Changing Your Oil

May 3rd, 2016

If you’re a vehicle owner, then you probably know that frequently changing your oil is a vital aspect of car maintenance. But, do we know why it’s important, or is it just something we know we have to do every 3,000 miles? This post will hopefully give you a better idea as to just how crucial clean oil is for your car; and after reading, you might want to think twice the next time you consider skipping an oil change.

What does oil do?


Oil is to engines as what blood is to our veins. Oil circulates throughout the engine, lubricating it and keeping the metal parts from touching each other. If not for the lubricant, friction would occur, which could then cause premature wear and tear within the engine. Oil also helps in drawing away heat from the combustion chamber. So as you can see, oil plays a pretty huge role in keeping your car running smoothly.

Over time, however, the properties of the oil degrade and it becomes dirtier and dirtier. Think of it like using a rag to clean something. Dirt will build if you keep using the rag; and rather than clean, it will just spread more filth. This is also true of your oil. Go too long without an oil change, and it will become sludge-like, potentially clogging up your engine. Engine repairs and replacements are usually not cheap. For a replacement engine, you could be looking at prices anywhere between $2000 and $4000. It might not be the best idea to risk paying a pretty penny just for opting to skip that $40+ oil change.

How often should you change your oil?

As mentioned earlier, you may have heard of the recommendation that you should change your oil every 3,000 miles. Well, that would be more of a guideline than a set rule. You don’t necessarily want to follow the “3,000 miles” rule EVERY time with EVERY vehicle because then you run the risk of throwing away oil that’s still good. Newer vehicles are made with better technology that allow your oil life to last longer. There are even cars that will calculate the oil life for you, or alert you when it’s getting low. (I wish my 2001 Chevy Malibu did that!)

Your driving habits will also affect how often you should change your oil. There are two kinds of driving: severe and mild.

Severe driving includes driving for long stretches of time in hot weather (also called vacation driving), driving in dirt roads, and regularly driving on steep hills. Driving in short distances in normal to cold temperatures is also an example of severe driving. This is because the short time frame doesn’t allow the oil to properly warm up to its optimal working condition; the oil’s lubricating properties work best at warmer temperatures.

On the other hand, plenty of freeway driving with little traffic is considered mild driving. If you drive in more severe conditions, you’ll want to get oil changes a bit more frequently. You can also always refer to your owner’s manual to see how often oil changes are recommended for your vehicle.

Changing your oil


There are a couple of options when it comes to getting your oil changed. One would be to take it to a reputable shop or mechanic and have them do it. The cost would be anywhere between $20-$55. For those of you who enjoy DIY projects, know that it is possible to do it yourself. Keep in mind that at-home oil changes, should you choose to do them, can be a bit costly (at first), and risky. For example, you’re going to need an oil pan along with other various tools to get you started. You’re also going to need your car to be properly jacked up so that you can safely work underneath it. If this would be your preferred oil changing method, just please make sure you exercise great caution – but by all means, go for it!

Clean oil, happy car!

It may seem like such a small thing, but oil changes are one of the most basic and important acts of maintenance you can do for your car. Clean oil keeps everything running smoothly with its lubricating qualities, so take great care in changing your oil often. Remember that you can always check out your owner’s manual if you’re not quite sure how often you should change the oil. And if you take away anything from this post, make sure it’s to never wait too long for an oil change. After all, it will only cost around $40+ at your local shop, as opposed to risking engine damage and possibly dishing out thousands of dollars.

While getting your oil change done at an auto shop, it would also be worthwhile to have them check out your wheel alignment. If you pay for an oil change, many places perform this service for free along with a tire rotation. Should a wheel problem ever arise, know that has your back for all your wheel needs!

Now if you’ll excuse me, my car is overdue for an oil change…
– Kathy


Please Comment