Automotive Technicians on Regular Oil Changes
A Good Automotive Service Technician Suggests Letting Driving Habits Determine Change Frequency
Oil change: you’ve probably heard the phrase hundreds of time. But if you’re a new driver, or have simply just never given extensive thought to the maintenance an automotive technician does for your vehicle, then you might not know much more than that it has to be done every so often to ensure your truck keeps operating smoothly. In short, an oil change is when you drain old, used motor oil and replace it with fresh oil, along with a new oil filter. You can do this yourself, but if you’re not the hands-on type, any automotive service technician can do it for you.
What Oil Does
Your engine has a lot of moving parts, often operating under extreme conditions. The friction produces heat, and can be very damaging if the parts aren’t properly lubricated with motor oil. Without it, the damage your engine inflicts upon itself will make it less fuel-efficient, and can eventually cause engine failure. Oil prevents this from happening, reducing wear and tear, keeping your engine cooler, and ensuring it lasts for a long time yet.
Why You Change It
Over time, the quality of your oil will degrade thanks to thermal breakdown. As it degrades, it no longer does as good a job lubricating your engine, and you’re back to square one: friction and overheating. As it breaks down, it also loses the ability to neutralize acidic compounds, and becomes densely contaminated with dust and tiny metal shavings from your engine, which can in turn corrode your engine as it circulates around. And that’s a very expensive bill from your automotive service technician waiting to happen.
By replacing your oil—which is much cheaper than any repair bill—you’re renewing your car’s ability to lubricate its moving parts, reduce friction, and continue operating smoothly.
How Often This Should Be Done
There’s an old standard that a lot of people still follow: taking their car to an automotive technician every 3,000 miles (approximately 4,800 km) for a regularly-scheduled oil change. And for vehicles older than seven or eight years, this is still a good yardstick to follow. Newer models, however, tend to be more efficient with their oil, thanks to advances in technology. Some even include oil monitors that inform you of the quality of you oil at any given moment.
Any automotive service technician can tell you, however, that the biggest determinant for frequency of oil changes is how you use your vehicle. Urban driving, for examples, with a lot of start-and-stop and short trips that don’t allow your oil to warm up properly (oil works best when warm) may result in more frequent visits. Highway driving, on the other hand, doesn’t exert the same stress on your engine—unless, of course, you carry a lot of heavy loads, which can also contribute to more frequent changes.
Make sure to visit a qualified automotive technician as often as necessary for preventative maintenance—including oil changes—and your truck will keep running smoothly for years to come!