We hear it from our parents when we first get our license. Mechanics put little stickers as a reminder on our windshield. Over and over we’re nagged to get our oil changed. But why does everyone insist it’s so important? This article will hopefully give you those answers and get you onboard with getting your car’s oil changed regularly.
What is an oil change for, exactly?
Simply put, oil is used in cars to lubricate the instruments. The lubrication is important to prevent friction, especially since our engines are designed with elements rubbing against each other to create energy. Because the engine demands so much use from the oil, eventually the chemical construction of the motor oil breaks down and can no longer provide lubrication. Without the lubrication, engine parts are rubbing directly against each other, the results of which can cause severe damage and, ultimately, stop working altogether. Therefore, old, less effective oil needs to be drained and new, fresh oil needs to be added to ensure proper lubrication.
We all know that you need to get your oil changed ever 3,000 – 5,000 miles, but why?
They always seem to tack on an extra charge that you weren’t expecting. If you look in your car’s manual it’ll suggest how often you should get your oil changed, but it won’t let on to the secret as to why. Luckily, getting your oil changed is one of the least expensive auto maintenance services your car needs. Despite it being relatively inexpensive, having your oil changed regularly and on schedule plays a critical role in preserving your vehicle and saving you money.
Oil is the lifeblood of your vehicle. It keeps the many components of the engine working efficiently, and it helps reduce the accumulation of varnish and carbon from collecting on the engine. As you’re aware, the engine can get very hot from the thousands of small explosions taking place every minute; oil helps pull the heat away from the combustion chamber essentially preventing the engine from blowing up. As oil collects heat, varnish and carbons during the course of protecting and keeping the engine running smoothly, it eventually becomes less like liquid and more like sludge. No matter how good the oil is, eventually it degrades as the additives get used up. That’s when you should have your oil changed.
How often and what kind of oil should be used? It will depend on the type of oil you choose to use, what kind of car, and how often you drive. This is where your owner’s manual will come in handy. The old adage suggests every 3 months or 3,000 miles. The amount of mileage you drive is more important than the amount of time. You may go on a road trip and burn through a few thousand miles in a few weeks, or it may take five months before you reach the recommended mileage. Pay attention to the odometer and how you’ve been driving your vehicle. Driving in extreme weather or towing a lot of weight behind your car will affect your oil too.