Changing Your Oil

Regular oil changes play a vital role in maintaining a healthy engine. Whether you take your car to a mechanic, or you decide to service it by yourself, it's important to the longevity of your vehicle.  

Significance of Oil

Modern motors have hundreds of mechanical and electrical components that keep everything running in order. However, if you start to strip away parts one by one, you'll find that the engine itself will still be capable of running. 

Theoretically, it would be possible to reduce the engine to the simplicity of a lawnmower or diesel power generator. The one thing that is critical for the engine to run, aside from fuel, is motor oil.

The way pistons move inside the engine block causes a lot of metal-on-metal friction, which not only wears the parts but also builds up extreme heat. Oil naturally cools the engine down, and by lubricating the engine, it mitigates friction and heat buildup in the first place.

The metal that the engine is made of is prone to corrosion, but the constant oil flow prevents it from rusting. Oil also maintains the internal workings of the engine by collecting impurities inside the oil filter. 

Damage & Wear Risks

Given its vast importance, it's easy to see how any problems with your oil can lead to catastrophic damage to the engine. Two primary causes for concern are low oil level, and oil deterioration. 

It is highly recommended for every owner to check the oil level in their car as often as once a week. The oil level starts at nearly full, and may slowly decrease as you drive. The rate at which your engine uses oil could be an indicator of a mechanical issue, however, it is normal for any car to lose roughly 2 pounds of oil between changes.

Oil deterioration is a natural process caused by constant heat, oxidation, and contamination. When there isn't enough oil in the system, friction between moving parts increases and causes damage. Old oil accumulates too many particles for the filter to handle, and those particles then rub in between moving parts that are already inefficiently lubricated. 

When Should You Change Oil

There are as many answers to this question as there are car owners. While manufacturers state the mileage for regular oil changes in the owner's manual or your vehicle may be equipped with an Oil Monitoring System.  The Oil Monitoring System monitors your vehicle's engine to determine when an oil change is needed. 

A general rule of thumb is to change the oil every 12 months or 6 thousand miles. The quality of oil has significantly improved over years, and it easily lasts that long, while the time limit is a nice reminder to do it regularly.  Each vehicle varies so be sure to consult your Owner's manual or a Certificated Automotive Technician.