Oil Change Tips
Pull the dipstick on your car’s engine and have a look at the oil. Fresh motor oil should be honey-colored and translucent. If your oil is darker, though…especially if it’s the color of black coffee…you’re due for an oil change.
Over time, oil undergoes a thermal breakdown where it starts to lose its lubricating properties. It also picks up a lot of microscopic metal fragments, water vapor, carbon and acids from normal engine operation. Motor oil does contain dispersants and detergents that will suspend particles in the oil so they can be trapped by the paper element of the oil filter. Eventually, however, the oil filter gets so saturated it can’t absorb any more. If left too long, these impurities will start to build up on the engine’s internal assemblies as sludge, carbon or corrosion. You should see the difference between the inside of a well-maintained engine and one that hasn’t had regular oil changes!
For conventional mineral-based oil, the “3,000 mile rule” was long pushed by oil companies and quick-change shops. Newer oil formulations can easily go 5,000 miles between changes with no loss in engine protection. For high-mileage vehicles (over 100,000 miles), synthetic blend high-mileage oil is available. High-mileage oil contains friction modifiers that provide better protection for the looser internal tolerances of a worn engine, and includes seal conditioners that can swell and soften old gaskets that may have shrunk and dried out, causing leaks.
Every manufacturer now recommends synthetic motor oil for new vehicles. Synthetic motor oil provides better, more uniform protection in about every respect. While synthetic oil is about twice as expensive per quart, that extra cost is offset by a 10-12,000 mile oil change interval (remember to check manufacturer’s recommendations for oil changes).
In the end, the choice is up to you…spend a little money now and then for regular oil changes, or spend a lot of money down the road for a rebuilt engine. That, of course, isn’t much of a choice.
How does your oil look? Like honey, or like muddy black coffee? Make an appointment with Free Service Tire Company for your next scheduled oil change.