As a car owner knowing when to change your car oil is important, and there is a lot of misinformation regarding the details. In this article you’ll learn everything you need to know about changing the oil in a car.
It is an important maintenance task, because oil is the lubricant that allows all the car engine parts to move in a frictionless manner. Without adequate high quality oil the engine parts may begin to get damaged, and that leads to costly repairs. Therefore, changing your oil should be something that you never neglect to do.
When Should you Change the Oil?
The answer depends on the type of car that you own, so you’ll need to check your owner’s manual to figure out the right intervals. The timing has changed over the years so you cannot judge the interval based on previous experiences from other cars that you’ve driven.
Nowadays with the advanced electronics that are installed in new cars there are indicators that light up to let you know when the oil should be changed. However, it’s worth figuring out the intervals and keeping track of them so that when the indicators fail you’ll know when to change the oil.
How to Check the Oil Level
You should get in the habit of looking at the oil level in the car. It’s recommended that taking a look at your car oil level once a month is a great habit to have as a car owner. When you notice that there is acceleration in the consumption of your oil, then repairs need to be made.
A new car might have an electronic oil monitor that’s handy, but taking a look at the oil level physically in-person will give you the peace of mind that there is no problem. A dipstick might be equipped that can be dipped to see the level of the oil. Using this method the car must be parked level, and be careful for hot spots under the hood if the car has been running for some time.
The majority of dipsticks will have some type of indicator that will clue you in about the level of the synthetic oil. When doing this keep an eye on the color of the oil. Ideally it should be black or brown, but if it’s milky, then that’s a problem. Potentially coolant may have leaked into the tank and there is internal engine damage.
Wipe the dipstick off with a cloth, and double check – this is another positive habit that will allow you to determine the oil in the tank correctly.
How Often Should Synthetic Oil be Changed?
The common rule of thumb is that the oil should be changed every 3 months or 3,000 miles, but due to the variety of engine types following such a rule isn’t ideal. There are an increasing number of manufacturers that design cars to allow for 7,000-10,000 mile intervals for changing the oil, or going for 6-12 months before a change is required.
Also be wary about trusting the words of a mechanic about how often the car oil needs to be changed. The instruction manual for the car will have information that’s more accurate. Some mechanics go off by their experience, and with hundreds of different models getting mixed up is a problem. Also shady mechanics that want you to come in for frequent maintenance tasks will give you the shortest time possible for the correct oil change interval.
There is a lot of money that can be saved by changing the oil at longer intervals. For example, over a period of two years and 30,000 miles you could save $240, if you choose to get the oil changed every 7,500 miles as opposed to 3,000 miles.
The Angers of not Changing Synthetic Oil
There are consequences to not changing your oil regularly, which will motivate you to never neglect this maintenance chore. Here are some of the top problems that can occur:
- Corrosion: over time oil will breakdown and that will lead to the creation of corrosive compounds. These substances can build up between engine parts and cause havoc to the smooth running of the car. This in turn will lead to a higher consumption of oil, which will cost more over the long term.
- Wear: once the oil breaks down it also begins to lose the properties that lubricate the engine parts. Therefore, wear and tear of the various engine parts will begin to appear at a faster pace. You’ll end up having to complete major engine repairs sooner rather than later if you neglect to change the oil as required.
- Poor performance: once oil breaks down the performance of your engine, and car as a whole, will be reduced. It might be reduced by a noticeable amount, or if the decrease is gradual then you might not notice it at all.
The bottom line is that the synthetic oil must be changed based on your car model. Therefore, you need to check the instruction manual for the information. Once you figure out the correct oil change interval you must stick to it so that the negative consequences outlined above do not cause damage to your car.
Also you should keep an eye on your oil levels so that you can see-first hand if there is a leak, and if the oil is looking health at the desired levels. Getting into these positive habits is important if you are to be a responsible car owner.
- The Dirty Truth About How Often You Need Your Oil Changed – howstuffworks
- Is Synthetic Motor Oil Better for Your Car? – Angie’s list