Thinking About Skipping an Oil Change? Don't!
You’ve heard it forever…”change your oil regularly, at 3,000 mile intervals.” Granted, the formulations of conventional motor oil that are around today can let you bump that interval up to about 5,000 miles, but oil changes are still just as important as they ever were.
Your car’s engine is a precision machine, with many moving parts that run on extremely tight tolerances with each other. Motor oil provides the film of lubrication that allows those parts to operate smoothly, dissipating heat and reducing friction and wear. Without oil, the engine would quickly overheat to a point where the moving parts would actually weld to each other and seize the motor.
Along with the heat from friction, the engine also has to deal with the tremendous heat generated by the combustion process. Combustion also produces a great deal of carbon, water vapor, acids, varnishes and other contaminants that make their way into motor oil. These, along with microscopic metal shavings from moving parts, will be trapped by the paper element of the oil filter – but eventually, they will start to pollute the oil to a point where it begins to lose its lubricating properties.
If you let oil go too long between changes, engine wear will increase due to the poor lubricating ability of the dirty oil. Worse still, the carbon and water vapor in the oil will start to cause crusty or sludgy deposits to form on the engine’s internal assemblies. Your engine, instead of being clean and pristine on the inside, can end up looking like the gummy, gunky mess in the picture…and can need a complete overhaul long before its time.
While newer formulations of conventional oil are greatly improved, synthetic oil has been shown to outperform conventional oil in engine protection. While synthetic is quite a bit more expensive, it can be changed at about a 10-12,000 mile interval instead of 5,000 miles. Still not sure what condition your oil is in? Pull your dipstick and have a look. Clean motor oil should be honey-colored and translucent. Oil that’s translucent but a bit darker can still go for a couple of thousand miles. Oil that’s the color of black coffee, with a strong, acidic smell to it, should be changed right away.
What kind of shape is your oil in? Make an appointment with us at Discount Tire Centers in Thousand Oaks, CA!