Using the Dealer Versus Your Favorite Repair Shop For Auto Service
QUESTION: I am confused about manufacturer suggested oil for my vehicle and if it’s better to do all vehicle maintenance at the brand dealership or would I be OK using my regular mechanic?
ANSWER: We get this question about Dealership vs. Independent service and maintenance often and some folks are actually led to believe that they must have the service done at the dealer to keep their warranty.
First off the manufacturer cannot require you to use their service facilities for anything unless they are doing it for free, such as warranty repair or a recall. However, they can and do establish the minimum standards for service and products used on their cars and trucks.
Oil is one of the most misunderstood products. The technology has and continues to change at a fast rate to keep up with the changes in the engines and emission systems. There are so many different oils making so many varied claims that the average motorist has no idea what is appropriate for their car.
Most of us are familiar with the old SAE standard of oil weight THC Vapes Shop. For instance your car calls for 5W20 oil. Those numbers refer only to the viscosity of the oil, it’s ability to flow at specific temperatures. Using the specified oil weight is critical to engine life, but by itself is not enough.
API also has a letter standard that tells us other things about an oil such as its ability to fight aeration, fuel economy rating and the amount of specific additives or contaminates in it. The current API spec is “SM”. The weight and the rating are both shown on the API “donut” logo located on the oil container.
A few years ago we started using the International standard, ILSAC. The International Lubrication Standardization and Approval Committee sets a standard for all oils used around the world, with some exceptions for European cars. The current rating standard for ILSAC oil is GF4. If you use a GF4 oil in any car or light gas powered truck build since 2001 you will meet or exceed the oil standard requirements. All oils meeting this standard display a “Starburst” logo on the label.
For a 2006 vehicle you want to use the proper weight, in your case 5W20, and a API SM or ILSAC GF4 oil. All of the major oil companies make this oil, not just Motorcraft.
The problem you, or any driver has is to know if the service shop you chose is using the proper oil.
The major oil change places, especially those that fly an oil company banner, are going to be using the right oil. Some of the discount places may not. If you see a very cheap oil change price I would be concerned about the quality of the oil, GF4 oil is much more expensive than the older oils.
If you are using an independent repair shop ask them what they use as the “house” brand of oil. If, for any reason, you think they might lie to you then you are in the wrong place for an oil change, or any service.