Think of automotive maintenance, and one of the first things to come to mind is the oil change – and for good reason. Oil is the lifeblood of your car. Subjected to the extremes of the internal combustion engine – heat, pressure, friction – on a constant basis, oil inevitably breaks down and is unable to do its job. Modern cars are exceedingly durable and can go hundreds of thousands of miles when properly maintained. Routinely changing your oil in accordance with manufacturer specifications will ensure you get the most out of your ride.
Common Questions on Getting an Oil Change in Downriver Michigan
Over time oil mixes with carbon, unburned fuel, and fine metal particulates that hinder its ability to lubricate sensitive metal parts and whisk away heat. Because of the extremes inside the engine, oil will begin to degrade on a molecular level as well. In short, molecules will begin to pull apart and it will no longer maintain the required viscosity (thickness, essentially) to do its job. Cars are equipped with an oil filter, but it only remains effective for so long.
Maintaining proper oil levels will also keep engine temperatures in check. As friction increases, heat is generated. This can cause vehicles to overheat, especially on hot days. Maintaining oil levels in accordance with manufacturer recommendation is critical. Ideally, oil levels never drop. This is rarely the case however, and periodically checking your oil using the dipstick under the hood is a smart investment in your car’s longevity.
Oil Change Intervals
The generally accepted timeframe for oil changes is every three months, or approximately every 3,000 miles. Adhering to this conventional wisdom will do no harm but also may be unnecessary. In fact, some manufacturers even claim their cars can go in excess of 8,000 miles without needing an oil change. Service stations generally advocate for shorter mileage between changes, but it’s important to recognize that such service is a money maker. Once the car is in the shop, there’s an opportunity for the technician to find other areas in need of maintenance. While this may not necessarily be a bad thing, it does facilitate the notion that oil changes must be done more frequently. But how can you be sure?
First, check with the owner’s manual that came with your car. Automotive manufactures want their cars to be as efficient as possible, and the ability to go a long time without the need for fresh oil is reflective of precise engineering. If in doubt, follow the manufacturer’s specification. A wide range of oil exists on today’s market, and some can go for longer than others. Also, you must take into consideration your driving conditions, habits, and vehicle type.
Synthetic vs. Conventional
Conventional oil is a biproduct of petroleum distillation. It is often cheaper than fully-synthetic, but the savings may be offset by more frequent changes. Fully synthetic oil is chemically engineered to endure the extremes of modern vehicles, while providing the best performance over the greatest timespan. Many synthetics also have chemical additives that help reduce foaming at higher RPM’s, and detergents to help scrub carbon buildup and other impurities. If you find yourself perusing the oil aisle at your local auto parts supply, you may find yourself wondering if you need synthetic oil. Unsurprisingly, it comes with a premium over conventional.
First, check your owner’s manual. If it calls for synthetic, buy synthetic. If not, you may be able to skimp on oil costs, although you’ll likely end up paying for more frequent oil changes. Most modern cars, and nearly all high-performance cars will require fully synthetic oil.
What happens during an oil change?
When you bring your car in for an oil change, it involves more than simply dumping the oil and replacing it with new. Your technician will generally perform a multi-point inspection to ensure everything else is in good working order. The old oil will be drained and disposed of, and you’ll likely be given a recommendation for what kind to replace it with. If they don’t stock the exact oil specified in your manual, an alternative that meets the same specification will generally be offered. A replacement oil filter is typically included in the cost of an oil change as well and is installed at the same time.
You might be thinking to yourself that it’s easier and more cost effective to just top off oil as needed. And really, it is – for a short while. The problem lies in the fact that simply introducing new oil doesn’t scrub the old, worn oil that’s likely not performing as it should. Additionally, if you’re frequently adding oil, there’s probably an underlying issue that’s causing the rapid consumption. Getting it assessed sooner than later could save you tons.
At Good Care Auto they change oil every day, no matter the make or model. The ASE certified technicians are ready to perform any diagnostic, repair, or maintenance – there is no job too small. They understand your time is valuable and our clean, modern service bays and decades of experience will have you on the road in no time. The courteous and professional staff are standing by and ready to answer any questions. Call Good Care Auto at (734) 285-1188 and schedule an appointment today!