Ongoing vehicle maintenance is a necessity if you want to keep your vehicle for a long time and minimize repair work over its lifespan. However, many drivers neglect their vehicles and skip important maintenance routines that can make a difference in the performance of their vehicle’s operation. One of those basic maintenance tasks that is extremely important to your vehicle is the oil and filter change. In fact, oil plays such a critical role to keeping your engine running, that your vehicle would cease to operate without it.
The Functions of Oil
To better understand why oil changes are so important, it is helpful to recognize the main functions of motor oil and your vehicle’s engine.
Motor oil functions in three ways, as follows:
- To lubricate components of your engine that are subjected to friction and movement
- To keep engine parts clean of accumulated grime and sludge
- To help with temperature regulation and insulation of engine parts during operation
The composition of motor oil has evolved over the years, however, oil contains a mixture of petroleum-based products along with other additives. Many auto experts consider oil to the the “lifeblood” of your vehicle.
As motor oil circulates through your vehicle’s engine, it will also pass through a filter which is designed to capture the dirt and debris in the oil. The filter plays an important role in cleaning the oil so that when it is reintroduced back into the engine to complete the process again, it is able to continue its functions.
Oil Quality Changes Over Time
Like all of your engine’s components, motor oil does not last forever. The elements of heat, motion, and dirt can all have a negative effect on the quality or amount of your vehicle’s oil.
The primary reasons to maintain your oil on a regular basis, include:
- Oil viscosity: Viscosity is a term that describes the relative “thickness” of a fluid. Oil is meant to have variable viscosity, depending on the temperatures it is subjected to in the engine. Thicker oil is useful during summer months and thinner oil is beneficial in cold weather extremes. Over time, oil will become thicker and reduce its efficacy.
- Dirty oil: As oil travels through your engine, it will pick up any loose dirt, grime, and sludge within your engine’s components. It is easy to distinguish between clean and dirty oil because clean oil will be clear or opaque, while dirty and overused oil may be black or brown and even gritty.
- Oil consumption: It is normal for motor oil to evaporate from your engine. However, excessive oil consumption usually indicates another problem with your vehicle’s engine. Nonetheless, replenishing oil that is lost through normal or excessive consumption is important.
- Leaking oil: Oil leaks within your engine can lead to bigger problems if the oil is not replenished or replaced. But adding more oil to an existing oil leak does not address the source of the problem. Continuous drops in oil levels are important to address so that your vehicle’s engine is not deprived of the oil it needs to perform.
Establish an Oil and Filter Maintenance Routine
Because motor oil plays a central role in keeping your engine running, it is advisable to establish a regular maintenance routine. Oil and filter changes do not take long to complete and make a big difference to your vehicle’s health and longevity.
Many drivers are unsure of how often to get an oil change. Oil change intervals can range from averages of 3,000 miles to 15,000 miles, depending on your vehicle, the type of oil, your driving habits and needs. Always consult with your service professional or your vehicle owner’s manual for specific oil change intervals that are recommended for your vehicle.
If you are not sure if it’s time to do an oil change right now, do a simple check of your oil. If the oil is dark and thick, now is the time to get an oil change. Contact the service professionals at Campus Auto Repair to schedule your oil and filter change today. We can also advise you on the proper maintenance schedule to keep your oil clean and performing its job.
Don’t let neglect catch up to you – get your oil changed today and make it a regular part of your “to-do” list!