Miscommunication on MSN article

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Hey everyone. I had something come up yesterday, and I want to clear it up.

I did an interview a while back for a writer. She was doing an article about ways to avoid overpaying for car repairs. It was an article meant to give folks some basic tips on saving money. Overall I think that the article was a pretty helpful. It was cool for me to be quoted in the article.

That is until I got a billion emails on Monday. Not really a billion, but it sure felt like it. Some of the emails were wondering if I was misquoted or there was a miscommunication. Some where saying that I was NUTS! To be fair, I could see why someone would think that. Here is what was written:

“You need to know when scheduled services are due,” says Charles, mechanic and blogger at HumbleMechanic.com. “You need to know that at 30,000 miles your car needs to have an oil change and the tires rotated so a dishonest mechanic doesn’t do it at 5,000 miles.”

Now, I am not sure if it is the way that it is worded, or the lack of context, but it could read like I am saying “only change your oil every 30,000 miles. There are 2 ways that I think what I said was misunderstood.

  1. It should say 10,000 miles, NOT 30,000 miles. That would follow VW’s recommend service interval.
  2. It would say SERVICE not oil change at 30,000 miles. Think of something like spark plugs. A service interval MIGHT BE 30,000 miles. You would not want to replace them at 5,000.

I am not 100% sure where the miscommunication came. We talked about a lot of things. I may have said something in a confusing way. Or it may be just a simple typo. The problem with folks that live and breathe a topic, they tend to skip over really simple but important things. It is a huge flaw of mine. I am trying to work with her to get the article changed. I want there to be no confusion.

I also had said that people need to follow their owners book. I also said to take what the owners books says with a grain of salt. Giving the example of people that live at the beach may need to replace an air filter more often. Just like in the south US, I replace my pollen filter more than the book says, and more than I would if I still lived in Illinois.

Here is the thing to remember. Many people that write for big publications are writers. I respect the heck out of that. But often times they are writing about a subject they have no background in. My buddy John is a big time pro writer. He writes about video games among a ton of other things. He really know what the hell he is talking about. But often times people writing “5 ways to XYZ” have no clue what they are talking about. That means if there is a typo, they would not know the difference.

Here is a link to the article if you are interested. I spent about 3 hours last night responding to comments. To the point that MSN would not let me comment any more. I guess they thought that I was a spammer. If you read that article, and have any questions about what I said, please contact me, or post in the comments. I will be more than happy to address any issues you may have.

The plus side is, the article drove a ton of traffic to the blog. I like the fact that it helped our community grow.


4 replies
  1. Kenny
    Kenny says:

    Hey Charles, My mechanic tell’s me that 30,000 mile’s between oil change’s is way too much because the viscosity of the oil break’s down too much, making the oil useless, 5000 mile’s for conventional motor oil and 7000 mile’s for full synthetic, but I also believe people are wrong all the time and have a hard time admitting it, including my mechanic, I use full synthetic all the time in both my vehicle’s, what are your thought’s on full synthetic motor oil? Mobile 1 specifically … Kenny…

    • Charles
      Charles says:

      Hey Kenny,
      Your mechanic is 100% correct in telling you that. There was some type of miscommunication between myself and the person that wrote that article. That is the reason I wrote this post we are commenting on.

      You should generally follow the owners manual for your car. My Passat for example is due every 5k miles with full syth. oil. My wife’s Nissan is due every 3750 but does not need syth. I change the oil in both cars every 4k with synthetic oil. I lean on the side of caution when changing my oil.

      New VWs for example are full synthetic oil every 10k miles. I think that a bit long to go on an oil change, but that is what they say to do.

      I used Mobile1 in several cars, and think it is great. I am not sure if it is “better” than other main brands of full synthetic oil. You have fans of most brands. They think their brand is the best. For the most part, if you change the oil when you should, you will be fine.

      I would love to get someone who is a oil expert on to talk about the REAL difference in oils. To me, most are good. But all of them are better than no oil.


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