car heater stinks

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Re: car heater stinks

Postby Ducked » 05 Jun 2012, 23:52

I've heard of this "winter" of which you Northerners speak.

People have also told me that the aircon is the best way of reducing fogging, but mine doesn't seem to work very well, and perhaps needs some maintenance.

Perhaps I'd better see if I've got a heater too, though it sounds a pretty uncomfortable procedure.
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Re: car heater stinks

Postby sulavaca » 06 Jun 2012, 07:27

Ducked wrote:I've heard of this "winter" of which you Northerners speak.

People have also told me that the aircon is the best way of reducing fogging, but mine doesn't seem to work very well, and perhaps needs some maintenance.

Perhaps I'd better see if I've got a heater too, though it sounds a pretty uncomfortable procedure.


It is precisely this which can sometimes cause leaks and blockages.
I even mention this in one of my tip somewhere I think. Perhaps its on FB, or something. I can't remember where for the moment, but anyway..

So, I mentioned that people should activate their heater (heater matrix) from time to time. This allows the coolant (which hopefully has anti freeze in it, to circulate and reduce the chance of clogging in the heater matrix itself. This action also allows the hot water valve to move once in a while, reducing the chance of an early failure.

Using the aircon once in a while during the summer is also a good thing for similar reasons. Basically joints and flow not unlike our body's tend to become stiffer and poor if not used, and become weak, as well as seals in these vehicle systems. If not moved, once in a while, this can also have an effect on certain bearing surfaces, which can suffer due to lack of lubrication, and may begin to corrode.
There are indeed many systems on a car which can suffer due to lack of movement, or driving. In fact in the trade, we are as much wary of vehicles with very low mileage as we are of older, high mileage vehicles, which have had lack of servicing. They can both be a headache at times.
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Re: car heater stinks

Postby Ducked » 06 Jun 2012, 13:34

I give the aircon a quick burst every 2nd week or so for that reason, but I suppose I'd forgotten about the heater. Useful wakeup.

Coolant is still bright green but could perhaps do with a change as well, since its been in there since I got the car a couple of years ago. Ditto brake fluid.
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Re: car heater stinks

Postby sulavaca » 06 Jun 2012, 21:27

I recommend a brake fluid change once a year or 15,000km, as brake fluid is hygroscopic, which means it absorbs water from the atmosphere. The water content lowers its boiling point, and also causes deterioration of the system due to the rise in oxygen content.

Anti freeze slowly becomes acidic over time, and ends up attacking the metal and seals it is meant to protect. Anti freeze I typically recommend changing every two years, or 30,000km.

One thing to also check, which many service centres fail to recommend changing is the power steering fluid. This becomes very dirty over time, and can end up causing early pump and rack failure. Done every 30,000km, or two years max.

Another thing to have changed is the gearbox oil filter (I no longer recommend this on first and second gen Nissan March and Sentra, due to an assembly fault, which can cause more damage than good when changing the filter).
Many garages again fail to recommend this or carry out this task. As well as replacing the gearbox sump gasket, which helps reduce the chance of oil leaks and a wasted oil change, it helps to ensure that the gearbox is as free of particles as possible. It also ensures that all old gearbox oil is drained, as this cannot be completely done without removing the sump.
The gearbox oil filter is even more important to have changed earlier on many European boxes, i.e. VW, Benz, BMW etc. Many manufacturers claim that these filters need never be changed. This is NOT TRUE. These boxes fail at an alarming rate compared to those which have their filters and oil changed regularly.

We typically recommend most Japanese cars have their gearbox oil changed once a year, or 10,000km to 15,000km. For the fleets of Mercs we deal with, they almost always require their oil changing between services, at around 7,000km, at which point the oil can already become very dirty. Over 10,0000km and the oil can show signs of heavy particles.
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Re: car heater stinks

Postby tommy525 » 07 Jun 2012, 04:35

sulavaca wrote:I recommend a brake fluid change once a year or 15,000km, as brake fluid is hygroscopic, which means it absorbs water from the atmosphere. The water content lowers its boiling point, and also causes deterioration of the system due to the rise in oxygen content.

Anti freeze slowly becomes acidic over time, and ends up attacking the metal and seals it is meant to protect. Anti freeze I typically recommend changing every two years, or 30,000km.

One thing to also check, which many service centres fail to recommend changing is the power steering fluid. This becomes very dirty over time, and can end up causing early pump and rack failure. Done every 30,000km, or two years max.

Another thing to have changed is the gearbox oil filter (I no longer recommend this on first and second gen Nissan March and Sentra, due to an assembly fault, which can cause more damage than good when changing the filter).
Many garages again fail to recommend this or carry out this task. As well as replacing the gearbox sump gasket, which helps reduce the chance of oil leaks and a wasted oil change, it helps to ensure that the gearbox is as free of particles as possible. It also ensures that all old gearbox oil is drained, as this cannot be completely done without removing the sump.
The gearbox oil filter is even more important to have changed earlier on many European boxes, i.e. VW, Benz, BMW etc. Many manufacturers claim that these filters need never be changed. This is NOT TRUE. These boxes fail at an alarming rate compared to those which have their filters and oil changed regularly.

We typically recommend most Japanese cars have their gearbox oil changed once a year, or 10,000km to 15,000km. For the fleets of Mercs we deal with, they almost always require their oil changing between services, at around 7,000km, at which point the oil can already become very dirty. Over 10,0000km and the oil can show signs of heavy particles.


Wow I guess I can feel safe now that iv just changed my brake fluid (after 125,000 miles and six years of ownership) ! Changed the transmission fluid for the first time last year at bout the 100,000 mile mark. Its a stick shift.

On my telstar in taiwan the manual never did say anything bout changing the automatic transmission fluid. So i didnt until the 250,000 KM mark when it was all black. Then i never did change it again up to when i sold the car at 400,000KM mark. I guess I was lucky.

Is it diff in taiwan somehow? I used to change my oil every 3000 km in Taiwan but am sure could easily have upped that to 5000KM> Now that im changing oil at 5000 MILES in the USA (or bout 8000KM) and the manual for my RSX says change every 10,000 MILES> And Audi here change at 10,000 miles while BMW changes are at 15,000 MILE> And Porsche even goes up to 20,000 miles on the 911 (course its got like 12 quarts of oil so i understand).

Why is it needed more often in Taiwan or is it?

I never had a cabin air filter on my telstar in taiwan but in the USA JUST CHANGED my cabin filters and they were dirty. Bout sixty bucks for the two pieces and labor (bout five mins of labor if you knwo what to do).

No wonder I was smelling something like chinese medicine in the cabin. It went away finally after changing the cabin filters (and i changed my brand of deodorant, just kidding).

At the 120,000 mile mark on my Acura I had to do the first of lot of maintenance. Including changing both oxygen sensors , 3rd new battery, first new starter (charger was changed a few months ago), new spark plugs (they go 100,000 mile titanium tip so they say).

Cost me bout 1500 and thats cuz I went to small shops, at Acura may hv been 3000.
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Re: car heater stinks

Postby Ducked » 07 Jun 2012, 06:53

I suppose your point, Tommy, is that Mr S's recomended change intervals are generally much shorter than those recommended by the manufacturer.

I'd guess high temperatures and humidity might be factors in that, plus (perhaps) lower average mileages in start-stop traffic conditions. I'd have thought coolant and brake fluid deterioration would be mostly time rather than mileage-based, and low mileages might actually accelerate it.

He's perhaps also being conservative,cheap insurance style, but he doesnt have the same conflict of interest as the manufacturers.

They have an definate interest in reducing service costs/stretching service intervals which may outweigh any interest they might have in increasing lifespan and long-term reliability
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Re: car heater stinks

Postby sulavaca » 07 Jun 2012, 07:06

Taiwan suffers poor air quality, stop-start driving, and extended running time whilst stationary, plus extended cold engine driving (the time spent driving before the oil temperature rises).
This is also why people commonly misunderstand that its not the mileage that affects the engine and transmission, but the type of driving done. The mileage figure goes up when the wheels turn, whereas the engine revolutions continue regardless. The transmission changes gear less often on a straight, steady road, but is very busy indeed during city driving.
I work just down the road from a transmission specialist. All they do is gearboxes and diffs. They were asking me if I could help them set up a supply for used VW/Audi boxes from Europe, as they fail as so regularly in Taiwan. According to them many of these modern VW boxes fail before reaching the magic 100,000km mark.
I'm certain that they were never that unreliable back in the U.K., but then again, that was before the dual clutch manumatic boxes. I have heard from quite a number of other sources that VW's newer boxes don't hold up.

I always laugh when I read the service intervals on German cars. It's as if the manufacturers have no idea how badly off their own cars are, even way before their service intervals.
Take the BMW 3 series for example. We service quite a few different variants of this series, and I can promise you that not a single one will make it three services in a row before the gearbox oil sump gasket fails and starts dumping oil all over the place. What a fantastic design too. You can't replace the gasket without replacing the plastic sump (plastic on later models). What a laugh! Anyone is playing Russian Roulette with a BMW provided periodic service recommendation.
A brand new Porsche 911 or Panamera burns through around 1 litre of engine oil per thousand kilometers plus in Taiwan. I know this as we are always topping them up for customers. I must say we haven't experienced many issues with Porsche transmissions, other than the gearbox oil pipes, which flex and leak a lot after a few years. Porsche, I would say is certainly a lot more reliable than other German brands. That's saying a lot really, as you would imagine that a performance car would by suffer much more stress than a family mover. Still, Porsche do a very good job at reliability in many of their models.

The Acura/Honda is a fantastic car manufacturer. Always famed for reliability. Many O2 manufacturers recommend replacement at around 40,000 miles, so to go that long is pretty good already. I must say this is one thing that most people tend to neglect. Issues with false O2 readings happen very slowly, over an extended period of time, and so most people don't notice them build up. Changing this sensor can often have significant results on fuel economy and power though, so it's often worth the investment if your car hasn't had it changed for a few years.
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Re: car heater stinks

Postby sulavaca » 07 Jun 2012, 07:13

Ducked wrote:They [the manufacturers] have an definate interest in reducing service costs/stretching service intervals which may outweigh any interest they might have in increasing lifespan and long-term reliability


Quite right. They also have pressure from the European Union to reduce oil pollution. They say they do this by reducing engine oil capacity and by extending service intervals, as well as adding additional oil breather tech. This doesn't work too well however for the customer, as like you suggest, they suffer earlier wear and tear, it reduces the potential life of the vehicle, and thus creates more oil pollution and fuel wastage due to wasted manufacturing costs or increased servicing frequency. Not to mention the issues of sucking up and burning so much oil vapour. I don't doubt that its a nice idea, but present systems such as those on VWs for example are awful. They leak oil and clog up the intake components and sensors.
The same issues go for bio-plastics, which degrade over time, thus "saving" the environment. Although they don't. They result in the economically viable life of a car being reduced by a large percentage, meaning that the "bio-plastics car" gets scrapped twice as quickly as a "dirty plastics" car, which again, results in a faster scrappage/production rate.
I've argued a few times before that many of these so called "green" attempts are dirtier in effect, but make for excellent marketing in my opinion.
A cleaner, less wasteful method is to better maintain a vehicle and keep it working for longer.
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