Your car care questions answered by repair expert Larry Rubenstein.


Q: Does urging 3,000-mile oil changes apply to cars using synthetic oil? I recent bought a 2017 Toyota Corolla for which the manufacturer recommends oil changes every 5,000 miles or six months. Do you agree?

A: My schedule for my customers is 3,000 miles between oil changes for those using conventional oil, and 5,000 miles between oil changes for those using synthetic oil.

Q: It seems that some Cadillac models, after 100,000 miles, begin to have serious engine problems. I had a 2006 Cadillac STS that began needing oil added in order for it to function. Eventually at 140,000 miles, even though I kept up with the oil levels needed, the car kept needing repairs (wouldn’t start) and eventually we got rid of it. The same situation occurred with my daughter’s 2008 Cadillac SUV. Someone mentioned that this problem was due to faulty engine construction where two different metals were used, causing them to disintegrate after the car got older.

I am wondering if there has been a class-action suit against Cadillac for this problem. It seems odd that in our family we had two identical situations with Cadillacs made in the time period. In both cases we had to get rid of the cars and lost significant money in resales due to the condition of the vehicles.

Also I now have a 2014 ATS. I was really upset when at 24,000 miles the car needed new tires. I had Michelin tires on the car and do average driving, mostly highway. The tires are run-flat but I have never had to replace tires at this low mileage. Any insights or experiences? Thanks for your help. — Beverly

A: I have never been a big fan of the Cadillac for many of the reasons you mention in your letter. There are certain cars to be owned, certain cars to be leased and certain cars to stay away from. It appears to me that Cadillac has not made a decent engine for over 30 years.

Going all the way back to the 4100 engine, there has been problem after problem after problem. Problems include oil consumption, head gasket bolts, suspension issues, timing chains, head gaskets and many other internal engine issues. Cadillac tells customers it’s acceptable to use quarts of oil between oil changes. Acceptable to whom, I ask? Yet Cadillac keeps on selling.

So, what does Cadillac have that keeps them in business? A great ride, and lots of room. The vehicle is loaded with gadgetry, although I feel there are too many distractions when driving a highly computerized car like a Cadillac. If Cadillac were the ride I was after, I would consider leasing rather than buying.

Some cars are made for the consumer with reliability as a top consideration. In my opinion, for Cadillac, glitz is the No. 1 concern. I don’t feel the Cadillac is the type of car I would want to buy. Now if I liked the Cadillac ride, I would consider leasing one rather than outright purchase.

Car Care Tip: When purchasing a used car, it’s a good idea to do a CARFAX check (carfax.com) on your purchase before you buy it. Also, bring the car to a good independent repair facility. One more thing, don’t let the selling dealer do the state inspection. The dealer has a conflict of interest, and you may be on the hook for the repairs the following year.

Submit car questions to scanauto@aol.com. For more tips and seasonal articles, visit Rte. 1 Auto Service’s Facebook page at facebook.com/Rte-1-Auto-Service, or the shop’s website at rte1autoservice.com. You can hear Larry and his son Scott on WBZ’s NightSide.