Don’t Put off Your Next Oil Change
You’ve probably noticed that little sticker your local oil change place puts in the upper left-hand corner of your windshield, it could mean that it’s time to look for an oil change place near you. Or maybe you’ve seen a lighted wrench icon pop up on your dashboard. They aren’t there for decoration. They’re reminding you that you need to change your car’s engine oil. Whether you drive a car, truck, minivan, or SUV, you will need to change the oil from time to time.
If you are wondering if an oil change is really necessary, the answer is a resounding yes. Your car’s engine contains numerous moving parts that work together to power your vehicle. All of that motion creates friction, which leads to heat. Without oil to lubricate these moving parts, the engine would eventually build up so much heat that its parts would grind to a halt.
The engine oil that was in your car when you bought it needs to be changed. Over time, the friction and heat of the engine’s parts will change the viscosity of the oil, breaking it down so that it no longer lubricates as well as it initially did. That’s why you need to change your oil. And if you are looking for an oil change near you, your best bet is to stop by our service center at Blossom Chevrolet in Indianapolis, Indiana. Our certified service technicians can provide your vehicle with a quick oil change, making sure your car’s engine gets the fresh oil it needs
Friction Is Not Your Friend
Mechanical devices such as automobile engines have lots of moving parts. There are anywhere from three to eight cylinders in your average car engine, and in addition to their pistons and connecting rods, there are the crankshaft, camshafts, valves, and more. These are constantly working to produce the energy needed to propel your vehicle, and all of this motion creates friction and heat. That friction is not good for your engine, as it can wear down parts and reduce overall engine efficiency. Engine oil is the reason why you can operate your car’s engine without destroying it.
The oil has two main functions. First, it lubricates the various moving parts in your engine. Lubrication allows the parts to move without building up excess fiction. Second, the oil also acts to absorb the excess heat created by the friction, keeping the moving parts nice and cool. There is a gauge on most dashboards that shows engine heat. This lets you know that your oil is doing its job, keeping friction and the resulting heat in check so that you don’t seize up your engine.
The Need for Change
Now you might be thinking: why do I need to change the oil if there is already some in the engine? The answer is simple. Over time, all that friction and heat causes the oil to lose viscosity and start to break down. Viscosity is the measure of the oil’s ability to lubricate, and it goes down over time. Eventually, if the oil breaks down enough, it can cause major damage to your engine as the moving parts start to heat up.
Getting an oil change means that the old oil is drained from your vehicle and replaced with new oil. In addition, the engine oil filter will be replaced to keep the new oil clean of debris. This is why getting an oil change is one of the most important parts of your vehicle’s routine maintenance.
The Timing of Your Next Oil Change
The frequency of oil changes for your vehicle depends on a number of factors. In general, you should get an oil change every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. You will need to have them more frequently if you drive an older car as the engine’s age could require more frequent lubrication. Also, if you tend to drive at high speeds, you are putting additional stress on the engine oil.
This is because your engine must move more rapidly at higher speeds, producing excess heat and friction. You may have noticed that NASCAR vehicles often get an oil change between races. Also, you will need to change the oil more frequently if you live in hotter or colder climates, as this can affect engine performance as well.
The good news is that new cars can often go up to 5,000 miles between oil changes. If you drive a vehicle that uses synthetic oil, the frequency can be even longer, up to 10,000 miles between oil changes. Many newer models even have a monitor that checks on your oil life. You can check this through your vehicle’s information system to see if your car’s engine oil life is declining.
The oil life will be expressed as a percentage, and when the remaining life goes down to between 10% and 20%, a lighted wrench will appear on your dashboard to remind you that it is time for your car’s next oil change. These alerts are useful as they remove the guesswork sometimes involved in determining when you need to change the oil. It is also a lot easier and a lot less messy than the old days when you had to check your engine’s dipstick.
The Right Oil for Your Vehicle
All engines are not created equal, and this goes for engine oils as well. The company that designed and built your car had a type of engine oil in mind when it installed the car’s engine, which will appear in your owner’s manual. Conventional engine oil is refined from crude oil, just like the gasoline or diesel that powers the engine.
Conventional oil provides protection against friction, heat, corrosion, and overall wear-and-tear. In addition, many oil producers include special additives to improve overall engine performance. This conventional engine oil comes in different grades of viscosity, so it is important to know which grade is recommended for your car’s engines.
But many vehicles now operate on synthetic engine oil, which is also made from the refining of crude oil but includes the use of synthetic powder additives that don’t naturally occur in the oil. Some are designed for use during high temperatures, while others are more productive in lower temperatures. Manufacturers can control the properties of synthetic oil better than conventional oil, producing a superior product. This means that using synthetic oil will cut down on the number of oil changes that you need during the year.
Getting Your Oil Changed by an Expert
There is nothing stopping you from changing your vehicle’s oil yourself if you are handy with a wrench. However, you should keep in mind that an oil change requires numerous tools, including a drain plug wrench, an oil filter wrench, and an oil drain pan. In addition, unless your vehicle has sufficient ground clearance, you will need a set of jack stands or ramps so that you can get under your vehicle to perform the oil change. Not only does this increase the difficulty of performing an oil change, but it also makes changing the oil yourself a potentially risky proposition.
Changing your vehicle’s engine oil is also messy and involves environmental issues. Let’s face it – there are few things messier than used engine oil. It is also highly toxic, so you will have to catch the waste oil in an environmentally safe container so you can dispose of it legally. Pouring waste oil down a sewer is not just harmful to the environment; it can subject you to fines for pollution.
This is why you should consider leaving your oil changes to expert technicians such as those here at Blossom Chevy of Indianapolis, who will perform the task safely, efficiently, and effectively using the proper grade and type of engine oil for your car, truck, minivan, or SUV. Getting your car’s engine oil changed on a routine basis will improve your car’s performance and its engine’s life. It is also safe, easy, and quick when you go to a service expert near you.