The Importance of Oil Changes and How to Check Your Oil

The oil of your car’s engine is essential in order to prevent mechanical failure and extend the life of the vehicle. Engine oil provides essential lubrication to internal components that wear over time due to friction and heat. Here, we’ll review the reasons why oil changes and checking oil levels regularly is vital to the health of your car’s engine.

How Engine Oil Protects Your Car

There are two primary reasons why oil is critical to the performance and condition of your car’s engine. Oil is uniquely suited to protect the internal components of the combustion engine. Let’s start by talking about oil’s lubrication properties:

Lubrication’s Role in Reducing Friction and Heat

The internal components of an engine, including valves, pistons, and other moving parts, generate a significant amount of heat due to the high rates of speed at which they move. This heat is so great that it can degrade the engine without proper lubrication. 

If engine oil is neglected, greater friction takes place, causing additional stress. Engine oil provides the necessary lubrication to counteract the effects of both heat and friction, extending the life and performance of the vehicle. Proper lubrication is especially important in high mileage cars and trucks.

Due to the oil’s role in maintaining an engine’s efficiency and effectiveness, the oil itself will begin to break down over time. That is why most car manufacturers suggest that oil should be changed between 5000-10,000 mile intervals, depending on your car’s make and model. Consult your owner’s manual for your vehicle’s motor oil requirements.

How Oil Helps Improve Gas Mileage and Extends Engine Life

Since a well-running engine requires clean oil to perform, you’ll notice better gas mileage when the oil is changed regularly. When comparing two vehicles of the same make and model to see how oil impacts gas usage and overall performance, the cars missing oil changes and maintenance perform significantly worse than cars where oil is checked and changed on a scheduled basis. Now, more than ever, improving gas mileage is important for your vehicle and your wallet.

If oil changes are not performed regularly, the build-up of sludge, dirt particles, and other contaminants will adversely affect the way an engine operates. This can lead to the critical failure of an internal component like a valve, arm, or piston rendering the engine inoperable. The average cost of an engine is in the thousands of dollars, and that doesn’t include the labor to perform the replacement.

How to Check Your Engine’s Oil

Almost all cars have a dipstick that is used to check the level and condition of the oil. This dipstick should clearly be marked “Engine Oil” and be easily accessible.

First, make sure the car is parked on level ground, and the engine is cold. Motor oil can get extremely hot, so let the engine cool down for at least 15 minutes before checking the oil to avoid burning yourself. You should have a rag or paper towels on hand to wipe the stick clean before and after checking the oil level.

When you first pull the dipstick from the oil reservoir, you’ll likely notice the whole thing is covered in oil. Give the dipstick a quick wipe down; now, you should see two lines towards the tip. One is marked “Low” and the other “Full.” Your oil level should fall somewhere between these two lines. Insert the clean dipstick back into the reservoir and pull it out again—this will give you the most accurate reading. If the oil dipstick is completely dry even after several attempts, you should contact a mechanic immediately.

Clean, fresh oil should be almost transparent, whereas older oil tends to be brown or black in color, indicating an oil change is needed.

Rob’s Automotive: Keeping You on the Road for Over Four Decades

Since 1982, Rob’s Automotive has provided high-quality repairs for cars and trucks. We offer a wide range of services, including auto care in Bucks County. We also specialize in heavy-duty repairs for trucks and are certified by over 24 major manufacturers.

If it’s time to change your car’s oil, contact Rob’s Automotive. Our team is dedicated to providing high-quality automotive care and excellent customer service.