Why does your car need oil?
Oil is very important to keeping your engine running properly. Oil circulates in order to reduce friction between moving parts and carries off heat, varnishes and carbons—all things that can lower your car’s performance. Oil also contains additives that clean dirty engine parts, prevent oil sludge from building up, stop oil from breaking down under high temperatures, stop rust and corrosion and improve flow (viscosity). 1
How often should you change your oil?
The old guideline was every 3 months or 3,000 miles. But with today’s advanced oil chemistry and engine technology, oil change frequency is changing. It’s not uncommon now for car owners to change the oil in their cars or trucks every 7,500 or 10,000 miles. Longer intervals between changes are not only easier on your wallet, but also on the environment—as there’s less dirty waste oil to dispose of. Nevertheless, check your owner’s manual and don’t go beyond the carmaker’s recommended interval. 2 If you’ve been following the tried-and-true 3,000 guideline you may be able to stretch that oil change even longer based on your make and model!
What if you never change your oil?
Get ready to pay the price. The more heat, varnish and carbons that oil collects, the less effective it becomes. If not changed, it will eventually degrade into sludge, which can clog up your engine and wear out your pistons. Repairing that kind of damage is a lot more expensive than a simple oil change.
Synthetic motor oil has its advantages
Synthetic motor oil is made from chemical compounds rather than from whole crude oil. Performance-wise, it’s a step up from conventional engine oil. It resists break-down, withstands high temperatures and flows well, even in cold temperatures. Although synthetic motor oil is more expensive than conventional oil, its performance makes up for it. Today, approximately 70% of new cars come with synthetic motor oil. 3,4
Do-it-yourself oil change
While oil changes are fairly inexpensive today, you can still save a bit of money by doing it yourself. To find out more about how to change oil, visit the two links below:
- Why Oil Matters (Cars.com)
- The 3,000-Mile Oil Change Is Pretty Much History (New York Times)
- Why Synthetic Oil? (Pennzoil)
- When Should You Consider Synthetic Oil? (Consumer Reports)
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