As a car owner, you know that routine maintenance is essential and that regular oil changes are part of good auto maintenance. Many car owners wonder how frequently to change their oil, though. In this blog, we’ll discuss the importance of regular oil changes. We’ll also discuss how waiting too long between oil changes can damage your vehicle.
Let’s dive in.
Why are Regular Oil Changes Important?
Regular oil changes are critical to the maintenance of your vehicle. Here are just a few of the benefits that frequent oil changes provide for your car, truck, or SUV:
- Lubrication. Engine oil lubricates your engine’s moving parts and prevents heat buildup from damaging the engine. Over time, though, the oil breaks down and becomes less efficient at lubrication, which leads your engine to experience increased friction. Investing in regular oil changes helps your engine stay adequately lubricated and cool enough to avoid damage.
- Fuel economy. Did you know that fresh, clean synthetic oil reduces friction in your engine, which allows the engine to operate as efficiently as possible? The more efficiently your engine runs, the better your fuel economy. Regular oil changes help your engine operate at peak efficiency, saving you money on gas in the long run.
- Fewer auto repair appointments. By lubricating your engine properly, engine oil extends your engine’s lifespan and protects its various wear parts. Neglecting to change your oil, however, can cause increased wear and damage to your engine components, which can cause expensive repairs and, in extreme cases, engine failure.
In some cases, especially with older vehicles, the engine may burn oil as it operates. Routine oil changes are even more important for these vehicles since a lack of oil can cause the engine to seize up or blow.
What Happens During an Oil Change?
Is an oil change as simple as swapping out fluids? Does the mechanic inspect any other systems in the process? What actually goes on under the hood?
Here’s a quick rundown of how the oil change procedure works:
- When you take your car in for an oil change, the technician will start by lifting the vehicle up or going down into a pit underneath it.
- Next, the technician will check the oil level and condition to identify any problem areas.
- The technician will remove the oil drain plug, which allows the old oil to drain into a leak-proof container.
- While the old oil drains, the technician will remove and inspect the car’s oil filter and, if needed, replace it with a new one.
- Once the new oil filter is in place, the technician will replace the drain plug and refill the engine with the proper grade of oil for your vehicle. While it may not seem like a big deal, using the wrong oil grade can reduce your gas mileage by about 1-2%, so oil change technicians know it’s essential to choose the right oil weight.
- The entire oil change process takes about 15-30 minutes.
Once the technician completes the oil change, they’ll provide you with a bill and a new oil change sticker, and you’ll be on your way!
How Often Should You Change Your Oil?
Experts used to recommend that you change your oil every 3,000 miles. Today, however, that recommendation isn’t a one-size-fits-all rule.
The recommended oil change interval varies depending on various factors, including your car’s make and model, your driving habits and conditions, and the type of oil you use in your engine.
Generally, most modern vehicles should have their oil changed every 5,000-7,500 miles or at least once every 6-12 months.
If you drive in extreme conditions, like dusty and dirty roads, stop-and-go traffic, or extreme temperatures, however, you may need to change your oil more frequently.
We recommend consulting your owner’s manual to find the ideal oil change interval for your vehicle.
Most new vehicles have oil life monitoring systems, which calculate the ideal time for an oil change based on driving conditions, temperature, and engine load. If your car has this feature, follow its recommendations to ensure efficient operation.
Note: Engine oil, like most things, has a shelf-life. Many drivers don’t know that engine oil can “age out,” even if a vehicle doesn’t get driven.
Here’s an example:
Say you have a classic car that mostly sits in a garage and gets driven a few times a year.
In that case, you may need to change your oil before you hit the mileage recommendation for your specific car. Generally, conventional motor oil is good for about five years and should be changed before it breaks down.
What Happens if You Don’t Change Your Oil?
Your engine will suffer if you don’t invest in regular oil changes and other preventative maintenance. Here are a few of the side effects you could expect:
- Engine damage. Dirty or insufficient oil can’t lubricate your engine correctly, which causes excess friction, wear and tear, and heat. This can lead to engine damage and expensive repairs.
- Reduced performance. Old, dirty oil compromises your engine’s performance, causing less efficient operation and reducing gas mileage.
- Overheating. Because engine oil absorbs heat from the engine, neglecting to change your oil may cause your engine to overheat.
- More engine emissions. Dirty oil can increase engine emissions. This contributes to air pollution and may cause your vehicle to fail an emissions test.
- Reduced lifespan. If you routinely wait too long between regular oil changes, you may inadvertently reduce your engine’s lifespan. Over time, this can cause extensive engine damage and may even require an expensive engine replacement.
DeBroux Automotive: Your Source for Regular Oil Changes and Maintenance in the Pensacola Area
Need a reliable mechanic to provide regular oil changes for your vehicle? DeBroux Automotive is here for you.
Our team of auto repair experts will provide regular oil changes, maintenance, and auto repair to help your engine keep running strong in Pensacola and the surrounding area.
Ready to learn more about our team of trusted mechanics or how we can help you? Contact us today.