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Believe none of what you hear about cars and half of what you read

December 12, 2012
by Larry DeHays , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Once you're a nonbeliever and a skeptic, you'll be a hard sell, and a real pain to your friends. Of course the trick is to pick the correct half of what you read.

We used to say if it was in the paper it had to be true, then if it was on TV, and now if it's on the Internet. Poor Ben Franklin didn't give us advice on the Internet, but after all, reading is reading, so if you read it on the Internet his advice stands. The reason to ignore everything you hear is because it has been filtered through the speaker's brain with all of his prejudices before he says it. However if he writes it, (as I am doing) it's either a half truth or half of it is wrong. Something like that.

Unless it's from me, then it's the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, God help me. Some of the things you might hear about cars that you can ignore are as follows:

- If your car won't start, you could need a gas filter. Wrong.

- If your car has a miss, you need a gas filter. Wrong.

- If you are getting poor gas mileage, you need a gas filter. Wrong.

- If your car runs poorly it means you got some bad gas. Wrong.

n Any of the above problems means you need your fuel injectors cleaned. Still wrong.

Here's the thinking on this. The only thing that goes wrong with a filter is it becomes restricted with contaminants, and therefore passes less gas than needed. The slower you go, the less gas you need, and the faster you go, the more you need, so the worst problems would show up at the faster speeds. Certainly not a zero speed, like when you are starting the engine. Furthermore, if you starve a gasoline engine of fuel, it will shut off, not just run rough or get poor mileage. It will shut completely off. As for dirty fuel injectors, our shop does about four thousand jobs in a year, and we may find dirty injectors once in that time. Modern gas has lots of detergents blended in.

- You have to stay with the exact type of oil you have been using, or it will harm the engine. Wrong. You can mix together different brands, even different viscosities, and you can mix synthetic oil with mineral oil. If your car is under warranty it's best to stay with the recommended oil type and viscosity or the manufacturer will have an excuse to back out of warranty repairs, but if that isn't a consideration, just stay close to the recommended viscosity. Oil is oil. The main thing is to change it every three thousand to five thousand miles to remove the contaminants that cause the engine wear and tear. Expensive oil gets dirty at the same rate as cheaper oil, and it is the dirt that is the enemy, so don't stretch out oil changes.

On a sad note, I have to tell our regulars that we lost a dear friend last month. Our part time bookkeeper, secretary and receptionist for the past 15 years, Dorothy (Dot) Fontaine, passed away Nov. 18th. She worked only two days a week and she would pay all of our bills, make all of our reports to governments and insurance companies, handle the payroll, be the secretary and receptionist, and still have time to play solitaire on the computer. She was our pit bull guarding our finances, and our sympathetic friend when we needed one. We miss her terribly.

Today's date is 12/12/12. That will happen again in one hundred years. I can't wait.



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