Why Are Oil Changes So Important?

August 28th, 2016

Your dad probably told you years ago – “make sure your oil gets changed every 3,000 miles!”Oil Changes in Philadelphia PA

He was right. Regular oil changes are still the best way to get maximum engine protection and get the most miles out of your vehicle. The “3,000 mile rule” has fallen by the wayside, though, as newer formulations of motor oil contain friction modifiers, detergents and other agents that can stretch that number to 5,000 miles.

Your engine’s moving parts operate on very close tolerances with each other. Without a protective film of motor oil, the engine would quickly overheat to a point where these parts actually weld to each other and seize the engine. The combustion process, however, generates a lot of carbon and acids which make their way into the oil, along with microscopic metal shavings. These particles are suspended in the oil and are trapped by the oil filter until the filter’s paper element becomes saturated. At that point, deposits of sludge and carbon will start to accumulate on internal engine assemblies, resulting in faster wear and a shortened engine life.

Conventional motor oil is pretty inexpensive and can easily go 5,000 miles between oil changes. Manufacturers now recommend synthetic oil for all new vehicles, and for good reason. Synthetic oil outperforms conventional oil in about every respect, including the fact that it doesn’t tend to thin out at high temperatures or thicken in cold weather. While synthetic oil is quite a bit more expensive per quart, the extra cost is offset by a 10-12,000 mile oil change interval (always check manufacturer’s recommendations).

Can’t remember the last time you got an oil change? Pull your engine’s oil dipstick. The oil should be translucent and the color of honey. Oil that’s a bit darker but still translucent should have a few thousand miles to go before a change. Oil that’s the color of black coffee and has an acrid smell should be changed right away. That is, if you want to get the most miles out of your car’s engine!

What’s your odometer reading say? Is it time for an oil change again? Make an appointment with us at Allen Tire & Service in Philadelphia, PA! 

  Posted in: Auto Repair 101