• Ashley Bradish

"Oil" You Need To Know About Oil Changes

Updated: Jun 2

Motor oil is an auto fundamental that many people believe to know well. But there are some features and facts about motor oil that these experts may not know.

Why do I have to change my oil?

Your car's motor oil is vital to the upkeep of its condition and performance. Motor oil's biggest job is lubricating all the moving parts inside your engine. The lubrication of these elements prevents them from grinding together and tearing apart.

But motor oil does much more than lubrication! Motor oil delays wear, prevents acid build-up, and maintains viscosity over varying temperatures. Oil viscosity refers to how thick the oil is when it pours. Motor oil keeps heat away from the combustion cycle and traps damaging byproducts. These byproducts are what make your oil filter dirty.

Without oil, your car's engine will start to grind and seize up; this will cause your vehicle to keep stalling. If ignored, the engine will then fail. Some vehicle owners do not even get a warning about the lack of motor oil until it is too late.

Oil Pouting Out of Tank

How do I know if my car needs oil?

Checking your car's oil level can be easy! To make sure your vehicle always has enough oil, it's not a bad idea to get into the habit of checking it.

To check your car's oil, follow these steps:

  1. Before you get started, make sure your vehicle is on even ground so you can get an accurate level reading.

  2. Locate your car's dipstick; it will usually either say, "Oil" or have an image of an oil can.

  3. Pull out your dipstick and wipe it with a clean paper towel.

  4. Put the dipstick back in; make sure it goes in all the way.

  5. Now pull the dipstick back out.

  6. DO NOT TURN THE DIPSTICK UPSIDE DOWN! The oil will run upward and warp your reading.

  7. Your dipstick will have two marks near the bottom, usually lines or holes. Your oil level will be where the oiled part ends- and the dry part begins.

  8. As long as the oil line is between those two markings, you're good! But if it is below the bottom marking, you need to add oil.

And voila! You just read a dipstick.

But some newer vehicles don't have a dipstick. If this applies to your car, then, unfortunately, you cannot check or change your oil.

For most cars, it is normal to consume a little oil between oil changes. Manufacturers even account for a consumption rate of 1 quart every 1,000 miles. But a car can lose more than that amount due to leaks or burning oil. If you find yourself needing to add a quart of oil about every 500 miles, take your car to an auto shop to get checked ASAP.

Circled Dipstick Location in an SUV

What kind of oil should I use?

There are three different kinds of oils that you can use in your car:

Conventional oil is motor oil without any additives. It is the least expensive option of the three, but many would argue that in the long run. The costs add up when drivers need maintenance, repairs, and change their oil more often.

But older cars are not made to take anything other than conventional oil. The flow rate of the motor oil is a huge factor in preventing grinding. Motor oil that has a slower flow rate, in this case, actually provides more protection to the engine.

Synthetic blend oil is a mixture of full-synthetic and conventional base oils. It is perfect for providing high resistance to oxidation and lower temperatures. Synthetic blend oil also protects engines against corrosion, rust, and sludge. This protection will make your engines last longer. A synthetic blend is ideal if you live in hotter or colder temperatures.

Full-synthetic oil uses a synthetic base with a variety of additives mixed in. These combinations boost the oil's performance, but not all full-synthetics are equal. Each synthetic brand uses a selection of high-performance fluids and additives. How each turns out will depend on the brand's ratios. Full-synthetic oil is optimal for long-distance driving and better fuel efficiency.

To figure out which kind of motor oil is right for you, consider what type of protection you need. Are you interested in better wear protection? A cleaner engine? Fuel efficiency? You can switch from convention oil to a synthetic blend or full-synthetic at any time!

Get in touch with a technician to find the right kind of oil for you and your vehicle.

Oil Testing Sheet

How often should I get my oil changed?

The frequency of how often you'll need to change your oil will differ based on several components. Some components include the type of oil, the vehicle's age, and driving conditions. Drivers should also avoid drastic temperature changes, stop-and-go driving, and heavy loads.

For newer cars that use a synthetic blend or full synthetic, the current recommendation is 5,000 to 7,500 miles. But if your car engine requires full synthetic oil, there's a chance it can go up to 15,000 miles between changes. For conventional oil, you will have to get it changed more often.

If you're wondering how often to bring your car in for other services, take a look at our maintenance guide here.

Automotive Technician Pulling Out a Dipstick

Without regular oil changes, your car will stop running. Be sure to stay on top of getting your oil changed and checking your levels. If you need an oil change or suspect you're losing fluids, make an appointment with Quality Automotive Repair. Call 908-362-9555 or go to our website at qualityautocarenj.com.

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