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Oil Changes…Do I Really Have to?

After a long week at work there’s nothing I like better than to hit the open road and get away. This weekend was no exception. Windows down despite the cold, some good tunes turned up. Take me away, out of the city faithful car! As I’m starting to feel a little like Peter Fonda’s Wyatt from Easy Rider, I realize my change oil light is on. Drat. Since I just shelled out for car insurance and new brakes I have to wonder, do I really need to change my oil? I know I probably do, but do I really need to change it every 3,000 miles as recommended by oil manufacturers?

After a little research I found that yes, you do need oil changes but probably not that often. Clean oil helps the engine function at its best, ensuring that friction among the interworking engine parts is kept to a minimum. The oil also helps keep parts of the car from overheating and carries away harmful byproducts. Bottom line: oil is crucial to engine function and changing it regularly can save lots of money in the long run by preventing expensive problems.

So how often do I need to change my oil? Although some will prefer to stick to the 3,000 mile standard, you can consult your owner’s manual for a recommendation by the carmaker. Odds are it will state something higher than 3,000, which can save you not only a little money, but time too. The recommended mileage between oil changes for my vehicle, for example, is 5,000. Some manuals may even state that an oil change every 7,500 miles is sufficient. Keep in mind, however, that this is likely meant for when the car is driven under ideal conditions and not stop and go city traffic. Also if your car is older, you may need to change the oil more frequently.

So with a new perspective in mind, the next question might be: “Can I change my own oil?” Sure you can. This decision is really a matter of personal preference, assuming you know what you’re doing. It can be a messy job and there are some downsides. To me, it’s not worth the time and trouble to save minimal money. Remember, you’ll still have to buy 5-7 quarts of oil (most vehicles) along with any other parts you’d like to replace, such as the air filter. On top of these expenses, you’ll have to deal with the hassle of disposing of the used oil properly. An auto shop will usually dispose of it for you. DO NOT just dump your used oil into the earth, as it is terrible for the environment. If you’d like to get an oil change estimate from a qualified mechanic, click here and we can help you out. For those do-it-yourselfers, there’s nothing special about how a mechanic or oil change shop changes your vehicles oil, so more power to you if you choose to tackle this project yourself. In summary, while you most definitely do need to change your car oil regularly, you just might be able to ride easy for a bit longer.

Comments

[…] Regular Oil Changes.  Oil changes are an extremely important and simple way to care for your car.  Oil keeps the parts of your car […]

Extending the Life of your Car or Truck | AutoRepairKey.com December 15th, 2011 at 6:21 am

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