Can he do right by his '96 Buick with 5W-30?

  • Article by: PAUL BRAND , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 17, 2010 - 4:16 PM

Q I am a stickler for following owner's manuals and scheduled maintenance. My '98 Sable recommends 5W-30 oil. I just inherited a beautiful '96 Park Avenue, and it calls for 10W-30. Should I stick with the recommendations, or can I use 5W-30 in both cars?

A 5W-30 is approved for the Buick if ambient temperatures are below 60 degrees, but 10W-30 is recommended for ambient temperatures above zero degrees. Depending on where you live, 10W-30 for summer and 5W-30 for winter might be the right answer.

Q My 2002 Saturn L200 with 69,000 miles developed a loud rattling noise only at idle. When I accelerated slightly, the rattling would stop. It sounded like it was coming from the exhaust system. I suspected a piece of ceramic had broken off the catalytic converter. After several weeks, the noise went away.

Two weeks ago, the engine began to race going up inclines and seemed to lack power. The shop just phoned to say that the transmission failed because it overheated due to heat transfer from the overheated catalytic converter. Should I be looking for the root cause of the catalytic failure?

A First off, remember that the federally mandated emissions warranty specifically covers the catalytic converter for eight years or 80,000 miles. Depending on the original date of service, your car might still be covered by this warranty. Most catalytic converters fail because of excessively rich fuel-air mixtures causing the catalyst/oxidizing process to generate extremely high temperatures in the converter. Make sure the engine is reaching full operating temperature with normal air-fuel mixtures.

If the catalytic converter overheated from exhaust restriction, you'd have noticed a loss of power while driving, but not necessarily some type of slippage. It's possible the higher rpm occurred as the transmission downshifted due to the lack of engine power.

Second, since you could hear the rattle at idle, I suspect it was coming from a heat shield protecting the converter or exhaust system rather than the converter itself. Did your mechanic check to see if all heat shields are still in place?

Did the converter failure lead to the transmission failure? That's harder to say. I would have thought that you would have noticed symptoms of power loss long before any transmission damage would have occurred.

Q After many years of wishing and 19 years of working on my first car, a '54 Mercury Monterey, I've finally got it back to original condition. Could you bring us all up to date on putting a car away for the winter?

A After our wet, white and rude introduction to winter last weekend, I suppose it's time to park our favorite motorized toys for the season. In the past 30 years I've refined my winterizing efforts down to bare essentials.

• Park the vehicle with a full tank of nonoxygenated fuel with a fuel stabilizer such as SeaFoam.

• Charge and disconnect the battery. Or leave an automatic charger connected to battery, or connect a charger once per month.

• Toss dryer sheets into the cabin, trunk and engine compartment.

• Leave windows open a fraction.

If you so desire, you could also:

• Change oil and filter and make sure all maintenance is up to date.

• Lightly spray brake rotors/drums with Deep Creep to prevent rust.

• Fill tires with air about 5 pounds per square inch above normal to compensate for slight leaks.

• Cover, block and plug the air intake and exhaust to keep critters out.

• Clean, wax and cover vehicle with breathable cover.

These steps should ensure your vehicle is ready to run come spring.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Oakland - J. Lester 7:07 PM
Kansas City - J. Shields
New England 14 FINAL
Kansas City 41
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
NY Islanders 6:00 PM
Boston
NY Rangers 6:00 PM
Philadelphia
Ottawa 7:00 PM
Winnipeg
Carolina 7:00 PM
St. Louis
Tampa Bay 7:30 PM
Dallas
Colorado 8:00 PM
Calgary
Los Angeles 9:30 PM
San Jose
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close