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  • Writer's pictureThe Garage Eccleshall

Why Do I Need To Change My Car's Oil?

How often should I change my oil? Is it safe to go beyond the recommended mileage or time frame?

The oil in your car serves multiple purposes, all of which are crucial for the proper running of your vehicle. Many people believe that as long as their car starts, runs and drives then there is no need to change the oil in the car but we must stress that this is NOT the case.

Your car's oil is essential for a smooth and healthy engine and can help prevent irreparable damage that you can easily avoid. Oil is an engine's lifeblood, so not having it would cause serious damage to the engine. Without regular oil changes, the various mechanical parts of your vehicle will rub against each other resulting in friction which causes excessive heat. This will lead to premature wear of these moving parts which can affect the performance of your engine leading to further expenses, or in the worse case even failure of the engine.

Here are our top 4 reasons why you should change the oil in your car:

Engine Performance

Fresh or new oil in your engine helps to reach peak engine performance.

Your engine has a range of parts that move at high speeds which tend to cause friction and therefore heat. Changing your oil regularly will ensure your engine has proper lubrication and will reduce the amount of heat produced.

Not only that, changing the oil will also get rid of dirt and debris that can clog up your engine making it run inefficiently.

If your oil is not changed, eventually the engine will heat up, wear down and stop working.

Reduce Harmful Emissions

Forgetting to change your oil could lead to dirty, old oil producing noxious engine emissions. Not only will fresh oil keep your engine more efficient, but it will also prevent old oil burning and producing harmful gases, which could lead it to failing an MOT test based on emissions.

Miles per gallon

Regular oil changes will improve your engine's miles per gallon, regular, oil changes are an easy way to save on fuel, so is having the correct tyre pressures!

A worn engine will make the fuel requirements of your engine increase so keep your engine lubricated!

Extended Engine Life

We know your vehicle is a big expense, so extending the life of your engine is a great way to save money in the long run. Keeping your engine running efficiently and debris-free is a great way to extend the life of your engine.

How to check whether I need to change the Oil in my car?

You should schedule in regular oil changes with your local garage or if you're doing it yourself, set yourself a reminder. All manufacturers will provide a schedule for your specific car for you to follow.

To check your oil level, open the bonnet of the car and locate the dipstick (it will be shaped like a ring pull protruding from the engine). Take the dipstick out all the way and give it a wipe with a clean cloth so that you get a nice clear reading. Reinsert it back into the engine and remove once more to get an accurate oil level reading.

Most dipsticks will be marked in two places to identify the minimum and maximum oil levels but check your owner’s manual for further information. It is important that you do not let your engine oil level drop below the minimum mark, but just as importantly you should not overfill the engine in order to maintain optimum performance. Do this with the car on level ground. Some newer cars have electronic oil level reading, generally the owners manual will tell you what you need to do.

Here are a few ways to check whether you need an oil change sooner rather than later:

  • If the oil colour is very dark

  • If the oil is very course or gritty

  • If you've driven over 6,000 miles from your last oil change

  • If your dashboard oil light is showing

  • If your oil level keeps dropping

  • Increased engine noise

How often should I do an Oil Change?

The interval between each oil change will vary depending on many factors, generally the manufacture will specify an appropriate schedule. However, here are some general guidelines to follow:

Every 3,000 to 6,000 miles - With low-quality oils and poor driving conditions (e.g. dusty roads), or some high performance engines.

Every 12 months or 10,000 miles - For standard use; under good driving conditions (e.g. city driving)

With high-quality oils; under excellent driving conditions (e.g. highway driving), this can be as much as 18,000 miles. Some manufacturers recommend the use of Long Life oils, so to determine your car's manufacturer recommended oil change intervals, check the owner's manual, or ask your mechanic.

How To Change My Car's Oil?

Although not an inherently difficult task, changing oil is easy to get wrong and the consequences for doing so can be harsh.

If you are going to tackle it, make sure you check your owner's manual for the correct type of oil needed for your vehicle. The wrong type of oil may do more harm than good! Most oil companies have websites where you can find out which oils are good for your make and model of car. There are many variations around multiple international standards.

There will also be a limited range or specific volume of oil to add, and once the oil is added this needs to be checked. Having too much or too little can cause problems with your engine running.

Changing the oil needs to be done when the oil is warm at operating temperature, so be careful with the oil being removed as it can be hot. Waste oil can be quite dangerous so will need to be disposed of carefully in an environmentally friendly way. Most garages have a third party do this for them to ensure standards are met and there is a clear and certificated process.

If you want to change the oil in your car yourself, check out this guide which takes you through step by step

Remember though, oil changes often from part of the overall service schedule of a car, and are part of a broader set of maintenance procedures, often manufacturers will require all these to be done to maintain a warranty.

Alternatively, we at The Garage, Eccleshall provide Engine Oil and Filter changes and many other services that can help your car run more smoothly, efficiently and keep it running for longer.



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