People often underestimate the importance of oil changes. Most of us are pretty good about getting the routine maintenance done as scheduled, but it helps to understand why oil changes are so vital to the health of your car. It may also make you think twice about going to a pop-up lube shop for a “quick” or “cheap” oil change.
What Would Happen Without Oil
The reason that oil changes are the most common form of vehicle maintenance is because it is a very important process that needs to happen regularly. Bad things can happen if you don’t get your oil changed. It lubricates key engine components, which are moving at very high speeds as the engine is running. Without oil in the system, parts could get damaged beyond repair. Keeping up with those simple oil changes can cost you thousands in engine repair or engine replacement!
When to Change Your Oil
Most vehicles require the oil to be changed every 3,000-5,000 miles. Consult your owner’s manual for specific preventative maintenance recommendations. Most modern cars, hybrid vehicles and any vehicles that use synthetic oil can be changed every 5,000 miles (or every 5-6 months). Older vehicles may need to stick to the old standard of 3,000 miles (every 3 months or so).
Your driving conditions or how much you use the vehicle may also impact how often you need to change your oil. San Francisco has so many hills and a lot of traffic, which will put more strain on your engine. Likewise, carrying large loads or towing secondary vehicles can add to engine wear that may require more frequent oil changes. On the other side of the spectrum, what if you don’t drive your car that often and it sits unused for long periods of time? The oil can get gunky and corroded over time, and you still may need to get it changed periodically regardless of mileage.
The one thing anyone can do at home is to check their oil regularly. Your car will have a dipstick that allows you to very easily check the oil level and quality. Make sure the levels are where they need to be, and also look at the viscosity. It should be a light brown or gold in color with plenty of translucency. If it is dark/thick or smells burnt, it may be time to replace the oil and filter. If the quality is good and the level is just low, then you can top it off yourself. Again, consult your owner’s manual to make sure you use the right oil weight and type. If you are unsure, just bring it into San Francisco Automotive Solutions and we’ll be happy to help.
It’s common sense to get your oil and oil filter changed regularly as part of your overall vehicle maintenance program. Your car will run better and your engine components will last longer when properly lubricated. Trust San Francisco Automotive Solutions for all your vehicle maintenance and oil change needs. We can keep you on a regular schedule and remind you each time your next service is due. Call San Francisco Automotive Solutions today at (415) 523-0515 or schedule your next service appointment online.