What Every Driver Should Know About Oil Changes

For many car owners, oil changes are one of those mundane things that you just do when it's time because you have to. What many drivers don't understand is that your oil change is an important part of keeping your car running at its best. When you understand the basics of oil changes and what you can do to protect your engine, you'll ensure that you get the longest possible lifespan from your vehicle. Here are some of the things that you need to know.

Clean Engine Oil Is Important

The oil in your car's engine is vital to its proper operation. Oil lubricates the moving parts inside your engine. This prevents friction damage from metal parts moving together. However, your engine oil doesn't just provide lubrication. It also provides some cooling effect for your engine as it circulates.

As your engine oil deteriorates, it will become thinner, which means it provides less lubrication and less cooling. Additionally, oil that's nearing the end of its usable life can also pick up some debris from the engine. Your oil filter should keep all of that out of your engine, but the filter will get dirty and clogged over time as well.

Routine oil changes maintain the clean oil distribution that your engine needs at the right viscosity for lubrication and cooling.

The Right Engine Oil Matters

Another thing that many people don't realize is that the oil you choose for your engine matters. You'll find that engine oils come in many different viscosity ratings, such as 5W20 or 10W30. These readings refer to the viscosity when the engine is cold versus the viscosity when the engine is hot. Every car's engine has recommended oil viscosity ratings, so make sure you are familiar with what your engine needs before you choose any oil for your oil change.

Not only do you have to choose the viscosity, but you'll also have to choose between synthetic and conventional oil. Conventional oil is the engine oil that's been on the market for many, many years. Synthetic, on the other hand, is reasonably new to the market and is manufactured from synthesized ingredients. Synthetic oil is often recommended because it has been blended precisely to extend the oil's lifespan, offer maximum engine protection, and reduce the cold-start issues with thick oil since synthetic oils are usually thinner than conventional ones.

Oil Change Timing Is Important

Since most modern vehicles are equipped with engine oil life alerts, many drivers assume that the oil life notification on the car is dependent upon a sensor reading in the engine. With some cars, this may be true, but with most, it's simply based on your mileage since your last oil change. It's important that you don't dismiss an oil change indicator without getting an oil change done so that you don't risk overlooking the service and potentially damaging your engine with low or dirty oil.

Talk with a local oil change technician today for more information.