Mike Herzing talks tires and oil, and why specificity matters

Chris Teague

Chris Teague

Don't ever let your car run low on oil.

On his show “Let’s Talk Wheels,” Mike Herzing answers questions from listeners who write in. While their specific situation might not match yours exactly, there’s still plenty to be learned from their experiences — and his expertise.

Bill writes: What is your recommendation for replacing the tires on my tandem axle ATV/bike trailer? How do I know what tires to use and when to do it?

Mike Herzing: That’s a great question, and here’s what I would recommend and why. Passenger car tires are built a little differently than trailer tires. The former have flexible sidewalls for a better ride and tread mileage, whereas the latter are much heavier duty with stiffer sidewalls for heavier loads. These same stiff sidewalls will also prevent trailer sway issues that would appear with softer sidewalls. If you pulled two identical trailers with both types of tires, you would immediately notice a difference. So go with trailer-specific tires.

Duggan writes: I have a 2019 Honda Accord that uses a quart of oil every 1,200 miles. It has 31,000 miles on it total. My dealer has done an oil consumption test and tells me that it is within the factory allowable limits. Is there anything I can do? Why does this happen?

MH: Engines have many moving parts. Sometimes an engine has several components that may be at one end of their serviceable limit, and added together the result is oil consumption — but the dealer would have a real issue finding the exact problem. I would appeal to the factory rep to take another look at it under the Goodwill Warranty. In the meantime, do not let it run low on oil. In 5,000 miles, your engine would be more than four quarts low on oil, causing damage. If you damage your engine by running it low on oil, your warranty will not pay for repairs. So check your oil often until you get your problem resolved.

Bryce writes: I just bought a 2012 Nissan Frontier with a 4 cylinder. The engine oil light comes on after you drive for a few minutes. The oil looked like black mud, and so does the inside of the engine, but it doesn’t make any knocking or tapping sounds. I got it cheap, but not cheap enough to buy a new engine. What should I do?

MH: It sounds like your oil pump pickup screen is clogged. It will look like the screen on your windows at home, just oilier. The best thing to do is to remove the oil pan and clean the oil pump screen. To keep it from happening again, I’d pull the valve covers and clean everything you can from there, and then clean as much as possible from the oil pan and bearing journals. If you are thinking of talking the easy way out by using an engine flush, they usually just make it worse, so don’t bother. This isn’t a difficult job to do, just really messy. Good luck!

For more tips from Mike, visit LetsTalkWheels.com. Be sure to subscribe to the new “Let’s Talk Wheels” podcast on iTunes, Spotify, or Google Play.

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