No matter what kind of vehicle you drive, anyone can agree that there’s a lot that goes into properly maintaining a car and keeping it running for hundreds of thousands of miles. When it comes to the various parts of the car you need to maintain, however, not all repairs are created equally. You can get away with having some rust or dents, and although it would be unpleasant, you could technically drive without a working AC. One thing’s for certain, however, and that’s the fact that without a properly maintained and well-running engine, your car might as well be a really expensive driveway decoration. One of the easiest ways to stay on top of maintaining your engine is by properly monitoring and maintaining your motor oil.
The number one job that oil does inside your engine is keep all the complex moving parts lubricated, reducing friction and damage within. On top of lubricating your engine, however, your oil also protects against corrosion and acts as an internal cleaner in your engine, collecting sediments, metal shavings, and any other debris out of the engine when the oil is changed. Finally, oil absorbs heat as it moves through the engine, helping to regulate the temperature under the hood and prevent overheating.
Now, just like there are different types of engines, there are different types of motor oil. Typically, they fall into three main categories: mineral (fossil fuel derived) oil, synthetic blend, or full synthetic. Although synthetic oils are almost always better at removing debris and regulating temperature than traditional oils, be sure to consult your vehicle’s manual before changing up your oil. If you really want your engine to last, your best bet is consulting your vehicle’s manual for a list of recommended compatible oils and choosing the best from those options (preferably a partially or fully-synthetic oil option, if possible).
Aside from a natural vs. synthetic oil blend, you’ll notice you also have to choose the proper grade of oil for your vehicle. The different oil ratings signify different viscosities of oil, and you want to make sure you’re using the right kind for your engine. Further still, you’ll also notice that your particular grade of oil may come in other variations, such as blends for hot or cold climates or a high-mileage blend. These oils tend to be a little heavier and are designed to help thoroughly clean high-mileage engines that potentially have more engine buildup. Once you’ve chosen the correct oil type and grade for your vehicle, consider picking up the proper variation for your vehicle’s needs to help it stay running for longer.
Now that you know a little more about which oil you should be putting in your car it’s time to go over when you should be changing your oil, and that all starts with regular oil checks. No matter how long your car’s manual says to wait between oil changes, and especially if you do a lot of city driving, you should be regularly checking the oil in your car; Most experts recommend checking your oil every time or every other time you stop to fill up on gas. Before you check your oil, make sure to drive around for about 10-15 minutes, then park and stop the car for about 10-15 minutes on level ground before popping the hood to ensure you get an accurate reading. Once you pop the hood, locate the dipstick, remove it and wipe it off, reinsert it, and check it again. You want to make sure the oil looks clean (it will be an amber-brown color and semi-transparent), and that there’s enough oil in the engine (the oil should be at least halfway up the hashed section of the dipstick).
If your oil is looking black and sludgy, smells burnt, feels gritty/has metal shavings in it, or is low on your dipstick, it’s time for a change. Keep in mind, you don’t necessarily want to wait for these signs to change your oil; Check your vehicle’s manual for a specific amount of time or miles driven between oil changes. Typically, this will be around 3,000-5,000 miles or about three months, although newer cars may have longer intervals between changes. In short, however, you want to stick to your vehicle’s recommended schedule and perform an oil change early if any of the above-mentioned signs indicate your oil needs replacing. If you decide to change your oil yourself, make sure you use the right tools, parts, oil, and you thoroughly inspect and clean everything as you go. Finally, make sure not to overfill the oil as this can cause air bubbles to form in the engine, reducing how effectively the oil works and potentially causing overheating or other damage.
In conclusion, there’s a lot more to oil than simply taking your car in for a change every once in a while. In order to properly maintain the health of your engine, it’s important you regularly check your motor oil and carefully stick to the recommended maintenance schedule. Use only the highest-grade oil and filters recommended in your vehicle’s manual when changing the oil and opt for high-mileage or synthetic oils when possible and appropriate. By following these simple steps, you can actively prevent costly engine damage and keep your car On the Move for years to come!
If you’re in need of oil, filters, or any other parts for your car, stop by one of Holbrook Auto Parts’ location around the Detroit area. With a massive selection of new and pre-owned OEM and aftermarket auto parts and supplies, you could save up to 50% on maintaining your car year-round!
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