Q. I have 225,000 miles on my 2010 Toyota Camry. It recently started using oil but there is no leakage or smoke coming from it. What could be the problem? Is this the engine?
A. When an engine uses oil it either leaks/leaks or burns as part of the combustion process. Most likely the engine is burning oil during hard acceleration or deceleration. In both cases, you wouldn’t see it unless you were in a car chase. Considering the age and mileage of the car, the best and most economical option is to add oil as needed.
NS. Can you give your safest advice on when to change the oil and filter on my 2019 Impreza. Currently, we’re changing the oil every 3,000 miles, but looks like it might last a little longer as this is the first full synthetic oil car I’ve had since new. I don’t mind replacing it every 3,000 miles, which is cheaper than fixing an engine problem. I just wanted to get the idea as I get different answers from multiple sources.
a. Whenever in doubt, go to the manufacturer, which recommends an oil change every 6,000 miles for your car. Now, of course, with these long oil changes, it is important to check oil and other vital fluids between services.
Q. My car’s coolant and transmission fluid started mixing, filling my transmission with curd-like substance. I believe the head gasket is blown. What is the best solution for this?
a. If it was a head gasket there would be coolant in the oil and oil in the radiator. In the case of your car, there is oil in the coolant and coolant in the transmission fluid, which indicates that the transmission oil cooler has failed. The transmission cooler is part of the radiator. Depending on how long the fluids have been mixed together, the transmission may need an overhaul and
Completely flushed cooling system, plus replacement of hoses and thermostat.
Question. I have a 2020 Kia Soul which I bought new last year (2020). Besides the miss on them (I have a 2.0L motor), I have a question about the auto-stop. If I’m driving in somewhat heavier traffic than usual, is it okay for the engine to stall and start a lot in stop-and-go traffic? I usually hit the bypass switch in heavy traffic, and then release it in normal traffic. My wife (who is suddenly a master mechanic) says to leave it alone. What is your recommendation?
a. Depending on how these systems work, some use a belt driven system to restart the engine, starting with a hybrid electric motor and others like your Kia using a starter. Although the battery and starter are strong enough, frequent restarts lead to additional wear and tear. In heavy stop-and-go traffic, I would bypass the system as well. My thoughts are that the low fuel savings doesn’t offset the extra wear on the starter components. Feel free to take my advice, but then again, I don’t need to be with your wife. Maybe let the system work as designed when you’re together and bypass the system when you’re alone.
NS. Hi, I have a Chevy Colorado ZR2 model and have 80,000 miles on it. When it covered 56,000 miles it started shivering. Now it has become more common. It happens when you accelerate and cruise but as soon as you release the throttle and push the throttle in it will pop out. I have replaced fuel pump, mass air flow sensor and spark plugs. A friend of mine told me I needed to flush my transmission and that was my problem. Do you think it could be the same, or do you think of something else?
a. From your description it sounds like the transmission fluid is breaking down, causing the torque converter to vibrate. I would replace the transmission fluid and filter and add a friction modifier to the fluid. It has certainly worked on this model in the past.
Question. I have a 2019 Toyota Tacoma and it uses synthetic oil. I would like to switch to regular motor oil, something like Formula Shell 5w-20. I always change regular motor oil every 3,000 miles including the filter. what would you recommend?
A. There are two issues, Toyota recommends 0W-20 oil and API SN “resource-conserving” or ILSAC multigrade engine oil. Based on this recommendation I would use synthetic oil at 0W-20 weight and change it once every 10,000 miles or so. Of course, you need to check all fluids from time to time.
Question. I recently bought a 2021 Honda HR-V and I cannot find a comprehensive repair and maintenance manual. Do you have any suggestion? I would preferably want to get a hard copy but will also take a download. Not looking for online subscriptions but one-time purchases.
A. Even dealer technicians no longer have paper repair manuals and go online at Honda’s technician site. As good as third party electronic databases (AllData is the DIY one), it takes years or so to get up to date on the latest vehicle. The passage of the Right to Repair laws would give you paid access to Honda repair information, but it’s thousands of pages and downloading it would be next to impossible.
Reader Comment: Moderator Art Greenberg at www.fordfusionforum.com wanted to point out that the 1.5-liter engine in the Ford Fusion has a TSB for coolant leaks, and the repair is the replacement of the engine block. Unfortunately, Ford is only covering this repair under warranty at this time.