Keeping your car in tip-top shape can help prevent unnecessary repair bills and unexpected trips to the mechanic. One often-neglected car maintenance item is the oil change. Oil changes can be easy, relatively inexpensive and are a must-do item for proper vehicle care.
Your car’s engine is complex and contains numerous moving parts. Oil is what lubricates these moving parts and keeps everything moving smoothly, says Popular Mechanics. In addition, motor oil contains additives that can break down over time, and changing the oil helps ensure that the engine continues to work as expected. According to Cars.com, here are some of the reasons why you should change your car’s oil:
One factor to take into consideration when changing your oil is which type of oil you should use. You can choose synthetic oil, conventional oil or high-mileage oil, depending on your engine’s needs. Also, you’ll need to choose the right viscosity for your engine — that information is often found on your engine’s oil cap or in the vehicle’s owner’s manual. For more information about motor oil, visit Eric the Car Guy’s blog post, What Motor Oil Should You Use in Your Vehicle?
Every car manufacturer has a slightly different recommended oil change schedule. Consult your owner’s manual to find your car manufacturer’s suggested oil change interval. Also, when your dealership or service center changes your oil, they will typically put a sticker on your window to tell you at what date or at what mileage — whichever comes first — you will be due for another oil change.
Consumer Reports suggests that drivers check their oil at each gas fill up. Once your car is parked on level ground, here’s how to check the oil:
When a dealership or service center changes your vehicle’s oil, it’s a good opportunity to change the oil filter and check the air filter, brakes, transmission, headlights, brake lights, reverse lights, belts and windshield wiper fluid. Most of these establishments have a set protocol to inspect these items during an oil and filter change, but it never hurts to ask to make sure. Should you decide to change your own oil, make sure you’re aware of the six most important things you need to know when changing your own oil.