If your dad is like mine he probably told you to change your oil every time he saw you. It is such a common part of American car culture that it can sometimes stay under the radar. It is one of the most basic auto maintenance steps for our vehicles that we tend to put off, in many ways like paying the phone bill. What are the long-term effects of not changing your oil ? What impact does it really have on the engine, and your wallet, if you don’t change your oil on a regular basis? What about the region you live in? Is there anything particular about Austin, Texas that you need to know about keeping your oil changed?
All of us need to change our oil on a regular schedule. Your owner’s manual or lube technician can inform you what that schedule is, but it is up to you to get it done. The amount of oil in the engine is extremely important and you should check the level of your oil about every other time you gas up. Get under the hood and use the dipstick to do this. Very few cars have oil level sensors. Normally, when the oil light comes on it means a loss of oil pressure and not simply a low oil level. If the oil light comes on your engine is moments away from locking up and you should turn the engine off. Few of us still change the oil in our cars, but keep in mind if you do that you need to change the filter also. When you get your oil changed, always request the name brand filter. The few extra dollars for a better filter will pay you dividends as your engine gets older.
Next, understand the importance that temperature plays in your oil’s life span. When your oil gets hotter than it should, it decays faster. Maintaining the cooling system in your car is vital. You simply cannot allow a slow coolant leak to cause your engine to run hot on a consistent basis. This will cause your oil to not lubricate as well as it should, again shortening the lifespan of your engine. Not spending a few dollars today can cost you thousands down the road. The days of replacing engines for a few hundred dollars are a thing of the distant past. With today’s complicated engines, you will not get out that easy.
Viscosity is another topic you need to think of. The oil’s ability to lubricate is the foundation of the internal combustion engine, and the reason we change it frequently. Dirty oil is black, and dirty oil simply will not lubricate the interior of your engine the way it should. The first thing you do to keep it clean is to change it, the second, as mentioned before, is to make sure you invest in a good oil filter. This ensures that the most particles are removed from the oil, ensuring better lubrication and a longer engine life.
Since temperature has a lot to do with how well your oil keeps your engine lubricated, you should understand that the heat of summer in Austin, Texas will affect the way your oil behaves. Your car cannot keep your engine as cool when it is one hundred degrees out as when it is much cooler. This is just a fact. This is particularly true when you are at idle. There is no air movement at idle, thus no air to carry away the heat of your engine. This heats the oil up much higher, so it is extremely important to check your cooling system and to keep your oil changed regularly in the months where temperatures can be extreme.
Hopefully, these tips can save you some time, money and help you begin with your vehicles maintenance. Above all, change your oil. There is a reason that that phrase is so well-worn. It comes from generations of people who did not do it, their engine seized up, and they paid the price.