The Importance of Oil Changes
May 20, 2014
Though it can be tempting to continually put off changing your car oil, in the long run, making sure your car’s engine has everything it needs to run properly will save you time, money and unnecessary headaches! By changing the engine’s oil, you ensure that internal parts of your car’s engine are kept cool and well-lubricated.
Without regular oil changes, the engine can experience wear and damage as its moving parts grind against one another. Sludge, dirt and moisture can accumulate, sometimes causing issues that can be misdiagnosed as an internal engine problem. In the worst case scenario, you may be forced to repair or replace the engine.
Luckily for you, changing the oil in your car’s engine is simple and inexpensive, and doesn’t require auto technician training or having taken auto mechanic courses. As a rule of thumb, you should change your car oil three or four times per year, depending on how much you drive and the type of vehicle you own. Your owner’s manual usually contains good tips and recommendations on what to expect from an oil change.
The different types of motor oil
Different cars require different types of motor oil. For older models, for example, it can be a good idea to invest in fully synthetic oil, even though it’s more expensive. Again, your owner’s manual can recommend the type of oil you should be investing in.
The three main types of oil for your vehicle are:
- Mineral oil. Made from refined crude oil, it’s usually the least expensive option. It should work fine in most vehicles.
- Synthetic blend oil. Made in a laboratory, this type of oil mixes synthetic oil with mineral oil and is generally designed for older, high performance engines. It’s a little more expensive, but lasts longer and offers greater lubrication.
- Fully synthetic oil. This type of oil contains no mineral oil and is strong enough to be used in an industrial setting. It has high longevity and tends to be the most expensive option available.
If you see advertisements for synthetic blend or fully synthetic oil promising fuel economy or gain in horsepower, it’s better to remain skeptical. Better car oil improves car efficiency, but if you’re using your car the way an average driver would, the difference in terms of horsepower or fuel economy might not be noticeable enough for a more expensive type of car oil to be worth the investment.
Regular oil change is also a great way to spend your time with your car, and address little issues that can build up over time. For example, you can establish a rule of thumb in which every third oil change also means rotating your tires. If you find yourself repeatedly adding fluid, it can indicate a leak, such as a defective water pump.
Although changing your car oil is probably not something you look forward to, it’s worth it to take the time to get the job done properly, whether you do it yourself or get an auto mechanic to do it for you. In the long run, you’ll be more than glad you did.
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