Is Your Engine Oil Trying To Tell You Something?

I can not stress enough how important it is to make sure that you get your oil changed regularly and on time. Bad or dirty oil is bad for your engine. Your engine will run a whole lot better with fresh clean oil. Did you know that getting and oil analysis could tell you if you have any maintenance issues? Well it can. has put together this story on how you can get your oil analyzed in your new or used car and find out if it’s trying to tell you something. This is great information!

Analyzing the oil in your car is like sending a sample of your blood to the lab — it reveals an astonishing amount of information about the inner workings of your engine without invasive surgery. By reading the results of the analysis, you can fine-tune the intervals between oil changes and discover problems — such as a leaking head gasket — before they cause more expensive damage.

You might even consider analyzing the oil from a car you are considering buying. Currently this is popular with airplane, boat and heavy equipment buyers, but at least one company may soon offer this as an option for used car shoppers as well.

Test-Driving Oil Analysis
We sent two samples of engine oil to Blackstone Laboratories in Fort Wayne, Indiana, to see what we could learn about a 2000 Mitsubishi Galant with 80,000 miles on its four-cylinder engine. The first sample was oil that had been used for 3,000 miles. The second sample was taken right after an oil change at a Jiffy Lube.

The 3,000-mile oil still had plenty of life left in it, according to the lab results. Blackstone recommended we try increasing the oil change interval to 5,000 miles and send another sample for analysis at that point. Furthermore, the report said the wear metals in the oil were within normal levels, meaning that the engine was not in immediate danger of breaking down. By detecting specific wear metals in the oil, experts can tell which engine parts might be in danger of malfunctioning.

Since the purpose of oil is to lubricate, clean and cool the engine, a TBN (total base number) is used to measure the deterioration of the oil by assigning a number that is usually between 0 and 8. The TBN of the 3,000-mile oil was 3.7. The Jiffy Lube oil was 7.6 indicating it had been barely used.

“Even if the TBN is 1, it doesn’t mean the oil isn’t doing its job,” said Ryan Stark, president of Blackstone Laboratories. “But it does reveal the rate at which the additives are being used up.”

Oil Analysis, a Growing Business
Stark said that his company, which employs six analysts, gets about 20 new customers a day and does between 40,000 and 50,000 reports per year. A single analysis costs $22.50 but discounts are available for multiple analyses. Blackstone can also analyze transmission fluid and other engine fluids to look for possible problems.

Many other laboratories offer engine oil analysis, but Blackstone’s reports are user-friendly, and the turnaround is quick. Within days of our mailing in two 4-ounce samples, the results were e-mailed to us.

“We’ve had customers who were changing their oil every 3,000 miles and now they’ve gone to every 10,000 miles because of our reports,” said Stark. “But we’re conservative. If the oil looks good at 3,000 miles we recommend increasing the frequency by 2,000 miles and taking another look at it.”

A Used-Car Buying Tool?
A Long Beach, California, company that provides pre-purchase inspections for private parties is breaking new ground by planning to offer engine oil analysis to private-party used car buyers.

“With an oil sample test, which essentially is the DNA of a car’s engine and transmission, we can detect any excessive conditions that can lead to serious mechanical problems down the road,” said Alliance Inspection Management Vice President of Sales Eric Widmer.

If the oil sample result meets industry standards, a limited warranty will be offered to the buyer. Edmer said this was the first time an inspection service has used this method to qualify a buyer for a warranty. It would, Edmer points out, provide a level of confidence for used-car buyers shopping for a reliable car.

Stark said that some of Blackstone’s customers have sent samples from cars they were considering buying but it’s far more common practice with buyers of airplanes, boats, motorcycles or even jet skis.

How To Take an Engine Oil Sample
We took the Mitsubishi samples by sliding under the car, unscrewing the oil filter and draining the oil into a glass jar. The jar was sealed securely, wrapped in padding and Fed Exed to Blackstone.

Taking a sample in this manner is messy, and you can burn your hand on the hot oil filter. Instead, you’ll want to use a vacuum pump that takes a sample through the dipstick opening. Such a pump is available from Blackstone or other oil analysis labs.

Oil Analysis for Do-It-Yourselfers
Car owners who enjoy changing their own oil will find oil analysis an inexpensive test and easy to perform as part of engine maintenance. It helps consumers tailor their oil change intervals and experiment with the benefits of different oils such as synthetic blends. Furthermore, some people might try it as a used car shopping tool next time they are looking for a reliable car.

Then again, there is the pure love of knowledge that such a test provides. For a gearhead, that’s an end in itself. “For years and years no one knew when to change the oil, so they went with three months and 3,000 miles,” Stark said. “Now, we can provide a service that’s a good value to people so they really know what’s best for their engine.”

Well do you think this is something that you might like to try on your new or used car? I’d be interested to see what my oil says. It’s probably something along the lines of, “hey there not to bad at all.” You see, I am a maniac about getting my oil changed regularly. 

Need A Car But Have Bad Credit? No Need To Worry!

Just because your credit is less than stellar does not mean that you can’t get a new car. In fact you really shouldn’t worry all that much about it. Russell over at Car Loan Pal explains how bad credit car loans are very prevalent in today’s society. Our economy isn’t at it’s best but there are still things you can do. We know you want a new or used car and trust me you don’t need to be so stressed out about it.  

So you need a car but have bad credit? Don’t worry; bad credit car loans are highly prevalent in today’s world so you are not the only person in this boat as nearly 25% of Americans have issues with their credit. As long as you prepare yourself and follow the right course of action, you should be able to purchase the car you want as well as receive a bad credit car loan.

As I just mentioned, preparation is the key. Your first course of action should be to review your credit history so that you can ensure that there are no errors. There are many free credit websites out there you can use to help you. 

The next important step to obtaining a bad credit car loan is to determine how much you can truly afford to pay for your car. It is absolutely essential that you be honest with yourself about how much you can afford and don’t let your eyes get bigger than your wallet. You should have a number in mind for how much you can afford for both a down payment and monthly payments. 

Now that you have taken care of the preparation, you must be prepared to provide proof of employment and income so that the lender can have all of the information in front of them, which will facilitate your bad credit car loan. The lender may not always ask for these documents but it’s better to be safe than sorry when applying for a bad credit car loan.

Once you have followed the aforementioned steps, you must take extra steps in the future to ensure a clean credit history. You must make it a priority to make on-time payments for your bad credit car loan so that there are no bad marks on your credit history. You will also want to avoid car title loans or any other type of loan for that matter in the event that you need cash. It is much more logical to consider a refinance car loan.

If you still have questions about bad credit car loans, you can find answers and other great information on the blog and through other mediums such as forums and reviews of companies. You can also get a lot of help through loan companies. Although your credit may be a little worse than you would prefer, these companies still want to be able to make loans work since that is how they make money so they will certainly be willing to discuss bad credit car loans with you.

So take a deep breath and don’t worry! You can still get a car. 

When Good Car Names Go Bad!

I should start this by saying I laughed. I am sharing this cause it made me laugh. We are in no way making fun of any other manufacturers or their choices in the names of their vehicles. It’s just that Eric Peters over at National Motorist Association is a funny guy and I thought you might like to laugh too. I must add that the Acura Legend was a cool car Eric…. Ok!  :) 

What do you guys think about the top 10 good car names gone bad? 

1.) Chevy Cavalier This name summons images of gallant horsemen protecting their monarch — though it’s not likely many owners of the obsolescent GM economy car that bore this name ever felt like a king. The Cavalier was the cheese whiz of cheap cars — mass produced and mediocre. It was infamous for perpetually failing head gaskets, a bouncy clown car ride and the lowest shiny grade plastics this side of a Mattel action figure. You didn’t drive one because you wanted to, you drove one because you had to. Someone either gave it to you — or the dealership was giving them away.

And in turn, you got rid of it as soon as you could.

2.) Dodge Mirada Kind of has a nice ring to it — and might have worked out had it not been affixed to one of the final death rattles of Chrysler Corp. before it went bankrupt (the first time) in the early 1980s — and from there to K-Car rehab. The shovel-nosed, fastback 1980-’83 Mirada offered leaky T-tops and rear-wheel-drive when both were going out of fashion — and one of the weakest V-8s ever constructed, a 318 cubic-inch embarrassment belting out a dismal 130 hp. (See also Chrysler Imperial and St. Regis.) If only they’d put a 360 (or better yet, a 440 big block) into this one, it would have escaped this list.

3.) Pontiac T1000 It sounds tough, like the relentless robotic assassin in “The Terminator” movies — but it was just a rouged-up (and marked-up) Chevy Chevette sold under the Pontiac nameplate. GM’s idea was that buyers would actually pay extra for a Chevette with a more masculine name.

The tragedy is, many did.

4.) Porsche 914 Normally, the Porsche name commands respect and admiration. With this one exception. Packing an 80-hp VW-sourced flat-four not much different from what you’d have found in a same year Super Beetle, this car almost singlehandedly ruined Porsche’s reputation. It was mocked as the “Poorsche” by afficionados — and routinely humiliated on the streets by cars costing half as much. Later 914/6 variants were an improvement — but the damage was done.

5.) Pontiac Turbo Trans Am The V-8 versions of the early 1980s (1980-’81), not to be confused with the V-6 turbo Trans-Am that came a few years later.

Built for just two short years, the final iteration of Pontiac’s second-generation (1970-’81) F-car was the ultimate Disco Machine: a completely toothless muscle car wannabee that could barely heave itself through the quarter-mile traps in under 17 seconds despite the wild graphics, air dams and “turbo” decals plastered all over the thing. Like Brando, there was all kinds of potential; it coulda been a contender — but turned out a sloppy punch drunk palooka that embarrassed itself wherever it showed up.

6.) Acura Legend Truly a cruel irony that this otherwise unobjectionable car name was given to perhaps the most blandly styled, forgettable sedan Acura ever made. Solid? Well-built? Great value? Absolutely. But it’s as much a travesty of language to describe this car as “legendary” as it would be to call Ellen Degeneres a “hottie.”

7.) Mercedes-Benz 190E The Focke-Wulf Fw190 was a superb WWII fighter and that association alone might have been sufficient to give any car to bear the same name a decent head start. Too bad Benz decided to go K-mart with it by christening its first downmarket model — replete with weak four-cylinder engine and iffy build quality — with the same once-proud designation. Though later examples got better, the stain on the carpet left by the initial batch of 190s can never be scrubbed away.

8.) Dodge Daytona Turbo Z Just saying it sounds pretty cool (especially if you’re James Earl Jones, who did the voice overs for the commercials). Too bad the car itself — a K-car based, front-drive pretender — was so lacking in the powers of The Force. Even worse was the way this car expropriated and sullied the legacy of the old V-8 Daytonas of the late ’60s. (See also: Chrysler Laser.)

9.) Lincoln Versailles Louis XVI would surely prefer another trip to the chopping block than having to endure the association of his fabulous palace with a pretentious Ford Granada. An example of Detroit badge-engineered, bait-and-switching at its most contemptuous — the Versailles showed the world that people will pay Lincoln money for a Ford with a fake vinyl roof and knock-off wire wheel covers.

10.) Aston Martin Lagonda Another not-bad name forever tainted by the freakish, over-digitized atrocity that bore it. Aston Martin has produced some gorgeous and memorable machinery; but the Lagonda — with its bizarro angular body and cheesy, early Atari-style all-digital interior — isn’t one of them. The electronics were so unreliable that early cars were often literally undriveable — though on the upside, the ugly futuristic shape of the car eventually made it useful as a background prop in low-budget sci-fi flicks like “Robo-Cop” and “Judge Dredd.”

What do you guys think? I hope you laughed!

The 2011 Honda Odyssey! Check it out!

Going on sale this fall the 2011 Honda Odyssey is one minivan force to be reckoned with! Since the Honda Odyssey has been a long time favorite of Car and Driver it’s only fitting that you read their story on the all new 2011 Honda Odyssey cause they are almost as excited as we are about it! When you are ready to see this new Honda with your own eyes make sure you visit your local Cincinnati Honda dealer. 

We first saw the 2011 Odyssey in concept form at this year’s Chicago auto show; as is the case with most Honda concepts, the production version differs little. A grille that’s nothing less than garish on the Accord Crosstour actually looks decent here, and the “lightning-bolt” window line breaks up what would otherwise be a lot of bland sheetmetal.

But styling takes a back seat to utility for minivan buyers. Honda added 1.4 inches of track versus the outgoing model, which it touts as increasing stability and space. Up front, the new Odyssey boasts a “media tray” that slides out from the lower dash to hold cell phones and other electronics. Below the tray sits a “cool box” that can store up to six beverage cans or four 20-ounce bottles. The removable center console, which Honda says is commodious enough to swallow purses, has cup holders designed to secure anything from a Red Bull can to an extra-large fountain drink. There are also newly padded door panels and armrests.

Moving to the second row, the two captain’s chairs have a so-called “wide mode” whereby they each move two inches toward the doors, creating four additional inches of shoulder room for the foldable seat between. Wide mode also allows three full-size infant seats to be anchored across the second row, while that middle position can slide forward for easier access to a child from the front seats. A new entertainment system is available with a 16.2-inch widescreen display with split-screen, two-source capability, similar to the Toyota Sienna’s.

The back of the bus is roomier, too, and Honda says three adults will fit comfortably. We’ll believe it when we sit in it; while the van is wider and third-row legroom has increased by an inch, it’s hard to imagine three adults remaining content for longer than it takes to make a Slurpee run. While they’re back there, though, they’ll have access to HDMI and RCA inputs, and a 110-volt outlet. The third row remains stowable, of course, and the overall cup-holder count sits at 15.

The Honda Odyssey has long been our favorite minivan, going beyond utility and practicality to inject a semblance of driving enjoyment into the segment. We’re eager to see if the love affair continues, but bigger brakes and the increase in stability we expect from a shorter (by 1.6 inches) and wider vehicle can’t hurt. The engine will again be a 3.5-liter V-6 with three-mode cylinder deactivation, and Honda says it expects the EPA to return 19-mpg city and 28-mpg highway ratings. Further details—including other trims; Honda only revealed the top-spec Touring Elite model—will follow soon.

Well… Are you drooling yet? I can not wait to see this new Honda Odyssey!

The Scariest Special Edition Kia Ever!

So we have seen a few special edition Kia Soul’s already this year. Check this one out though! It may be just the beginning of summer but this special edition Kia Soul is called the “Soul Ghost.” Have you test driven the Kia Soul yet? Visit your local Cincinnati Kia dealer to test drive the Kia Soul.

Here’s a little blurb about the Soul Ghost from Autoblog:

Kia just announced a new special-edition Soul. The Ghost Soul will join the likes of the Shadow Dragon Soul,Denim Soul and Ignition Soul as the last of four unique takes on the Korean automaker’s quirky people mover. The changes to the base car are fairly subtle and include a new fender vent and rear spoiler, along with a smattering of chrome accents and snappy-looking 18-inch wheels. Inside, buyers can look forward to a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, along with heated, leather-trimmed seats that replace the stock buckets.

The Ghost Soul is based on the Soul+, but throws in an Audio Upgrade Package for good measure, meaning that the additional center speaker and subwoofer come standard. Final pricing sits at $20,185, not including destination, and the company says that the Ghost Soul is available at dealers right now.

What do you guys think? I think it’s awesome!

Do You Drive One Of The Top 10 Most Fuel Efficient SUV’s?

Fuel efficiency is very important to many Americans these days. So it was to our excitement when put out a list of the Top 10 Most Fuel Efficient SUV’s/Crossovers and the 2010 Hyundai Tucson made the list! You should get out and test drive the new 2010 Hyundai Tucson and your local Cincinnati Hyundai Dealer!

The Hyundai Tucson tied for 3rd with some very notable vehicles.

2010 Hyundai Tucson — 23 city/31 highway and 26 combined (tie)

2010 Chevrolet Equinox — 22 city/32 highway and 26 combined (tie)

2010 Toyota Highlander Hybrid — 27 city/25 highway and 26 combined (tie)

2010 Suzuki SX4 — 23 city/30 highway and 26 combined (tie)

2010 GMC Terrain — 22 city/32 highway and 26 combined (tie)

To see the full Top 10 list just visit and for a review of the 2010 Hyundai Tucson click here.

Do you drive a new Hyundai Tucson? What are your thoughts on it? Do you love it?

Are You A First Time Driver? Here Is Some Good Advice!

So you are getting your first car? Well this is very exciting! I remember when I got my first car! The excitement of driving, the freedom, no more riding the bus, the popularity, the chance to finally prove I was maturing. Well those are all great feelings but let’s face it I didn’t know the first thing about taking care of my car. Had it not been for my parents I would not have known when I needed new tries, or an oil change.

The first thing you should do is get insurance on your vehicle! Hopefully your parents will help you out with this but should you need assistance you need to shop. Shop a few different insurance companies. I would shop at least 3. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and do your research. So you can get the plan that is right for you and the price that best fits you.

The next thing to remember is that keeping your new or used car properly maintained is key. You should never forget to get your oil changed regularly. You should get your oil changed at least every 3,000 miles. It’ll keep your engine running properly and keep your car out of the shop.

Don’t forget to keep an eye on those tires. Proper tire inflation is key to keeping your car in good shape. It can also help reduce the cost of fuel. Keep an eye out for any wear and tear, under inflation, nails, screws etc. Make sure that you are getting your tires rotated on a regular schedule. Usually every other oil change is a good way of timing it out.

Can you think of anything else that’ll help first time drivers? Have any good stories from your first car?

It Does Not Matter Where You Are From, Be A Good Traveler!

There is the stereotype we all know of called the “Ugly American”, apparently we tend to be a little boisterous, demanding, underdressed. You name it. According to a study done by Expedia we rank 3rd in loudness behind Italians and the Spanish. The French took the top spot for rudeness and poor tipping.

The Japanese topped the list as world’s best tourists, thanks to politeness, cleanliness, lack of complaining and good tipping. They were followed by the British, Canadians and Germans. Americans, who ranked 11th, are great tippers but are seen as loud and not-so-well dressed.

Seeing as it is that traveling time of year I thought i’d share these tips with you compliments of Expedia and Anne Stein from

Whatever country you’re from, it’s best to follow a few travel guidelines:

  • You’re a guest in this country, here to learn and explore.
  • Be respectful of the culture, food, entertainment, and people. One example: Don’t demand or complain about what’s not on the menu. Instead, try what’s being offered, just as you would if you were a guest in someone’s home.
  • Learn some phrases in the local language. Don’t demand to be spoken to in English and don’t raise your voice to “help” someone understand you.
  • Try to understand and enjoy differences. Don’t judge everything by how it’s done “at home.”
  • Sssshhh! Match your volume with the voices around you. It’s respectful.
  • Dress appropriately. Clean slacks, a polo shirt or button-down, or skirt and blouse are all simple and suitable for most situations.
  • Never be condescending to the locals.

Can you think of any other tips for traveling during this vacation season?