While not as exciting as a new performance exhaust or flashy wheels, oil and oil filter changes are two of the most essential maintenance items for protecting your engine. Read on to understand why following your manufacturer's recommendations for oil change intervals and filter replacements is critical to avoid major repairs down the road.
Fresh Oil: Your Engine's Lifeblood
Clean oil lubricates all the moving metal components in your engine, preventing friction and excessive wear. It also regulates operating temperature, cleans internal parts, and seals piston rings. But oil gets contaminated over time by metal shavings, fuel residues, moisture, and combustion blow-by gases. Used oil loses its protective viscosity and lubricating properties which accelerates wear. Regular oil changes help to remove these contaminants before they can damage your engine.
Follow Recommended Change Intervals
Your owner's manual specifies oil change intervals, typically between 5,000-10,000 miles depending on engine type and driving conditions. More severe driving, like hauling heavy loads or extensive idling, necessitates changes closer to 5,000 miles. Only use oil that meets the viscosity, quality and API ratings stated for your engine.
Responsibly Recycle Used Oil
Never dump old oil into drains or ground soil. This can cause, severe environmental damage. If you change your own oil, recycling DIY oil is quick and simple. Most oil change shops and auto parts stores offer free recycling.
Don't Neglect The Oil Filter
Oil filters prevent contaminated oil from circulating back through the engine. This is why it’s important to change your cartridge or spin-on type oil filter according to your vehicle’s manufacturer recommended intervals.
Watch for Replacement Reminders
Newer vehicles normally have an oil change reminder system that will indicate when it’s time to have your oil changed. It's important to schedule an oil change service as soon as the indicator activates to avoid exceeding necessary oil change intervals. Manuals may also specify more frequent changes under certain driving conditions.
Document Detailed Maintenance Records
Always record your vehicle’s oil change date and mileage, along with any other maintenance or repairs, in a logbook. Good documentation demonstrates diligent upkeep and helps to protect warranty coverage and increase resale value.
Address Changes Over Time
Even if you're not driving 5,000 miles within six months, it’s good to have your oil and filter changed twice yearly as contaminants accumulate over time. Commuters that travel short distances should base changes on time and condition.
Think Long-Term with Each Oil Change
By having your oil and oil filter changed according to vehicle manufacturer recommendations, a properly maintained engine can last over 200,000 miles. This short term investment in having routine oil change service can lead to saving thousands in repairs long term.
While more exciting upgrades grab attention, overlooking something as basic as an oil change risks eventual breakdown and costly engine repairs. Protect your vehicle for the long haul by sticking to recommendations for oil and filter changes.