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5 Auto Repair Questions and Answers

At Apex Technical School, students interested in automotive repair typically come to campus with many questions. They are passionate about the trade and want to learn more, such as “How often do I have to change my oil?” and “Do I really need to read the owner’s manual?” Here are some common questions our students ask and are taught in auto repair classes.

Why do I need to read the manufacturer’s manual?

The manufacturer’s manual should always be in a car—typically, drivers store their manual in the glove compartment where they can easily reach it. This book holds instructions needed to operate the vehicle safely. Some of the most important topics covered in the owner’s manual include:

  • How and where to check fluids to obtain accurate readings
  • How to troubleshoot problems, such as changing a flat tire
  • How to set up technology, such as keyless entry or a sound system
  • How to reach ideal tire pressure with step-by-step instructions
  • How to understand warning lights on the dash

Combined with hands-on skills, knowledge of the owner’s manual helps individuals in the auto repair trade extend the life of a vehicle.

What are the different car oil types and how are they used?

Students in auto repair training are taught the different types of motor oils and how often they should be changed in a vehicle. There are four general motor oil types:

  • Full synthetic motor oil – Ideal for vehicles that demand peak-level performance and high levels of lubrication
  • Synthetic blend motor oil – A mixture of synthetic and conventional base oils, plus some additives for resistance to oxidation and low-temperature properties
  • Conventional motor oil – Ideal for light-duty, late-model cars with low to average mileage and a simple engine design
  • High-mileage motor oil – Designed for older cars with more than 75,000 miles to help reduce oil consumption, minimize oil seepage and reduce emissions

How often should I change my oil?

According to Consumer Reports, follow the owner’s manual to adhere to the oil change schedule recommended for specific cars. Modern advances in engines and oil have made the old rule of “every 3,000 miles or every three months” obsolete. Now, many automakers have oil change intervals at 7,500 or even 10,000 miles and six or 12 months for time. Change motor oil at least once or twice a year—even if you or the driver don’t drive often. Oil must be kept fresh or it may result in shorter engine life.

What are the different types of driving?

Road conditions differ depending on where you are driving. Rural, city and highway driving have distinct features and can uniquely affect the wear and tear on a vehicle.

Highway driving:
  • Higher speeds
  • More constant speeds
  • Fewer gear changes
  • Less acceleration
  • Less braking
City driving:
  • Lower speeds
  • More variable speed (traffic)
  • More gear changes
  • More acceleration
  • More braking (at intersections, traffic lights and stop signs)
Rural driving:
  • Variable speeds
  • Inconsistent traffic flow
  • Roadway obstructions (wildlife crossings, farming equipment)
  • Poor road surfaces (potholes, standing water)
  • Hidden driveways

What do octane rates in gasoline mean?

According the Exxon Mobile, octane ratings measure the fuel’s ability to resist engine knocking. Higher octane rates indicate the fuel has more resistance to pinging, or rattling, during combustion. Located at most gas station pumps on a bright yellow sticker, octane fuel comes in three grades: 87 (regular unleaded), 89 (mid-grade) and 93 (premium). Most vehicles use 87 octane fuel but others, such as some BMW or Mercedes models, are designed to use higher octane fuel. To determine what type of octane to put in a vehicle, check the owner’s manual. You can learn more about how to change motor oil, check brakes and more at our school in Long Island City, Queens. Explore our automotive repair program online now.

*Apex Technical School and its instructors are licensed by the State of New York, New York State Education Department.

Disclaimer: Apex Technical School provides training for entry-level jobs. Not everything you may read about the industry is covered in our training programs.