|Water And Oil by Setsiri Silapasuwanchai|
Took Ross to First Tech FCU so he could get a money order to pay for the application fee to rent an apartment. The credit union doesn't sell money orders, all they offer is cashier's checks. Hopefully that will be good enough. When he was done there, I gave him a ride to the Max commuter train station adjacent to Intel's Hawthorne Farms campus on Cornell Road. On the way home I stopped at Costco to fill the tank on my pickup truck with gasoline. My stomach was still unhappy. I almost pulled over so I could puke in the roadside ditch, but I held it together. When I got home I had some oatmeal and jam and that seemed to help. Or maybe that was before. It's kind of a muddle.
Now Osmany has arrived to pick up the dresser. I take a 20 minute nap while he empties the dresser of the computer cables and parts that I had stored there into some cardboard boxes and loads the dresser into Anne's SUV. When he is done we drive to Accurate Auto get the oil changed in the Mazda. Turns out that a 2016 Mazda requires synthetic oil, which means an oil change costs $70 instead of $35. The recommended interval for oil changes has gone from 3500 miles to 7500 miles, which is good, but that still means an oil change twice a year, which is my standard for our other cars, which all use regular oil.
The deal with regular oil is that if your car is used in 'extreme service' it needs to have the oil changed every 3,000 miles, but for normal driving, the oil only needs to be changed every 6,000 miles. 'Extreme service' is funny in that it can mean either of two extremes: one, vehicle is mostly driven at high speeds with heavy loads, or two, it is hardly driven at all. The first one is kind of obvious, but the second one is kind of confusing. How can too little driving be extreme? The problem here is that if you only drive a mile or so at a time, the engine never warms up. I'm not quite sure exactly what the problem here is, but I suspect it is some kind of chemical thing. For instance, water is a by-product of combustion, so every time you start up a cold engine, a minuscule amount of water is going to get into the oil. If you drive the engine long enough for it to reach normal operating temperature, that water will be vaporized and the PCV (Positive Crankcase Ventilation system) will suck that water vapor out of the crankcase. If you never drive the car long enough for the engine to reach normal operating temperature, that water will remain in the crankcase and continue to accumulate. Water in the crankcase leads to the formation of acid which can eat away at things like bearings and rings and can lead to the engine wearing out prematurely. So if you don't want your engine to wear out early, you change the oil more often to remove the water.
I suspect that most people are not interested in that long winded explanation, and a smart service adviser is not going to inflict it on their customers, so they play it safe and recommend the 'extreme service' interval to all their customers. Since a car costs about $500 a month to operate, one extra oil change per year is only going to add about 1% to that bill. Not doing the extra oil change on a car that needs it will likely result in the car's engine lasting only half as long as normal. If we figure that replacing an engine costs about $3,000 and under normal conditions an engine should last 20 years, that means the engine costs about $150 per year. If it wears out twice as fast, it will cost $300 per year. So if you are going to keep your car, the extra $70 a year in oil changes is a pretty good investment.
But I don't know if the same recommendations regarding 'extreme service' apply to Mazda engines using synthetic oil. I should check. Actually, Osmany should check, but he has his hands full with managing his international family and making a living. Me, on the other hand, have no pressing demands, other than digging ditches, washing dishes, paying bills and driving to the pharmacy and the airport, I should be able to look into it.
When we get back from Accurate Auto, Rob and G (the lawn and landscape guys) are here. They've repaired the leaks in the irrigation system (that were caused when we were excavating to find the leak in the water main). We need to finish filling in the hole, and since we are here and the fiber optic line is almost fully exposed I'm thinking we need to armor it somehow to keep it from getting cut again. It happened once before and it was dang annoying being without internet for some days. I forget how many it was, not many, but I didn't like it, not one little bit.