• Which one is the right oil for my car? 5W-30, 0W-30 what does it mean?

    Posted on 15, December, 2016

    Which one is the right oil for my car? 5W-30, 0W-30 what does it all mean?


    Viscosity Viscosity Viscosity

    The title of the oil is meant to communicate the type & thickness of the oil at different temperatures (having the correct thickness a.k.a. viscosity is what this article will be mostly about).

    The W in the name 5W-30 standards for Winter and simply means this oil has been tested at colder temperatures.  (Oils without the W in their name i.e. SAE 30 have not been tested for cold weather performance.

    At normal operating temperatures (210°F)  5W-30 and 10W-30 will both flow at a SAE viscosity of 30, but under much colder temperatures 5W-30 will flow at an SAE viscosity of 5.   10W-30 will flow at an SAE viscosity of 100-W30 will flow with a viscosity of zero in cold temperatures(meaning freely, with negligible resistance).

    Oil that is too thick to flow under cold temperatures results in dry starts.  Oil that is able to stay thin under cold conditions and retain it's film strength results in fewer dry starts and much less engine wear.


    The important thing to remember here is that 0W-30, 5W-30 & 10W-30 all flow at the same rate under normal engine operating temperatures.  It’s only under cold start conditions that there is any difference between them.

    Regardless of what car you drive, whether it be a BMW, Audi, MiniCooper, Land Rover, Mercedes or Volvo It’s always best to use oil that is recommended for your engine by the manufacturer.  The oil pump and clearances within your engine have all been designed to handle a specific viscosity of oil to lubricate your engine, so using the correct oil with help ensure proper oil flow and all the benefits that go along with it.

    What’s an oil additive?  A mixture of chemicals usually used to enhance engine oil performance.

    They are often used to achieve additional lubrication, stabilize the oil at higher temperatures, prevent engine wear or reduce fuel consumption.

    Examples: Liquid Molly,Lucas conditioner, Bestline.

    What’s the different between crude oil, original, full synthetic ,synthetic blend?

    Crude oil: The black stuff they find in the ground (not used in cars in this form)

    Original/conventional: Refined crude oil consisting of a certain fraction separated by weight.

    Full Synthetic: Chemical compounds wholly manufactured and separated into homogenous petroleum molecules of a specific size and weight.

    Synthetic blend:  A mixture of conventional motor oil & synthetic.

    Synthetic oil offers more protection than conventional oil and can stand higher heat before breaking down.

    Not all Synthetic oils are created equal and their formulas/ingredients can vary widely from brand to brand.

    While synthetic oils are far more expensive than conventional oil, they usually provide better engine protection than conventional oil or synthetic blends.

    If you drive a VW, BMW, Audi, Mini Cooper, Land Rover, Mercedes or Volvo made within the last 15 years, your car probably requires synthetic oil, but always be sure to check with your cars service manual.

  • Why cleaning your Drains is important for your VW, BMW, Audi

    Posted on 21, September, 2016

    Why servicing your Drains is important for your VW/BMW/Audi


    First off lets get the terminology straight.  Passages, Ducts, or Drains are interchangeable terms to describe a series of tubes and passages within the frame of your car specifically designed to channel water that lands on your roof and windshield down to the street below.


    Cleaning out these passages to keep them free from obstructions and clogs is absolutely essential for keeping your VW in good working order.  Falling leaves, flowers, dust, dirty and other objects accumulate in and around these passages over time.

    Should any of these passages on your Volkswagen become clogged, water that normally flows down to the street can be redirected to the interior of your car, causing not only a musty wet smell that is unhealthy, but also electrical issues.

    The wiring harness on many VW’s is susceptible to corrosion if water is allowed to accumulate within the vehicle.

    So as a quick tip from a professional, a few dollars in preventative maintenance can save you thousands of dollars in electrical wiring and computer repairs.


    Passage locations vary on different vehicles, but here are some of the most common areas to find your passages.

    1. The sun roof.  There are two small holes that run from the channel your sunroof moves across down along the pillars of your car to the street below
    2. Base of the windshield.  There is also a major channel at the base of your windshield which redirects all the water from your windshield down away from your engine compartment to the street below. 
    3. By The trunk. Under the seam of your trunk.
    4. In your engine compartment Under the battery


    These passages most often become clogged with leaves and other debris.  So if your parking on the street under trees, be vigalent in keeping your passages clean.

    It’s important to be delicate while have your passages cleaned.  Using too much air pressure can cause the tubes to separate turning a small leak into a large leak.  Consider using L&M Foreign Cars.  We’ve been providing basic maintenance on Volkswagen, Audi, BMW, Land Rover, Mini Cooper, Mercedes, Volvo and Porsche for over 45 years.  So Call us today! Or schedule and appointment online!

  • The Problem with Direct Injection – Coked Up Valves

    Posted on 24, August, 2016

    The Problem with Direct Injection – Coked Up Valves

    What is Direct Injection?

    Direct injection technology has changed the way fuel efficiency is achieved, and it’s a method Volkswagen has wholeheartedly embraced in a bunch of their vehicles. They were introduced into the VW lineup beginning in the early 2000’s with the Jetta, Golf, and Audi A4. Now, direct injection is commonplace. You can tell which vehicle has direction with the acronym after the name – GDI, TFSI, FSI, and TSI are all varieties of direct injection.


    Direct injection means exactly that: the fuel is injected directly into the combustion chamber. It’s unlike other fuel injection styles that spray fuel in the intake to mix with air BEFORE entering the cylinders. That achieves better power production and improved fuel efficiency, all because more air can flow into the engine’s cylinders.

    Drawbacks of DI

    There’s a drawback to direct injection, though. In a typical fuel injection model, the air/fuel mixture passes over the intake valves, keeping them clean and operating smoothly. In a direct injection engine, the detergent-laden fuel doesn’t pass over the valves at all, only air.

    Over time, carbon buildup and oily sludge can form on the intake valves, which can make the valves stick, not seal completely, or not lift as high. It’s known as being coked up. That will end up being troublesome if it’s not attended to.


    Symptoms of Coked-Up Valves

    If your VW engine has direct injection, chances are good that over time your valves will experience carbon buildup. You’ll first notice that there could be a light misfire or rough run, and your Check Engine light will come on occasionally. When it gets really bad, you’ll have a dead miss in your engine and you’ll notice you have poor acceleration.

    In really bad cases, pieces of the carbon can break off and find their way through the engine and into the exhaust where they embed in the catalytic converter. A tiny piece of carbon can cause your cat to burn out, and it will need to be replaced alongside your engine repair.

    How to Deal with Coked-Up Valves

    The best course of action is to prevent it from becoming a problem. Regular maintenance for direct injection engines should include a course of intake cleaning at least every 50,000 miles. A reputable shop (like L & M Foreign Cars) will have a product to professionally treat the issue so it doesn’t affect your performance.


    If you have the symptoms already, running the engine treatment may not be enough. The intake manifold has to be removed and the valves have to be manually cleaned. It’s a pretty big job and it’s specialized, so you’re going to need a knowledgeable technician to do it for you, and definitely someone who’s familiar with Volkswagen engines.

     Serving Brooklyn and the surrounding area, L & M Foreign Cars is the place to trust for your VW direct injection valve cleaning and repairs. We know your Volkswagen and have the tools and equipment to take care of whatever you might need, just like the VW dealer but without the excessive costs. 

  • Common Valve Cover Gasket Leaks

    Posted on 05, August, 2016

    Common Valve Cover Gasket Leaks

    If you drive a VW Passat, Golf, Jetta, or GTi, you’ve probably asked one question at some time or another: “Why is my valve cover gasket leaking AGAIN?!?” It’s little consolation, but you’re not the only one, my friend.

    Your VW may have the 1.8-liter turbo engine or the 2.0-liter motor. You might even have the 3.0-liter V6. Engine size doesn’t really seem to matter much here. You might start seeing an oil drip from the backside of your engine when you’re underneath changing the oil. You might notice a burnt oil smell or wisps of smoke from the engine compartment. And, on closer inspection, you’ll trace it to the back of your cylinder head right at the top.


    Whether it’s never been replaced, it was replaced a few years back, or just a few months ago doesn’t factor in much either. It’s frustrating why it occurs so regularly.

     Valve cover gaskets are contructed of rubber or cork.  They leak because  all rubber gaskets eventually deteriorate, become hard and lose their elasticity over time. Valve cover gaskets are particularly prone to failing due to the constant heating and cooling cycles of your engine that occur between when your VW is running and when it is not.


    The valve cover gasket surface may not have been cleaned properly.

    When the valve cover gasket on your Volkswagen is replaced, the surface on both the cylinder head and the valve cover need to be immaculate. Totally spotless. Any dirt or oil at all and you could be looking at a completely wasted job that needs to be redone soon after. A professional repair facility that knows Volkswagens (like us at L & M Foreign Cars) is also aware of how particular this step is to preventing a recurring leak.

    Replacing the valve cover gasket correctly takes an experienced VW mechanic.
    Replacing valve covers can be quite challenging.  It appears to be simple, but in reality this particular repair takes quite a bit of finesse.  Knowing exactly where to put a little extra silicone, or which adhesive to use at which point in the repair takes an experienced Volkswagen technician.  Even once you’ve got it back in place, the bolts need to be tightened in the correct order and pattern using the correct amount of torque, and if the bolts are aluminum they’ll need to be replaced at the same time.

    There may be an outside cause of the valve cover gasket leak.

    On Volkswagen models, there’s a component called a suction jet pump on the intake manifold. It operates like a PCV (positive crankcase ventilation) valve, relieving pressure in the crankcase so oil seals don’t blow out.

    Unfortunately, if this suction jet pump stops working, it accelerates the potential for blowing out seals like the valve cover gasket. The passages in the suction jet pump get blocked by oil sludge and the pressure builds up with nowhere else to go.

    A reputable shop (such as ours) knows about this and won’t replace the valve cover gasket without checking the suction jet pump as well.

    It might not be the valve cover gasket.

    Another possibility, aside from the valve cover gasket, is the cam adjuster seal. It’s on the back of the engine right by the valve cover and looks almost exactly like a valve cover gasket leak.

    The cam adjuster seal is a bigger job than the valve cover gasket alone. It requires special tools and some VW-specific knowledge to get it right, and from your history, you don’t want to be tackling this problem again anytime soon.

    If your valve cover gasket is leaking, or if it appears your VW valve cover gasket is leaking, why not have VW experts check it out for you? At L & M Foreign Cars, we know your Volkswagen better than anyone. We know what it takes to get it fixed right and at a price you can afford.

  • Volkswagen Exhaust Rattling? We Can Help!

    Posted on 07, July, 2016

    Volkswagen Exhaust Rattling? We Can Help!

    Do you get an annoying buzz or rattle underneath your VW when you go over even the slightest of bumps? Or is your exhaust tailpipe hanging lower than it should be, swaying around from side to side?

    You’ve probably got one of the typical Volkswagen exhaust issues.

    Some of the most common problems you can experience are broken exhaust hangers, and broken exhaust hander hooks.  Exhaust hangers are rubber loops that hold your muffler and exhaust pipe up off the ground There’s usually more than one, depending on the vehicle of course, but each one bears a some of weight from your Volkswagen exhaust system.  Exhaust Hanger hooks are simply the metal hooks that slip into the rubber hangers.  They are welded alongside  the entire exahaust system.

    Old dried out Exhaust Hanger      Broken Exhaust Hanger Hook

                                     Good Exhaust Hanger & Hook

    Over time, the rubber deteriorates. Small cracks form from weathering and from the exhaust heat, and the exhaust hanger can tear. It may only tear partially or it may tear all the way, resulting in more stress being distributed  on other exhaust components elsewhere in the system. The exhaust system sways around, rattling against the undercarriage or other parts, and can quite possibly drive you totally insane inside your car.

    Exhaust hangers can be replaced, restoring the proper positioning and eliminating unnecessary stress on other parts. The other possibility, however, is the exhaust hanger bracket can rust off of the exhaust, whether the muffler or the exhaust pipe. That requires either a re-weld or more likely a muffler or exhaust pipe replacement.

    If the problem you have is a buzzing noise under your car, particularly at low RPMs, and oh-so-much worse when you go through a fast-food drive thru window (it resonates off the wall), it’s probably a loose heat shield.

    There are heat shields along several critical points on your exhaust system, from the downpipe near the firewall to the catalytic converter and over the muffler. You might think of just taking it off to rid yourself of the noise, but repairing the condition will serve you much better in the long run.

    It’s best to address your exhaust issues right away – exhaust repairs get more expensive over time, and here’s why:

    • Stress on your exhaust from a broken hanger can cause more expensive parts to break. What could be a minimal repair initially could cost you hundreds or more if the catalytic converter breaks because of the stress.
    • Exhaust shields protect other components from excessive heat. If they aren’t in place, you could be causing damage to safety-related parts such as brake lines.
    • Low-hanging exhaust systems can get dinged or caught on speed bumps or damaged from dragging. A simple exhaust hanger repair can prevent unnecessary repairs down the line.

    Does your Volkswagen have an exhaust rattle that’s driving you crazy? Whether you drive a Jetta or Passat, Tiguan or Touareg, we’ve got you covered. Our professional technicians have experience working on VWs of all years and models, and know the particular issues that plague each one.

    For expert Volkswagen exhaust repairs in Brooklyn and the surrounding area, visit us at L & M Foreign Cars.