How Important Is it to Get Your Oil Changed?

Regular maintenance is always the first step to keep your car running smoothly, but it seems that occasionally, remembering to get those little things done can slip through the cracks.

We all know that you need to get your oil changed every 3,000 - 5,000 miles, but why? It's time, it's money, and it's one of those things that doesn't seem to make a noticeable difference to give you the satisfaction when you drive away. If you forget, it's probably not a big deal, right?

Well....not really.

Luckily, getting your oil changed is one of the least expensive services your car needs. And despite it being relatively inexpensive, having your oil changed regularly and on schedule plays a critical role in preserving your vehicle and saving you money.

Oil is the blood of your vehicle, and keeping it healthy is critical. It keeps the many components of the engine working efficiently, and it helps reduce the accumulation of varnish and carbon from collecting on the engine. The engine can get very hot from the thousands of small explosions taking place every minute; oil helps pull the heat away from the combustion chamber, which essentially preventing the engine from blowing up. As oil does its job protecting and keeping the engine running smoothly, it eventually becomes less like liquid and more like sludge. And no matter how good the oil is, eventually it degrades as the additives get used up. That's when you should have your oil changed.

How often and what kind of oil should be used? It will depend on the type of oil you choose to use, what kind of car, and how often you drive. This is where your owner's manual will come in handy. The old adage suggests every 3 months or 3,000 miles. The amount of mileage you drive is more important than the amount of time. You may go on a road trip and burn through a few thousand miles in a few weeks, or it may take five months before you reach the recommended mileage. Pay attention to the odometer and how you've been driving your vehicle. Driving in extreme weather or towing a lot of weight behind your car will affect your oil too. And if you have an older car with a leak - even a slow or small one - oil changes are CRITICAL for making sure you have enough good stuff in there getting the job done. Don't wait until your check engine light comes on.

If you don't think you have the time or money to get your oil changed and you choose to wait, eventually the oil will get worse and worse, becoming more like sludge and clog your engine, or any one of the valves, filters, or sensors. Engines are expensive to clean, and replacing a worn-out piston is not a bill you want to receive.

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