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Tuesday, October 25, 2011


I took Momma's car (2006 Mitsubishi Endeavor) into Eric's for an oil change today. It took me maybe an hour all told, from the time I left the house until I got back. It cost me $30. It would have cost me just as much and probably taken me longer to do it myself, not to mention still having to dispose of the oil.

While I was waiting I looked through the maintenance section in the owners manual. The car has 60,000 miles on it and I don't think it has ever had any maintenance done besides oil and filter changes. Is there anything else that should be done? Well, it could use a new air filter and the coolant (anti-freeze) should be changed, but other than that, no, not really.

The timing belt does not need to be replaced till we reach 105,000 miles.

The spark plugs need to changed occasionally, but how often depends on what kind of spark plugs you have. Are they regular, super (platinum tipped), or extra crispy (iridium! Shades of Toolmaker Koan)? How do you tell? I think I'll just wait until someone complains. Who will it be? Momma, or the DEQ (Department of Environmental Quality)?

The intake valves on some engines need to be adjusted. Which engines? The 4G6-MIVEC and the 6G7-MIVEC. What kind of engine is in our car?

Okay, that's as clear as mud. AG7B maybe? If I am really bored I might call Mitsubishi tomorrow and ask.

I finish looking through the maintenance schedule and I realize I did not see anything about the automatic transmission. For all the cars I have ever dealt with before, checking the transmission fluid level was a regular deal, and changing it was something that needed doing ever few years. What's going on? I look through the schedule again and there are all kinds of things you are supposed to check like hoses and belts and brakes and boots, but I can find nothing about the transmission. I finally find an entry, but it is in the severe service list, so it is not like I am blind.

Now I am curious, so I look under the hood. Usually the handle to the dipstick for the automatic transmission is some bright colored piece of plastic sticking out in plain sight. I look and look but I do not see it. I do notice this odd little cap on a piece of hose. See the white number 10?

Wait, what's that down in the shadows?

Could that be the transmission dipstick?

I do believe it is! Yes, you can see it quite plainly if the light is right, but it would still take some some doing to get your hand down there and actually get a hold of it. The maintenance schedule goes to 150,000 miles. I guess that by opening the cap on the magic box, even to just check the fluid level, you risk contaminating its' precious bodily fluids.  I suppose that means you just drive it until it grenades, and then buy a new one. Car or transmission, your choice.


Anonymous said...

Brake fluid, every 2 years at the latest, because its hygroscopic.

Chuck Pergiel said...

Maintenance manual makes no mention of brake fluid. All it says about brakes is "inspect" about once a year. I think some reservoir caps have a flexible inner liner that allow for changes in volume without allowing the fluid direct contact with the atmosphere. Mad German motorcyclists are another matter.

Mad German motorcyclist said...

As an alternative to sliding the rear wheel when cornering hard :-

Lean the bike slightly into the corner, not too far. Brake so hard the rear wheel lifts (a little), this is called a stoppie. Due to the lean, the bike will rotate laterally around the front tire contact point. When you are pointing in the exit direction, rev on the power and release the front brake, dropping the rear wheel back onto the track.

Of course, if you get it wrong, you'll take a high-sider :-(