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Unread 03-17-2013, 12:26 PM   #1
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A few regular maintenance questions

1. Sea Foam -- Is it beneficial to use, why, and how often should you?

2. How often should I replace my air filter?

3. How long should a set of windshield wipers last in general? I feel like mine die prematurely regularly, even if I prop them up when it snows/ices.


I drive a 2007 Toyota Corolla, if that's relevant.

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Unread 03-17-2013, 12:36 PM   #2
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1. Never used it. Heard mixed results, from it doing nothing to it doing something positive but barely noticeable.

2. As often as it is dirty and clogged. Depending on the climate and local sand/dirt conditions, every 10k to 25k miles is normal.

3. Again, climate and use dependent. I seem to replace them once per year, but I remember back-in-the-day (yeah, I feel old now...) a set of wiper blades would seemingly last a decade or more. I'm convinced that wiper blade quality has dropped like a big anchor.
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Unread 03-17-2013, 01:00 PM   #3
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I believe conventional wisdom on air filters is 10k. That being said, I've gone with K&Ns on both of my cars. $40-$50 a piece, but they're designed to never be replaced. You just clean them every 100k or something like that.
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Unread 03-17-2013, 01:08 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gtrdave View Post
1. Never used it. Heard mixed results, from it doing nothing to it doing something positive but barely noticeable.

2. As often as it is dirty and clogged. Depending on the climate and local sand/dirt conditions, every 10k to 25k miles is normal.

3. Again, climate and use dependent. I seem to replace them once per year, but I remember back-in-the-day (yeah, I feel old now...) a set of wiper blades would seemingly last a decade or more. I'm convinced that wiper blade quality has dropped like a big anchor.
1. Hm. I took a stab at using it yesterday for the first time since buying my car about 50,000~ miles ago or so, and I guess I'll find out. I just realized after I bought it that I was only going off rumors of some I know that toss around the name Sea Foam like it's a godsend, but I have no idea if they're right.

2. Cool, then I'm on somewhat the right track. I generally have every 15k or so, so I'll keep that up or give it a little longer, depending on how it looks.

3. Yeah, non-car people about my age tell me they should (theoretically) last 1.5-2yrs, but I've never seen a set of mine last even a year. Maybe it's just my car's design and the large wipers it uses, but it seems like it should last longer. My hope here is to hear from people who have more experience (like yourself) and at least get some idea of the right ballpark.

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I believe conventional wisdom on air filters is 10k. That being said, I've gone with K&Ns on both of my cars. $40-$50 a piece, but they're designed to never be replaced. You just clean them every 100k or something like that.
I keep debating back and forth on whether or not go with the K&N... Some people I know are diehard for, and others say they're not worth the hype (or the money). As a non-car person, it's hard to discern the right option.
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Unread 03-17-2013, 01:16 PM   #5
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I've been pretty happy with them. I think some of it really depends on how long you plan on using the vehicle. $50 for an air filter sounds like a lot, but I figure $50 = 4 conventional filters, and if I'm replacing filters once every 10K, then I get my money back after 50,000 miles.
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Unread 03-17-2013, 02:14 PM   #6
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I got my k&n off Craigslist for $20. Some guy totaled his truck and was parting it out.

My wiper blades last about 6-10 months. I've found that the more you pay for wiper blades, the longer they last. I bought some Rain-X premium ones for a Buy 1 Get 1 sell and they lasted almost 2 years.
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Unread 03-17-2013, 02:37 PM   #7
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I've been using K&N or similar air filters in many of my cars for decades.
A little higher initial cost (plus oil and cleaner...which is just Fantastic) ends up being a much better deal in the long run and offers (depending on who you talk to) a little better mileage and/or performance depending on your driving habits).
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Unread 03-18-2013, 07:31 AM   #8
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I replace the air filters every year at the same time. I figure I drive about 15K miles per year so if I change them at roughly the same time every year, it works without me having to remember the mileage.

Wiper blades usually last me about nine months to a year. Sometimes they wear quicker, though. I have a feeling I am going to need to replace the current ones quicker as we had a lot of snow this year. Both I and my wife have a bad habit of not defrosting the window. Then, we use the washer fluid to remove the ice since it has the de-icer in it. In my experience when the rubber runs over the bumpy ice, it wears them quicker.

I have no idea about the Sea Foam.
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Unread 03-18-2013, 10:27 PM   #9
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I've had good results with sea foam. I usually run a concentrated mix for a short period of time. I've also heard rumor of bad side effects, although nothing super specific. I'd say it's fine to use and works as a fuel injector cleaner, but I wouldn't use it all the time. A better use of time and money may be finding a gas station near you that doesn't put ethanol in their fuel. Pure-gas.org can help you with that.

Replace wiper blades whenever they suck.


Washable filters are good, but I've also seen people have bad results after use of the filter oil stuff... If you use too much of it, it can travel downstream to whatever air-mass sensor/AFM/air metering device your car has and cause a few hiccups. Use sparingly. An Alpha-N setup would be unaffected, of course. Paper filters are cheap, and you won't see any real performance gain with a 50-dollar filter. I usually clean paper filters by pulling them out and banging most of the crud out on the ground. Compressed air can help, if you have compressor acces.
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Unread 03-21-2013, 10:44 AM   #10
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1. I've tried Sea Foam Carb Cleaner, works great. Not as harsh on rubber parts as conventional carb cleaner.
If you're talking about fuel additives, and you have fuel injection, as opposed to a carburetor on your rig, They are a good idea every other or every third tank or so to help clean deposits from your injectors, Intake & valves (if carbureted)
Normally I clean injectors in the vehicle, as part of a tune up, so I don't use fuel additives. I wish they had an additive that removed Ethanol!
2. I replace air filters when they are visually dirty. Throwing away good air filters because of time in service is a waste IMO. K&N Filters rock. I have them on our street sweeper and our Police Harleys.
3. Wiper vary in quality widely. Price does not guarantee quality. Length of service for wiper refills is always dismal, in my experience. I usually end up replacing them every fall, or when they are needed. A lot of variables in what your wipers have to endure, compared to everyone else's.
I maintain a fleet of about 65 vehicles for my city, including Police, Fire, Public Works, and other City vehicles.
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Unread 04-09-2013, 05:13 PM   #11
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Replace your wiper blades when they even start to get questionable. Clean the rubber with a bit of isopropyl alcohol and it can extend their life a tiny bit by making them cleaner, but alcohol is hard on rubber and will eventually make it brittle. If you use de-icer washer fluid (or similar products) that have methanol in the formula that'll exacerbate things. Even still wipers aren't that expensive and along with tires, headlights and brakes they are your first line of safety on the road when the conditions actually go south. Don't cheap out and get crappy ones and don't try to overextend their life. Even expensive wipers are < $40 per set and most car insurance deductibles are $250-500. hmm....

For what it's worth I like the Rain-X latitude and the Bosch Icon type wipers, they seem to hold up very well and it's amazing how good they are compared to traditional blades.

Seafoam can be quite helpful, but make sure to read the directions and use the right amount. It'll make your car run poorly if you run too much because of the increased octane & solvent.

Ethanol in the fuel doesn't matter, I don't care what all the armchair ricky racers on the motorcycle boards say Ben. Unless your car was built before ~1986 and can't handle ethanol in the fuel system (due to the type of seals) it's not an issue. 10% ethanol in your gasoline means you're getting 3% less total energy per gallon (ethanol is 30% less power dense than gasoline) however it has some beneficial properties of being cooler burning and reducing detonation, etc. If your car gets 30mpg 3% is .9mpg difference. That means that on a 15 gallon tank you could potentially lose 13.5 miles, however most people vary 2-5mpg based on driving style and traffic alone, so it's virtually unnoticeable.

I can tell you that I certainly don't have a problem with ethanol free gas, but specifically going out of your way or searching it out is a waste of time & energy IMO.

With the filter, K&N says 50k between cleanings on a paved road car, but it could be more often. Basically when you can't see parts of the wires, clean it. As mentioned previously it can be bad if they are cleaned improperly and over-oiled because too much oil can foul the MAF wires and cause your car to throw check engine lights.
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Unread 05-03-2013, 12:41 AM   #12
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Ethanol in the fuel doesn't matter, I don't care what all the armchair ricky racers on the motorcycle boards say Ben. Unless your car was built before ~1986 and can't handle ethanol in the fuel system (due to the type of seals) it's not an issue. 10% ethanol in your gasoline means you're getting 3% less total energy per gallon (ethanol is 30% less power dense than gasoline) however it has some beneficial properties of being cooler burning and reducing detonation, etc. If your car gets 30mpg 3% is .9mpg difference. That means that on a 15 gallon tank you could potentially lose 13.5 miles, however most people vary 2-5mpg based on driving style and traffic alone, so it's virtually unnoticeable.

I can tell you that I certainly don't have a problem with ethanol free gas, but specifically going out of your way or searching it out is a waste of time & energy IMO.
Have you seen what ethanol fuel does to the composite fuel tanks that Ducati and Aprilia are using? It ain't pretty... I'll give you a hint. It looks like they are literally melting. The same tanks don't seem to have issues in nations where ethanol isn't added to the fuel...

Energy-wise, I have no issue with it. Your math is good. The fact that it turns to goop if left to sit for a while, and actively attacks certain plastics are concerning.


Also, my car was made in August of '89. I'm willing to bet that my already deteriorating seals don't need any accelerant.
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