Why Your Car Needs an Oil Change

February 18, 2016 - Repairs
Why Your Car Needs an Oil Change

Maintaining your vehicle is important. One of the easiest, and most inexpensive, ways to do that is to have an oil change. This relatively low-cost substance plays a vital role in your engine’s well-being. By taking the time to have your car serviced, you will end up saving more money in the end.

What It Means to Your Car

To understand how an oil change can save you money, you must first understand what this lubricant does for your car. In the modern engine, it serves three main purposes. It works to draw heat away from the combustion chamber and prevent carbon buildup inside the engine. In addition, the substance works to help keep all the components operating smoothly. When it gets old and dirty, the lubricant does not protect the engine as well and can actually make it work harder and run less efficiently.

What Type Should You Use

Now that you understand why an oil change is important, you have the daunting task of determining what type to use. Documentation that accompanied your vehicle will state what viscosity you should use, for example 10W-30. If you do not have the owner’s manual, this information should be located on the reservoir cap or an information slip located under the hood.

While you must use the appropriate viscosity for your car, there is the question of conventional vs synthetic. While conventional substances are created from petroleum, synthetics are created from chemicals. You may think that makes the synthetic a better choice for your environmental impact. Sadly, both types have similar impacts on the environment. Despite synthetics costing more, it really is the lesser of two evils for one reason: mileage. You will not get the same number of miles out of conventional oil as you will synthetic.

How Often Should You Service Your Car

The general rule for an oil change has always been every 3 months or 3,000 miles, whichever comes first. You want your car to run in top condition, so you want to get rid of the old lubricant as soon as possible. That is because conventional substances do not last as long.

Thanks to technology, the synthetic brands run cleaner, although not necessarily greener, for longer periods. This means you can go 5,000 or even 7,000 miles before your next service. There are some newer synthetic brands on the market that advertise anywhere from 10,000 to 20,000 between services, but that is for drivers who go short distances in clean climates.

If you travel long distances at a time or drive in dusty, dirty environments, then you should have your oil changed more frequently. It is important to remember the environment you live and drive in will affect the lubricant in your car. Factors like towing objects and extreme heat also play a part.

What Happens If You Don’t

If you do not have your car serviced, eventually carbon deposits will build up in cooler parts of your engine. If you are lucky, you will simply have to replace worn-out piston rings, which can still be expensive. However, it can get worse. An engine that runs too long with dirty or insufficient oil can eventually throw a rod, possibly even putting a hole in the engine. This is much more costly. It is best to have your car serviced regularly.

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