Just as the human body needs blood running through the veins to stay alive, so does motor oil in your vehicle’s engine. Motor oil provides lubrication to prevent internal parts from rubbing metal to metal, prevents overheating of internal components not cooled by the coolant, and prevents corrosion of essential engine components.
Several different types of engine oils exist to keep all kinds of engines running smoothly. However, the most common engine oils are conventional, synthetic blend, and full synthetic oils. At Sun Auto Service, we get all kinds of questions about vehicles, particularly “how often do I need an oil change?” The answer really depends on the kind of oil your vehicle requires. Below are our recommendations on the frequency of oil changes based on the oil type. To determine what kind of oil your vehicle requires, refer to your owner’s manual.
- Conventional – A petroleum-based oil made from refined crude oil found underground. Change every 3,000 miles.
- Synthetic Blend – a combination of both conventional and synthetic oils allows for better protection of internal parts, performance, and lubrication. Lasts longer as they are more resistant to heat and do not break down as easily as conventional oil. Change every 3,000 miles.
- Full Synthetic – a crude oil that has been heavily purified and broken down into refined molecules that are suitable to meet the demands of modern engines. Also, possess additives that are synthetically produced. Full synthetic oils are most resistant to heat and temperature changes and have fewer impurities to resist sludge build up. Change every 5,000 miles not to exceed 7,000 miles.
Leave it to the Pros or Do It Yourself?
Plenty of instructional videos accessed online demonstrate “how to’s” on a wide variety of vehicle repairs and maintenance. Take caution, though, not all instructors are qualified or have the true know-how of all tasks they are instructing. If you’re up to the challenge, doing your own oil changes can save you some money. Make sure you’re well-versed before you get started, though, or you may unintentionally cause catastrophic damages. Mistakes like using the incorrect oil, forgetting to replace the oil cap, or under or overfilling the oil, can end up costing you more in the long run.
What Happens if I Overfill My Oil?
You know that engine oil is the lifeblood of your vehicle and can’t survive without it. Believe it or not, when it comes to oil, too much good can be bad. The crankshaft that drives the engine’s pistons is situated above the oil reservoir at the bottom of the oil pan. To move lubricant, a pump pressurizes and draws it up from the pan to be pumped into internal areas. Adding too much oil to the engine can raise the level of the oil in the pan enough to where the crankshaft makes a considerable amount of contact with oil in the pan. Because of its speedy nature, it can turn the oil from a liquid into a foamy froth like your morning latte, preventing it from siphoning or distribution. This starves the engine from the much-needed lubricant, which can result in serious damage. Often an overfilled oil reservoir makes your car’s oil pressure gauge behave unusually, letting you know that not enough oil is being pumped through the engine, particularly if the gauge needle is moving back and forth rapidly. If you believe your engine has been overfilled with oil, do not attempt to drive for more than a couple of miles. Pull over, check the oil level, drain the lubricant if you are able, or take it to a repair shop right away.
How to Check Oil Level
It’s a good idea to check the oil level frequently. Even after you’ve had an oil change at your local lube center, it’s a good idea to check. Plus, by checking your oil often, you’ll know if your engine is consuming or losing too much oil and you’ll be able to identify any unusual discoloration. Follow our handy guide on how to check your oil:
- Make sure your car or truck is parked on level ground for a precise reading. Turn off the engine and allow it to cool for 10 – 15 minutes. Note: in the past, manufacturers recommended to check the oil when the engine was cold, such a first thing in the morning. Manufacturers have recently made changes to dipsticks to read correctly even if the engine is warm. Consult your owner’s manual for specific instructions on your vehicle.
- Open the hood and locate the dipstick or refer to your owner’s manual. Some vehicles are equipped with electronic oil level monitors, making checking the oil manually, unnecessary.
- Remove the dipstick and using a paper towel or a clean rag, wipe the dipstick to remove oil. The level on the dipstick when you first pull it out is inaccurate because engine oil may splash around producing a false reading.
- Reinsert the dipstick, pushing it all the way back in, count to three, and remove the dipstick again.
- Examine, on both sides, noting where the oil falls on the dipstick indicators at either low, normal, or high. Observe the color and consistency. Dark brown is normal, however, any other color such as a light, milky color, black, or gritty could indicate something is not right and should be taken to a professional. A milky color, for example, is an indicator that coolant has leaked into the engine.
- Wipe the dipstick again and place it back into the tube, confirming it is fully inserted, and close the hood.
Save yourself the time and hassle of having to change your vehicle’s oil by bringing it to Sun Auto Service. Relax at home or in our comfortable waiting areas, enjoying access to free Wi-Fi and coffee while you wait. With oil change prices that start at $19.95, you’re sure to save over the dealer. Plus, we include a complimentary tire rotation, fluid check, and multi-point inspection along with the lube, oil, and filter at no additional charge! Sun Auto Service uses Valvoline oils and premium filters, to guarantee you’re getting the very best. Why spend half the day changing your oil, when you can have it done in about an hour? Save yourself some time and money by conveniently scheduling your next oil change at one of our many locations today!