Your vehicle is a very important part of your life. Basic vehicle maintenance is kind of like preventive care for your health. For example, having your oil changed at periodic intervals will help prolong the life of your investment and help you avoid major expenses in the long run. An oil change is vital to the optimum performance of your vehicle because oil serves three vital roles that directly impact the longevity of the engine: it coats, it cools, and it cleans. These are known as the 3 C’s of oil.
Oil plays a major role in keeping the engine components lubricated to ensure that all parts are properly coated and can do their job efficiently. Those components consist of pistons, cylinders, valves, crankshaft and more. All these components move at a very high rate of speed in sync to produce power in your engine that makes your vehicle go when you step on the gas pedal. It is that high rate of speed that creates friction as these components are constantly rubbing against each other. The coating of the oil ensures proper performance of all the parts.
A byproduct of the friction between components is heat. Think of rubbing two sticks together, eventually you can start a fire. Oil provides a method to reduce the friction of the moving parts thus reducing the heat that is generated. While oil helps to reduce the heat inside the engine, let’s not confuse it with antifreeze. Antifreeze is vital in keeping the entire system at an optimal temperature and not over heat or freeze – a topic for another day!
Despite all the good oil does to help coat the engine and reduce friction, friction will still occur – albeit microscopically. This friction will introduce microscopic particles into the oil which, along with the slow chemical breakdown of the oil, will cause build-up.
This build-up becomes sticky, kind of like plaque on teeth. It will be collected into the oil which is what causes the darker color. Think of it this way, when you put new oil into your vehicle it is clear like the amber shade of honey. When you replace your oil, it resembles the color of dark maple syrup, because your oil has been collecting particles through normal operation of your engine over time.
Continued and prolonged build-up eventually restricts the moving components of the engine. Over time this will result in engine wear and will lead to poor engine performance and ultimately catastrophic failure.
Do I Need to Change my Oil Filter?
The oil filter is designed to help reduce the amount of build-up that can circulate within the engine by catching the particles floating in the engine oil. This helps to prolong the life and effectiveness of the oil. Over time, however, the oil filter will lose effectiveness as it becomes filled with contaminates.
A simple test you can perform is to pick-up a new unused oil filter and hold it in your hand. Feel the weight of the filter. Then pick-up your used oil filter and feel the weight of the used filter. You should be able to easily feel the difference between the new filter and the used filter, because the used filter will have a collection of particles in it.
When Do I Need an Oil Change?
Engineers base their recommended oil change intervals on two things.
- The anticipated use of the vehicle. Commercial heavy-duty vehicles clearly have different needs than the family vehicle.
- The thickness/thinness of the oil because not all oils are the same. Conventional oil does not have a uniform molecular make-up, it’s like a variety of change in your pocket. Size of molecules are like quarters, nickels, dimes, pennies. The inconsistency of molecular size can affect the coating capabilities. While synthetic oil is even and consistent in its molecular make-up, kind of like having all dimes in your pocket. This creates maximum efficiency of coating capabilities and is regarded as the best option for oil in your vehicle.
Tire Discounters recommends that you follow the OEM guidelines outlined in your owner’s manual. A couple factors that you might want to keep in mind is driving conditions that involve frequent trailer towing, extensive stop-go driving or idling in traffic, extreme heat or cold or frequent short-distance driving in which the engine fails to reach optimum temperature can alter the interval of when your vehicle needs an oil change.
What are the Benefits of a Regular Oil Change?
One-year worth of oil changes at a local service shop will range between $150 to $200 for the year. Replacing or rebuilding your engine can cost from anywhere between $2,500 to $4,000 or more according to the Car Care Council. Would you rather spend between $150 and $200 for the year or a conservative $2,500? You can get more than 12 years’ worth of oil changes before you cover the expense of replacing or rebuilding your engine.
What would Happen if I didn’t Regularly Change my Oil?
If you didn’t change your oil regularly, it would be like taking a bath in bath water that hasn’t been emptied. Over time your oil becomes dirty from the breakdown of detergents added to the oil for performance. This dirty oil and all the particles floating in the oil create a risk of sludge formation. Sludge is a solid or gel caused by dirty oil gelling or solidifying and can clog the basic operation of your engine. Over time, the accumulation of sludge leads to reduced fuel economy, reduced horsepower, and can be a major contributor to engine failure.
Should I Change My Own Oil or Take It Somewhere?
While looking under the hood and changing your oil seems to be an easy enough task, there is a risk of serious injury if not performed properly. A common myth is that changing your oil yourself is cheaper than having a professional change it. Not true.
The weekend die-hard car enthusiast that has all the tools necessary still must purchase the materials, fit it into their busy schedule and lastly figure out how to dispose of the used oil. Oil is considered as a hazardous material and you can’t simply pour it down the drain or in the backyard. You must properly dispose of your oil.
For the everyday consumer, by the time to get everything you need and take the time to do it, your will have spent more money and more time than simply making an appointment and having a professional take care of it.
By taking it to Tire Discounters, we can make it an easy process. Drop your vehicle off at any of our neighborhood locations, and you can save your precious free time. Our technicians are trained and certified to work on all makes and models. We also have the specialized tools and equipment to make sure the job is done right.
We also include a free rotation of your tires, check all fluids, check wiper blades, check lights, check air filters and perform a multi-point safety check to make sure everything is safe on your vehicle. Lastly, we are an environmental conscious company and we will professionally dispose of your old oil and oil filter so it doesn’t harm the environment.
Make An Appointment for an Oil Change
Taking a proactive approach to your routine vehicle maintenance can reduce the rate of the aging process and prolong the life and efficiency of your vehicle.
Next to you, regular oil changes are your vehicles best friend. Make an appointment today!