The Importance of an engine oil change
Life gets hectic and despite all the time you spend behind the wheel driving to work or running errands, the thought of getting a car oil change may never quite make it to the top of your to-do list. Then one day, you realize you’ve pushed thousands of miles past the recommended “next mileage” reminder staring at you from the windshield sticker–or worse yet, your car screams out to you with a not-to-be-ignored red warning light.
Getting an oil change might seem like a hassle, but it isn’t something you should ignore.
There is a lot of conflicting information floating around about how often to perform a car oil change. To understand what’s best for your vehicle, check your owner’s manual for the recommended oil change guidelines. Then, set a reminder on your smart phone or elsewhere in addition to the sticker on your windshield to ensure you don’t stray from your car’s oil change schedule. Recommendations for most of today’s cars range anywhere from 5,000 to 20,000 miles.
While you’re checking the manual for how often to perform a car oil change, check what viscosity of oil is recommended as well. While engine oil can be either straight-weight or multi-weight viscosity, few straight-weight oils are available today as most automakers recommend multi-weight. The only difference is the addition of a viscosity-improving additive. The numbers describing a multi-grade oil tell you the difference in viscosity between cold and warm operating temperatures. The W after the first number stands for winter. The most common oil used in car oil changes today is 5W/30, but follow manufacturer guidelines for your particular car.
Changing car oil too frequently has its downsides. It’s not good for the environment and going more miles between oil changes means you are reducing your cost of maintenance over the lifetime of your car. But there are also very important reasons not to forget a car oil change.
When you drive your car, the oil undergoes a thermal breakdown because of the engine’s high operating temperature. Once this occurs, the oil in your car becomes less effective as a lubricant, causing more engine wear and tear.
Oil can also absorb things from the atmosphere, like dust, engine byproducts, and even water. Over time, the oil can become saturated with these impurities to the point it can no longer absorb them and the gunk just settles into your engine, causing erosion. Oil also contains additives important for neutralizing acids. Go too long between oil changes and these additives become less effective.
Your car oil change may seem like a bother or an additional expense you would rather do without. But ignore your car oil change, and you are likely to have lost a lot more money and time with extended and costly engine repairs. So be kind to your car and get its oil changed on time by a trained professional using quality oil products.