You probably know you're supposed to change the oil in your car every few months, but you may not realize when an oil change is actually due. If you lead a busy lifestyle, you may resent having to take your car to the shop for a simple oil change. However, your car will drive better and need fewer repairs if you change the oil when it needs it. Here is a look at why an oil change is important and when you should have it done.
The Purpose Of An Oil Change
The oil in your car circulates through the engine and lubricates the moving parts. This prevents friction and keeps the motor from overheating. Oil can do its job much better when it is fresh and clean. As it ages, it picks up debris and gets thicker. This can affect how efficiently your engine runs. If you wait too long between oil changes, your engine could overheat and the moving parts could be damaged in the motor. That leads to unnecessary and expensive repairs that could be prevented with timely oil changes.
Changing the oil is a quick process. The mechanic drains out the old oil and changes the filter. Then new oil is poured into the reservoir. Oil changes are affordable too, and another good thing about having regular oil changes is it gives a mechanic the chance to do a quick inspection of your engine to make sure everything is in good working order.
When To Change The Oil In Your Car
You can refer to your owner's manual for instructions on how often to change the oil since it varies among different types of cars. Some newer cars that use newer types of oil may be able to go 10,000 miles between oil changes. Older cars may need an oil change every 3000 miles. Besides mileage, oil changes are due based on age of the oil. Newer cars may go six months between changes while older cars should have the oil changed every three months.
One thing to keep in mind is that these are guidelines for the maximum time you should wait between oil changes based on favorable conditions. If you only drive in the city and rarely drive on an interstate, then you'll want to change the oil more often. Also, if you do a lot of interstate driving but it is in a mountainous area where you do uphill driving, then you'll need to change your oil more since that type of driving puts stress on your motor.
One way to tell if you need an oil change is to check the oil yourself by wiping the dipstick on a white paper towel or cloth. If the oil has debris in it or if it is thick and tar-like, you definitely want to change your oil as soon as you can. Going too long between oil changes can harm your car, but changing the oil more often than recommended does no harm. It's good to make oil changes part of your lifestyle routine so you can easily fit them into your schedule every three to six months. Then you can worry less about car trouble and get more years of driving out of your investment.
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