Q. When I first start my car in the morning, I hear a ticking noise coming from the engine. It's a 2003 Ford Escape Limited with a V-6 engine and 70,000 miles. It goes away after 30 seconds or less and doesn't do it upon subsequent warm startups, like after a visit to the grocery store. I've changed oil on a routine basis, but just to be sure I didn't get inferior oil or the wrong weight put in on the last oil change, I had it changed again at the Ford dealer using their super blend oil. That didn't help -- it still does the "ticking" noise on cold starts.
Is this something serious to worry about? I've heard differing opinions. What could be the problem and how can I get it properly diagnosed?
A. Good question, John! It really depends on how severe the noise is and how long it lasts. It sounds, from your description, like you have a lifter or two that is bleeding down when the car sits overnight. When you start it cold it takes a few
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Q. I have a 2001 Buick Regal which, I understand, should take 4.5 quarts of oil on an oil change, not five quarts. Is the higher amount harmful to the engine? It does read considerably over the full mark on the dip stick when this happens.
A. You are correct on the oil capacity for your car; it is 4.5 quarts. If it is over filled by half a quart, it should not hurt anything, but I would take it back to the oil change shop and have the level adjusted to the proper level.
It is always hard to know exactly how much oil is too much, so it's best to get it right on the nose. While the oil level being exactly on the line is not as critical on your car, it is extremely critical on some of the newer vehicles. The oil level has to be right or it can set computer codes in newer models, and in fact some of the hybrids won't even start.
As long as we are talking about oil, let me use this opportunity to remind our readers not only of the importance of keeping the
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