What does manual mean by 'severe' conditions?

  • Article by: PAUL BRAND , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 29, 2011 - 9:43 PM

Q Not being a motorhead, I have a couple of maintenance questions for you. My wife drives a '99 Lexus ES300 with only 77,000 miles on it. The owner's manual doesn't seem to recommend transmission fluid flushes unless operated in "severe" conditions such as pulling a trailer, idling for long periods, dusty conditions and so forth. In this case, it recommends fluid service at 60,000 miles. I don't think she qualifies for "severe" service, but what do you think?

Also, she only puts on about 300 miles per month, so do we need to change engine oil more often than once per year?

A I'm not sure any vehicle operated in Minnesota isn't automatically operated in severe service! In checking my Alldata database, I see that Lexus/Toyota suggests transmission fluid service every 15,000 miles under severe service, so if she's planning to keep the vehicle for a number of years I'd suggest have the transmission fluid flushed and 100 percent replaced and the filter changed.

The manufacturer's recommendation for oil changes under "severe" service is 5,000-mile intervals, which I think is reasonable. So an oil and filter change each spring makes perfect sense. And don't forget to check and replace the air filter every 30,000 miles. Personally, I'd also suggest that same interval for the engine compartment-mounted fuel filter.

Q I have a '97 Town Car. The antitheft alarm goes off at random -- in the middle of the night or in a shopping center parking lot, you never know. I disconnect the battery cable at night because I don't trust it. The only way to silence the alarm is to use the ignition key in the driver's door lock. Help!

A The carmaker lists four actions that will activate the alarm system -- opening a door without first unlocking it, removing the luggage compartment lock cylinder, opening the hood or tampering with the ignition switch lock cylinder.

I'd focus primarily on the front-door lock switches and the "door open" warning-light switches. A scan tool can identify fault codes associated with the alarm and security system.

Q I bought a new 2010 Impala sedan. I've had it back to the dealer four times for routine oil changes. Each time they have overfilled it by a half quart to as much as a full quart of oil. They tell me this will not harm the motor and not to worry about it -- but the owner's manual says to not overfill the oil above the "full" line on the dipstick or it might damage the motor. Who's right?

A Technically, the owner's manual. But typically, overfilling the crankcase by a half quart of oil is not harmful. Even a full quart usually won't hurt anything.

Engines tend to be self-correcting in terms of too much oil. They usually blow it out of the PCV (positive crankcase ventilation) system or burn it off without harm. The only damage that might occur from excess oil would be if the oil level were so high that the crankshaft whipped and foamed the oil, causing a loss of oil pressure.

With all that said, if the oil level significantly overfilled, I'd ask the dealer to drain the excess before leaving the dealership.

Q Every year when the temperature goes below 25 to 30 degrees, my 2002 Intrepid "whistles" off and on. Do you know what causes this? Should I do something about it?

A Most cold-weather "whistles" involve the hoses and ductwork for the engine's air induction system. Stiff plastic and/or seals in the system may allow a small air leak that whistles as air is drawn through the system into the engine. As long as the air leak is upstream of the air filter and mass airflow sensor, no significant problem. But an air leak downstream from these components, or around the throttle body or intake manifold, should be fixed.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Philadelphia 24 FINAL
Washington 27
San Diego 38 FINAL
San Francisco 35
Minnesota 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
New York 2:30 PM
Toronto
Memphis 3:30 PM
Cleveland
Boston 5:00 PM
Miami
Detroit 5:00 PM
Brooklyn
LA Lakers 5:00 PM
Sacramento
Philadelphia 5:00 PM
Orlando
Phoenix 5:00 PM
Washington
Indiana 6:00 PM
Minnesota
New Orleans 6:00 PM
Oklahoma City
Colorado 5:00 PM
Detroit
Dallas 5:00 PM
Edmonton
Buffalo 6:00 PM
Boston
Carolina 6:00 PM
NY Rangers
Toronto 6:00 PM
Chicago
Philadelphia 8:00 PM
Winnipeg
Harvard 4 1st Half 7:48
Virginia 24
Maine 12:00 PM
Army
Ferris State 12:00 PM
Bowling Green
San Francisco 12:00 PM
Cleveland State
Oregon State 12:00 PM
Quinnipiac
Coastal Carolina 12:30 PM
Central Arkansas
Holy Cross 1:00 PM
Canisius
Southern Miss 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Western Carolina 1:00 PM
UNC-Asheville
Creighton 1:00 PM
North Texas
Maryland 1:00 PM
Oklahoma State
Cornell 1:00 PM
Radford
Vermont 1:00 PM
Saint Louis
Loyola-Maryland 1:00 PM
Stony Brook
Reinhardt 1:00 PM
Winthrop
Ark-Little Rock 1:00 PM
Green Bay
TX-Pan American 1:00 PM
Nebraska Omaha
Alabama State 1:05 PM
Evansville
FIU 1:30 PM
Hartford
Goshen 1:35 PM
Valparaiso
Bryant 2:00 PM
Denver
Austin Peay 2:00 PM
Lipscomb
Tennessee St 2:00 PM
Middle Tennessee
South Dakota 2:00 PM
Montana
ULM 2:00 PM
Samford
Coker 2:30 PM
South Carolina
USC 3:00 PM
Boston College
Northern Ariz 3:00 PM
Hampton
SD Christian 3:00 PM
San Diego
UC Irvine 3:30 PM
Bradley
Troy 3:30 PM
Nicholls
Seton Hall 5:00 PM
Georgia
Appalachian St 5:30 PM
Alabama
North Dakota St 6:00 PM
Kent State
San Jose St 6:00 PM
Washington St
Alcorn State 8:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Sacramento St 9:00 PM
Seattle
Nevada 3 FINAL
Louisiana 16
Utah State 21 FINAL
Texas-El Paso 6
(23) Utah 45 FINAL
Colorado State 10
Western Mich 24 FINAL
Air Force 38
South Alabama 28 FINAL
Bowling Green 33
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Illinois 12/26/14 12:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
Rutgers 12/26/14 3:30 PM
North Carolina
NC State 12/26/14 7:00 PM
UCF
Cincinnati 12/27/14 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Duke 12/27/14 1:10 PM
(15) Arizona State
Miami-Florida 12/27/14 3:00 PM
So Carolina
Boston College 12/27/14 3:30 PM
Penn State
(25) Nebraska 12/27/14 7:00 PM
(24) USC
Cal-Irvine 17 1st Half 8:18
Denver 22
St Marys-CA 21 1st Half 8:34
George Washington 19
TX-San Antonio 17 1st Half 7:33
Nicholls 9
Portland State 14 1st Half 9:51
Columbia 20
Tenn Tech 22 1st Half 4:36
Morgan State 19
SMU 5 1st Half 13:26
Auburn 13
Quinnipiac 28 1st Half 7:17
Hartford 20
Hofstra 12 1st Half 10:41
Boston College 5
Eastern Washington 23 1st Half 5:01
Georgia Southern 14
Rhode Island 12:00 PM
Bryant
Liberty 12:00 PM
(1) South Carolina
Fairleigh Dickinson 12:00 PM
Brown
Buffalo 12:00 PM
Long Island
Bucknell 12:00 PM
Mount St Marys
Stony Brook 12:00 PM
Wagner
FIU 12:00 PM
Wofford
Duquesne 12:00 PM
Providence
Maine 12:00 PM
William & Mary
Alabama State 12:00 PM
Samford
TX-Pan American 12:00 PM
VA Commonwealth
South Dakota St 12:00 PM
Marist
Saint Josephs 12:00 PM
(5) Notre Dame
Radford 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
(3) Texas 12:30 PM
(4) Texas A&M
South Florida 1:00 PM
Penn State
Sam Houston St 1:00 PM
TCU
Evansville 1:00 PM
IUPUI
(14) Maryland 1:00 PM
Coppin State
Mercer 1:00 PM
Coll of Charleston
NC A&T 1:00 PM
Chattanooga
Princeton 1:00 PM
Monmouth
Eastern Illinois 1:00 PM
Lehigh
Rider 1:00 PM
Binghamton
SC State 1:00 PM
Clemson
Fairfield 1:00 PM
Iowa State
Richmond 1:00 PM
Eastern Kentucky
Cleveland State 1:00 PM
Morehead St
Kent State 1:00 PM
Colgate
South Alabama 1:00 PM
UAB
Saint Peters 1:00 PM
Navy
Youngstown St 1:00 PM
Pittsburgh
NJIT 1:00 PM
Lafayette
Davidson 1:00 PM
Charlotte
Indiana State 1:30 PM
St Johns
Southern U 1:30 PM
Florida
Wright State 1:30 PM
Purdue
(19) Oklahoma St 2:00 PM
USC
Houston 2:00 PM
Texas Tech
Ark-Little Rock 2:00 PM
Tulsa
Dayton 2:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Northern Ariz 2:00 PM
New Mexico
UNC-Asheville 2:00 PM
USC Upstate
North Dakota 2:00 PM
South Dakota
Western Ill 2:00 PM
Marquette
Elon 2:00 PM
(6) North Carolina
Ball State 2:00 PM
Western Ky
(8) Kentucky 2:00 PM
(13) Duke
New Orleans 2:00 PM
Alabama
Chicago State 2:00 PM
Milwaukee
Bowling Green 2:00 PM
Bradley
Ill-Springfield 2:00 PM
SE Missouri St
Northern Ill 2:00 PM
Northern Iowa
(23) Iowa 2:05 PM
Drake
Central Michigan 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Western Carolina 2:30 PM
North Florida
Wyoming 3:00 PM
Colorado
Portland 3:00 PM
Boise State
Cal Poly 3:00 PM
Colorado State
No Dakota State 3:00 PM
Grand Canyon
Albany 3:00 PM
Cal State Fullerton
Oklahoma 3:00 PM
Arkansas
Idaho State 3:00 PM
Seattle
(18) Michigan State 3:00 PM
(19) Syracuse
Northwestern 3:30 PM
Arizona State
TX-Arlington 3:30 PM
North Texas
Fresno State 4:00 PM
Oregon
St Francis-PA 4:00 PM
Coastal Carolina
UNLV 4:00 PM
CS-Bakersfield
UCLA 4:00 PM
(2) Connecticut
(10) Louisville 4:00 PM
(24) California
Howard 5:00 PM
Virginia
Miami-Ohio 6:00 PM
(21) Miss State
Illinois-Chicago 8:30 PM
Old Dominion
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close