There is a lot of speculation about an engine oil change. More to the point of why its important and when it should be performed.
Many myths are present when dealing with the oil that is in your vehicle but, what are they? Are they true or false?
Hopefully the information that I will be sharing with you will help you when you have this kind of service performed on your vehicle. More importantly though, why it is important to have it performed on a regular basis.
Firstly lets talk about the importance of an oil change for your vehicle.
What is an Oil Change and Why is it Important?
An oil change is an exchange of oil from your vehicles engine block changing out the used oil with fresh clean oil.
Oil is used to lubricate the engine to keep it running silky smooth. It also helps alongside the cooling system to help cool the engine to prevent premature wear and tear on your engines internal components.
As the engine operates all the components expand slightly. When there is no lubrication on the internal parts of a running engine everything seizes up and stops turning or running.
With oil as a lubrication it keeps all friction surfaces smooth from anything that could cause a problem.
Oil also has another great quality where it helps to clean sludge build up from the inside of the engine. This sludge is not detrimental unless the oil is not changed regularly.
As oil is used to clean the engine and lubricate the internals, the color changes from a gold color to a dark brown color.
As stated before, oil is a lubrication that helps all moving components to glide inside the engine. Oil also helps to minimize sludge and gunk build up as it cleans the internals of the engine.
When Should an Oil change be Performed?
All newer vehicles will alert the driver is an oil change is due soon or now via a message that pops up when the vehicle is started up or a maintenance required light that illuminates on the instrument cluster of the dashboard.
However, what if your vehicle is older and doesn’t have this feature?
There is no way for the driver to know if their oil needs to be changed right? That is where you are wrong, as long as you have a service done at a repair shop then they will leave a window cling sticker on the corner of your windshield.
However, what if you haven’t gotten your oil change recently or you change your oil yourself. Well you’re in luck because, if you get a window cling from the parts house where you got your oil you can fill in the information on the sticker (window cling) and put it on your window.
There are many kinds of oil from conventional to full synthetic. The oil you choose to put in your vehicle is up to you, but it can impact how often you have your engine oil changed.
This information can be found in the vehicles owners manual. Some older vehicles may not have an owners manual, if that is the case then these are the intervals that you should change your oil.
For a conventional oil (petroleum-based oils), an oil change should be performed about every 3,000 miles or three months. Whichever comes first.
Moving up to a high mileage oil (oil that has extra additives designed for engines and vehicles with high mileage), the oil change should be performed about every 4,500 miles. The increased mileage is due to the fact that this oil has special additives that were designed to keep a vehicle with high mileage in mind to prevent further wear and tear on the engine.
The highest quality oil is the full synthetic oil. This oil has more additives to help clean and lubricate the engine better. An interval for full synthetic oil can be anywhere in between 5,000 miles and 10,000 miles, but the recommended interval for full synthetic oil as about 6,000 miles.
Secondly, we will talk about some myths that surround an engine oil change and whether they are true or not.
If You Switch to Full Synthetic Oil- You Cannot go Back.
This myth was brought about by the oil companies stating that you cannot go back to regular conventional oil after using full synthetic oil. However, this is not true in the slightest.
When the correct viscosity of oil is used in your vehicle you can switch between full synthetic and regular conventional.
You Should Change Your Oil Before Going on a Road Trip.
This myth is false.
If your vehicle is not due for service or you just recently had a service done then you do not have to worry about going on a prolonged road trip. Should your vehicle require a service while you are away you can wait until you get back to have and oil change done.
Because of newer vehicles alerting the driver of when the oil change is due going on a road trip is no big deal. If you are unsure about when your vehicle will be due for an oil change then have it done before going on your trip.
You Need to use a Detergent Oil to Break in a New Engine.
This myth is true.
When you buy a new vehicle right off the lot or you need to buy a new engine for other various reasons then you will need to use what is called a break in oil (or detergent oil). All newer engine need to be broken in by driving 500 miles to 1,000 miles.
There are other criteria like not letting the engine rev about 2,500 rpm (revolutions per minute) among others.
It is recommended by auto manufacturers to use this detergent oil to break in your new vehicles or your new engine.
Synthetic Oils Cause Leaks in Seals of Older Vehicles.
This myth is false.
If there is oil underneath your engine then the seals are bad. This is not caused by switching to full synthetic oils in an older engine.
Most people think that because they switched to full synthetic oil in an older car that it was the cause of the leak they have. When in reality the seals in the engine failed long before the oil was switched.
If there is any oil under the vehicle then you will need to have the seals replaced right away.
So in Conclusion.
Why is an engine oil change important? There are many reasons why it is important to change your oil. Whether you change your oil yourself or you have a professional perform the oil change for you, that depends on you.
Proper maintenance is the key to keeping an engine running longer and smoother. When you change the oil in your vehicle you can prevent sludge from building up and ruining your engine.
Always remember to check your owners manual for the proper oil to use, when to change the oil, and how much oil to use in your vehicle.