Oil specified by carmaker a must

Ask the Auto Doctor


I own a 2015 Infiniti Q50. The owner’s manual calls for an ester-based motor oil. This oil is very expensive. Is there any other oil I can use? I understand that Mobil 1 Synthetic has an ester-base. Can conventional motor be used and will it do the job?

— Joe


The oil required on your Infiniti is not the regular oil found on store shelves. You have to use the oil that is specified for the engine. Anything less will affect wear on the internal engine parts. If you want to use regular oil, then it would be best to purchase a vehicle that does not require a high-level of protection oil. I’d like to see your Q50’s engine live a good life without costing you internal repairs.


I just purchased a 2018 Honda CR-V. The steering wheel is about 5 degrees off center. The car rides straight with no pulling, however the steering wheel has to be turned clockwise a small amount to stay straight (if I take my hands off the wheel the car goes perfectly straight as long as the steering wheel was turned slightly clockwise before letting go). If the steering wheel is held straight and aligned visually with the dashboard then the vehicle goes to the left. The dealer service writer said nothing is wrong and that small amount can’t be corrected. It’s annoying to me.

— Bill


This service department response is the craziest statement I’ve heard! That’s like me aligning your car and leaving the steering wheel off and telling you it’s the best I can do. The dealer should align the vehicle. They’ll get paid for the work by the manufacturer. I would insist on them aligning the CR-V to get the steering straight like it should be.


I recently bought a 2017 Nissan Pathfinder. I’m hoping you can help with a question about keyless ignitions. In the old “key” days, a driver could turn the key from the engine running to the accessory position without losing the radio signal. Is there a way on the keyless systems to switch from engine running to the accessory position — without going to “off” and then to accessory?

— Bob


If there is a way I am not aware of it. On both of my keyless cars we have to shut the engine off and then just give a push to the accessory position.


I see that Honda has re-introduced the hybrid version of the Accord. Have you driven it yet, and if so, what are your impressions?

— Roger


My thoughts on hybrid vehicles were not something I would have recommended in the past, nor electric vehicles. Times have changed — as have my opinions on these vehicles. I drove the Accord Hybrid and got gas mileage averaging 47 mpg. Power and smoothness were amazing, and the ride was firm but not harsh. When I heard that Honda dropped the V-6 for the new 2018 Accord I was skeptical about the decision, however the new turbo powered four-cylinder engines actually outperform the older V-6 engines while providing better gas mileage and cleaner emissions. So if you’re thinking of a new Accord Hybrid version, I think you’ll be impressed on your test-drive.


I’m looking for a large SUV. What can you tell me about the performance on the 2018 Ford Expedition?

— Jack


The 2018 Expedition is lighter than the previous model, due in part to aluminum body panels and components. Gone is the 5.4-liter V-8 in favor of the twin-turbo V-6 EcoBoost that makes 375 horsepower. The Expedition MAX model makes 400 horsepower. Both are mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission. I drove the MAX version. The powertrain is very powerful, the transmission is seamless and allows the engine to be below 3,000 rpm, unless the driver is under hard or full throttle. I found the sweet spot around 2,200 rpm where the power is abundant. I averaged just over 21 mpg and the trip range with a full tank of gas is over 550 miles. I never thought I would like a V-6 compared to the good old V-8, but the turbocharged V-6 is the future of power.

Junior Damato is an ASE-certified Master Technician.

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