air conditioning system once a year.


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