Many people overlook the importance of doing a regular oil change. Perhaps it’s because they think, if it doesn’t cost much it’s probably not that important. That is a big mistake! Oil is a critical factor in keeping your engine in good shape and avoiding major–as in, major, car repair problems.
You can understand oil’s importance in three ways. First, it ensures that your car’s engine works smoothly and efficiently. That saves you money on gas, too. Add to that, it keeps your car running cool. The motor builds up a lot of heat; without enough oil the metal could start melting and would overheat. Third, it prevents carbon from building up and causing problems. With time and use your oil will start to break down and lose it’s ability to protect your engine. This is because of the extreme heat of your motor. Motor oil also has additives which enable it to neutralize acids. When you check your oil, you will see it slowly get dirtier, which creates more friction–not good. That happens due to absorption of water, byproducts of combustion and even dust. This also can cause corrosion if you go too long before oil change.
What is the Best Oil?
As you’ve probably noticed, there are many types of oil you can buy. Luckily, it’s not that difficult to decide which one is best for you. Best thing is to check your owner’s manual. There you will find the weight of oil to use. This is shown as 5-20w, 10-30w, 40w, or any combination. Usually, it’s best to get one with a “dash” between two of the numbers, since it gives you a range for different weather conditions.
How Often Should You Get an Oil Change?
Until recently it was recommended it be done every 3,000 miles. However, the issue is raised whether to base that decision on mileage or time, since it was last done. It’s best to base your decision on mileage, because driving has a much bigger effect on the effectiveness of the motor oil. You can extend the time between oil changes and cut your labor cost in half by using synthetic oil. That will last twice as long. You should, however, not switch between that and regular oil. You should also be sure that it’s not a “blend” of both, since that defeats the purpose. Keep your eye out for specials at your favorite auto parts and accessory store and you can usually save some money. Bring your purchase to your mechanic and that won’t add to your oil cost, since the shop usually adds a little profit there, as well.
Another consideration in deciding frequency of an oil change is if you have a “lead foot” or like to speed or suddenly accelerate; if you live in a very cold or very hot climate; if you frequently drive on dirt roads; your engine is old or burns oil; or you frequently carry heavy loads.
Along with this, you should be sure to pick up an oil filter. That gets changed every time you do an oil change.
Changing your oil isn’t that complicated, but I prefer to find an auto repair shop near me. It’s just a lot easier and worth the price.