Your car needs oil changes every few thousand miles, as your car dealership will tell you when you buy a new vehicle. But why? Are regular oil changes really necessary, or is this just a way for dealerships and garages to make money? No, oil changes are not some sort of service garage racket or scam. 

Your car needs regular oil changes if you want its engine to run correctly. Engine oil is essential, not optional - without oil, a car’s engine will be ruined beyond repair within about half an hour. This is because inside the engine are many moving metal parts that rub against each other. 

With engine oil, these parts are lubricated, and everything runs smoothly. But when run dry, the parts rub together and shed small bits of metal that deteriorate the engine. As things heat up - an engine gets very hot, even with oil - those small pieces lead to more shredding, and eventually, something will break or the engine will fuse itself together. Either way, the result is the same - a completely broken and unrepairable engine. 

Fresh Oil Changes Everything

Oil lubricates the motor’s internal parts and helps it to run smoothly, but it needs to be changed regularly to work properly. As the oil runs through the engine, it gets dirty over time. To determine how often you should change your oil, consult the vehicle’s owner’s manual. Changing the oil filter is also recommended with each oil change. 

There are several benefits to having new, clean oil that is free of dirt and metal particles:

  • Ensures proper lubrication: Engines rotate at 1,000 RPM when the car is sitting still and faster when it’s moving. These quick-moving metal parts need proper lubrication to run smoothly. 
  • Cools the engine: Lubricated parts generate less friction and thereby less heat. This keeps the engine within its normal operating temperature range and can help prevent overheating. 
  • Removes engine sludge: As the engine runs, dirt and particles build up. The oil collects this dirt and also breaks down over time, turning thick. Regular oil changes will remove this sludge and keep the engine running smoothly. 

Check the Oil Level

Between oil changes, you should keep an eye on your oil levels. Checking it once a month should be sufficient. To check the oil level on cars with a dipstick, first, locate the dipstick in the engine compartment- it will most likely be a metal loop sticking out of a tube - and wipe off the oil. Then put it back in the tube it came out of and pull it out again. Take note of the oil level on the dipstick. If it meets the “low” level, add oil. 

If you find you need to regularly add oil, it could be a sign of a leak, and you should take the car to a mechanic. 

Types of Oil

Oil is made in different weights listed on the container, like 10W40 or 5W30, for example. The owner’s manual will tell you what oil is recommended for your car. Some cars require synthetic oil, but for cars that don’t need it, you can safely use regular oil and save yourself a few dollars. Engine oil comes in three main varieties:

  • Mineral oil, which is a known regular engine oil. This oil is fine for most engines and will keep your car running smoothly. 
  • Synthetic blend is a mix of regular engine oil and lab-created synthetic oil. It combines the benefits of synthetic oil with the lower cost of regular oil. 
  • Synthetic oil is created entirely in a lab. It resists breaking down better than regular oil and is recommended for only some engine types. If your owner’s manual recommends synthetic oil, don’t substitute it for regular oil. 

Now that you know the importance of oil and the need for regular oil changes, it’s time to check the last time you had it changed. If you’re getting close to the recommended oil change distance or time, schedule an appointment with All In The Wrist

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