What You Need To Know About Oil Changes

August 10, 2020

Motor oil is extremely important to the health of your car. If it’s not done right or on time, it can cause big problems to your cars engine. Let’s go over the basics of oil changes.

When should I changed my oil?

Long story short – check your owners manual. That precious little book will usually tell you everything you need to know about the make and model of your vehicle. We don’t recommend taking advice from past mechanics, mainly because things in the mechanic world has evolved over time.

Thankfully, many different vehicles have service lights that come on when it’s time to change your oil. Usually these systems keep track of how many miles you’ve travelled, which then indicates when you should get your oil changed.

Don’t ignore that light when it comes on!

How often should I check the oil level?

It’s smart to frequently keep an eye out on your cars oil level. You should be checking the levels at least once a month. Some newer cars have electronic oil monitors and don’t have traditional dipsticks for manual inspection.

However, if you do have a dipstick and you’re checking it yourself, here are the steps to making sure it’s at a good level:

  • Make sure the engine is off and your car is parked on level ground.
  • Be aware of any hot spots if the car had been running. Find the dipstick and wipe away any oil from its end.
  • Insert the dipstick all the way back in.
  • Pull it back out and look on both sides to see where the oil is. Every dipstick has an indicator of high and low levels.
  • If the oil is below minimum mark, you need to add oil.
  • The oil color should appear brown or black – but if it has a white or milky color, that means coolant is leaking into the engine.
  • If all is good, insert the dipstick back in and close the hood. All done!

How often to I need to change my oil?

You’ve probably heard the “every 3,000 mile mark or every 3 months” rule – but automakers are advancing. Many automakers have oil-change intervals at 7,500 or even 10,000 miles and 6 or 12 months for time.

Your owners manual will know the specifics better than a mechanic – remember that. Don’t’ get talked into oil changes when it’s not necessary. Always refer back to your car manual bible to get correct information on your make and model.

What type of oil do I need?

Again, refer to your owners manual. There’s no need to get talked into synthetic oil by a mechanic when your owners manual doesn’t recommend it. In many newer models, the weight of your car’s motor oil is printed on the cap where you add oil.

Don’t have your owners manual? Google is your friend! And there are tons of car enthusiast groups out there with that information.

When in doubt…

CHECK YOUR OWNER’S MANUAL! This will avoid you overspending at sketchy mechanics that are just looking for your money. Even better, it will save you from doing something wrong and complete messing up your vehicle. Just remember how important oil changes are, and it’s better to get them done often than not!

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