Thursday, January 15, 2009

Pennzoil – Bad, Bad Oil

Last week I noticed an engine noise when I started up my work van (2002 Chevy Express). It sounded bad. At first, it went away within a minute but then on Friday it lasted longer. On Monday morning after hearing it again, I knew I had to take it to the shop.

I was pretty much sick to my stomach as I waited to hear back. I feared the worst but prayed for the best. I knew they needed to keep it Monday night and hear it as it started cold in the morning. Tuesday morning the call came. It was a stuck lifter. I asked a few questions and got a vague idea of what was wrong. The mechanic then told me that sometimes they get dirty so what he wanted to do was change the oil, put in an additive cleaner and see if that will do it. If not, we were looking at a major engine repair.

Thursday afternoon the call came that the work was done and it looks like the sound may go away. It wasn’t there after the oil change. The plan was for me to try it for a few days and see what happens. Wednesday morning there was no sound and Thursday morning it lasted less than a minute.

I was talking to my son, who is a mechanic, on Tuesday afternoon about what was going on. He asked what kind of oil I used. I told him Pennzoil as that is what they put in at the lube shop. He said that he had heard of many problems with Pennzoil gumming up engines. Well that was news to me. I thought all oil was basically the same.

When I picked up my van later on Tuesday, I asked the mechanic if one oil is better than another. He told me what kind they use and then said, “just stay away from Pennzoil.” He went on to tell me that it is paraffin based. He said if he was tearing an engine apart he immediately knew if that kind of oil had been used.

It sure made sense to me now. That explains why the problem happened when the engine was cold. That paraffin sludge gummed up my engine.

Last night at church, I mentioned what had gone on and one of the old guys, an engineer, asked me if I knew why it happened. I said paraffin and he replied that it’s the Pennsylvania oil. I guess Quaker State is the same.

So, I learned a lot in the past few days. Why don’t they teach us these things in school? From now on, I will be careful of what oil I use. The shop used Mobile 1 and I have heard Castrol recommended too. Now I hope that my engine will be okay. Time will tell if the damage can be completely reversed.

Now a word about the shop I go to. It’s called Colorado Auto Tech. They are located in Lakewood, Colorado at 1510 Kendall Street. I have gone there for many years, I would guess close to twenty. I have found them to be honest and competent. I know they are looking out for me and I am very comfortable leaving my car with them.

Auto repair is an area filled with dishonest and incompetent people. I’m so glad to have a shop like Colorado Auto Tech that I can trust.


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