Monthly Archives: November 2008

How Often Do You Change Your Oil?

Me and my Dodge Magnum on Padre Island

Me and my Dodge Magnum on Padre Island

How often do you really need to change your oil? Every 3000 miles? Every 4000 miles? A lot of controversy surrounds this topic and the discussion will continue.Most manufacturers include recommendations in the owners manual for the frequency of different maintenance items.

A video recently released by General Motors suggests every 9000 to 11,000 miles. Does that seem too far to you?

For years, I have adhered to a 4000-5000 mile schedule for my cars with great success. I have kept my eye on the condition of the oil, checking cleanliness and feel as the miles added up. After years of doing this, I came up with my own rule that works. I drive my cars over 200,000 miles without any major engine repairs needed.

Transmissions are my problem. The last two road cars have had their transmissions rebuilt twice each. The first seems to happen at about 135,000 miles with the second coming at around 190,000. The rebuilt tranny never lasts as long as the factory new build, which is reasonable, in a way.

What are your thought on changing your oil? How often do you do yours?

“Pure Muscle” means just that

When a 1964 Pontiac GTO passed by, all the boys would stop, turn, and salivate until it was out of sight. With its 389 tri-power package, the rumble from the factory exhaust was unmistakable even without the driver “getting on it” a little.

The same could be said for the Shelby Mustangs, The Boss ‘Stangs, the Dodge Chargers and Challengers. Even the Dodge Darts and Plymouth Dusters with the Mini-Hemi were formidible in the quarter mile and easily recognized by every boy over the age of eight.

The Pure Muscle category is dedicated to the classic and new muscle cars. This might be my favorite one to write and show pictures for.

What is New School

The New School category is for news about the new cars that excite me. The new Mustang, Challenger, and Camaro are examples of cars that catch my eye. The Mustang in its many interations like the Shelby and Saleen models rev my engine every time I see one.

The new Dodge Challenger is nothing short of HOT. The guys at Dodge did an outstanding job of bringing old school looks to a new school car.

And all this takes nothing away from Chevrolet’s new Camaro that will soon be available.

That’s what the New School category will feature.

Sure-Fire Gas Saver

The wide open spaces of Texas

The wide open spaces of Texas

A sure-fire way to increase the gas mileage on any car on the road is to control the appendage at the end of the right leg known as the foot.

Long stretches of lonely roads await travelers to remote portions of Texas. Because of the distance between some towns, a higher than normal speed limit is allowed and makes sense (in a way).

This photograph was taken while traveling on Interstate Highway 10 a few hours west of San Antonio. As you can see, the speed limit on this section of highway is 80mph. The first time I saw this, the temptation was too great. I had to see what it felt like to legally drive 80mph. My excursion didn’t last very long because of my front tires: a little out of round, a little out of balance.

The new Perelli P4s have solved that issue, so I did give it a try next time I ventured that way. Let’s just say … awesome. The stripes fly by and the telephone poles are moving rapidly in the opposite direction. However, I looked down to see my gas gauge physically dropping and thought, “self, this might not be the smartest thing you’ve done this week” and slowed back to 70mph.

Yes, the mileage gets even better at slower speeds, but the optimum speed for gas mileage is 18mph and it takes too long to drive the 600 miles to the Texas Panhandle traveling at 18mph. My compromise is 70mph where my average gas mileage is good.

So, to save gas (and therefore money) ignore any speed limit signs showing a speed higher than 70mph.

Fifteen and Legal

“Do all of you know how to drive?” he asked. With an affirmative response from all three of us, Coach loaded us into the Drivers Ed car furnished by the local Chevrolet dealer in Canyon, Texas and gave the first day’s instructions.

It wasn’t unusual for fourteen and fifteen year old boys to know how to drive because we were taught at an early age. Until 1968, the legal age for attaining a Texas drivers license was fourteen: younger with hardship. Can you imagine turning your fourteen year old teenager loose on the world with a 4000 pound hunk of rolling metal? That scares me to death, but at fifteen, I was primed and ready to go.

The driving part of Drivers Education class lasted two weeks and my friends and I were in the very first group of the summer. We would get our licenses two weeks before most of our classmates, making the drag by ourselves while they stood around the A&W Drive Inn.

The summer of 1967 was the biggest and best of my life, and the memories are still vivid to this day. Finishing the last DE class on Friday morning, Walter and I headed to Amarillo to take our driving test with the intention of hitting the drag in Canyon that evening. The jealously raged as the hormones of teenage boys watched us cruise.

Later, I’ll tell you about my first car.