After 29 years in business, the single most important auto maintenance advice I can give is change your oil every 3,000 miles. Here’s an impressive fact: today’s cars are built to last for 200,000 miles. Seriously. How is this possible? It may not be possible unless you are diligent about performing the single most important service on your car; namely keep the oil clean.
Modern engines have onboard computers and fuel injection, which results in a very efficient engine that operates smoothly and can operate effectively for many, many years; but technology alone won’t get you there. In order for your car to reach that 200,000 plus mile mark, you absolutely, beyond question, must give your engine some essential support, namely basic, routine maintenance and the most important item on the maintenance checklist is clean oil. If you take this advice, not only will you extend the life of your car, but you’ll minimize the possibility of any breakdowns or expensive repairs.
Engine Oil is the Lifeblood of Your Car
No aspect of regular maintenance is more important than changing the oil regularly. It’s utterly essential. Oil is the lifeblood of your engine. Many of us expect to live long and productive lives, but we also know that our bodies won’t last if we don’t eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly and avoid things that aren’t good for us. Your car’s engine is the same. It has the potential for a long life, but not if it isn’t maintained. The prescription? Change the oil every 3,000 miles. Clean oil reduces friction, which means there will be less heat buildup and your engine will run cooler and last longer.
Take a look at this photo of clean engine oil in the cup at the bottom, contrasted with some oil we took out of a car at the 3,000 mile mark, in the tall plastic bottle.
That dark color in the old oil is caused by debris that accumulates in your engine: the product of combustion, friction, tiny suspended particles from wear or dirt. Imagine how much worse that second glass would look if you stretch out your oil changes another 3,000 miles. Then add another 1,500 miles to reach the recommended oil change interval set by some manufacturers. That dirty oil is lubricating the tiny clearances between all the moving parts in your engine. When oil contains more debris, it greatly increases the amount of friction, wear and heat, putting greater strain on the engine and reducing its longevity. It’s a fact.
Auto Manufacturers’ Oil Change Recommendations
I know your car’s manufacturer probably recommends that you can go 5,000 or 7,500 miles between oil changes. With that guidance, your car will almost certainly run well beyond the warranty period. But it won’t make it to 200,000 miles unless you’re just lucky. Oh, and the manufacturer will get to sell you a new car sooner. Take my advice: 3,000 miles. You’ll also improve the resale appeal of your car when you can demonstrate that excellent maintenance record.
The Price of an Oil Change
I want to address one thought you may have. Oil changes are not a big business for car repair facilities. The price of an oil change today is scarcely more than it was 30 years ago, when it cost about $24.95. It’s around $29.95 today. The cost of oil has gone up and so has the cost of labor, but the price of an oil change has hardly increased at all. Oil changes aren’t big money for us in the repair and maintenance business. The real person who wins if you perform those regular oil changes is you. You’ll have your car longer, it’ll run better, and you’ll almost certainly avoid thousands of dollars in repairs.
Use a Quality Oil Filter
It is important to use a quality oil filter. Like most things in life, you get what you pay for. Many of your quick oil changes places will use an inexpensive oil filter to increase their profit margin. I’m sorry to say that this is at your expense! Not all oil filters are the same and I would insist on a name brand filter. We use only Fram filters in our shop.
Wishing you safe and happy motoring.
Owner, Hillside Auto Repair