The Importance Of An Oil Change

April 29, 2010

It’s there dominating the “to do” list and procrastinating only makes it worse. It’s the car’s oil change. Was that reminder sticker on the windshield purposely put there to make you feel bad? Let’s try a different approach, looking at all the good things that happen when the oil and filter in your car are changed.

First let’s assume your car is one that is driven a minimum number of miles and seldom reaches the 3,500 miles in three months average. Your vehicle needs the oil change more than cars that are driven more often. In the short trip mode the engine heat ups and then cools down for long periods creating condensation. The moisture can be seen accumulating on the oil fill cap in the form of a gray oily globular mess. Sometimes this condition can be misdiagnosed as an internal engine problem. You probably can drop back to an oil change three times a year or the minimum time interval prescribed in your owner’s manual.

Next, don’t underestimate the value of having a trained individual under the hood of your car. They will be able to spot a number of trouble situations that, if left untreated, have the potential to cause a breakdown. They should be looking for fluid leakage, cracked or frayed belts, bulging hoses and safety items including torn wiper blades, burned out lights, and unsafe tires. The success of this approach only works if you have found a shop that distinguishes true customer need from sales effort.

The regular oil change also establishes a benchmark of when your car’s maintenance needs are to be met. For instance, every third oil change can be the point at which the tires need to be rotated. Also, your recognition of what fluids had to be added may serve as the first warning sign that one of the systems is leaking. The need to repeatedly add coolant may indicate a leaking water pump, for example.

The underside of your car is rarely seen. The oil change provides the technician a chance to easily look for undercar problems. These would include torn CV boots, broken exhaust parts, or problems with the transmission or differential. Anything that’s broken, loose or excessively worn is in clear sight. This idea of the lube tech or service facility disclosing legitimate problems only works to your advantage if you’re in the hands of a reputable shop.

Your car’s oil change may be something you don’t look forward to and hate to take the time to get done. However, there isn’t a car maintenance procedure that is more beneficial to your car when it’s done by a service facility you trust.

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