The Importance Of A Regular Oil Change

Recent research indicates that one in five drivers never check engine oil and 3 million say they don’t even know how to check engine oil. This can be problematic as regular car service and oil change are extremely important for keeping your car running. If you’re unsure how often you should change your engine oil, or why, this guide has all the answers.

What Does Car Oil Do To Your Engine?

Engine oil is vital for any car as it lubricates the moving parts of the engine, helping the combustion process work more efficiently. In truth, your car won’t run without engine oil as metal parts will rub together causing irreversible and expensive engine damage.

By performing a regular oil change and replacing the oil filter, your car will not only run smoother but also have a longer lifespan. The oil filter is there to “clean” the engine oil which passes through it by trapping any bits of metal, dirt or dust particles. This will help keep the oil particle-free and a good lubricant for as long as possible.

If you don’t perform a regular oil change with a new oil filter, it can quickly become blocked by debris. Any sort of blockage will reduce the amount of clean oil that passes through and that can seriously damage your engine.

How Often Should I Change My Oil And Oil Filter?

Oil change intervals are not the same for all cars as it often depends on vehicle age, the type of oil and driving conditions. It used to be accepted practice to perform an oil change every 3,000 miles but modern lubricants have changed that. Today, many carmakers have recommended oil change intervals of 5,000 to 7,500 miles. Also, if your car requires full-synthetic oil, it could even go as far as 15,000 miles between services.

Top Tip For An Oil Change:

It’s almost impossible to judge the engine oil condition by colour so it’s essential to follow the factory maintenance schedule for an oil change.

Recommended: ‘Why It’s Important To Change Your Oil Regularly

Oil Change Intervals For Older Cars

Older cars usually have oil change intervals based on mileage with two maintenance schedules; one for cars driven in “normal” operation and for those used in “severe service.” The latter involves operating your car under one or more of the following conditions:

  • Primarily taking short trips of 5 miles or less
  • Driving in extremely hot, cold, or dusty conditions
  • Continuous stop-and-start driving
  • Transporting heavy loads, towing a trailer or caravan

If your vehicle is under the “severe service” definition in your owner’s manual, make sure to maintain your car using the more rigorous schedule. Under normal conditions, make sure you don’t spend your hard-earned money on oil changes or services that your car may not need or benefit from.

Oil Change Intervals For Newer Cars

Today, most newer cars have an oil-life monitoring system that automatically determines when you need an oil change. It will notify you with an alert on the instrument panel. Whilst earlier systems are use time and mileage as determining factors, the modern systems analyse real vehicle operating conditions to identify when the oil will start degrading.

The owner’s and maintenance manuals for many newer cars no longer have “severe service” recommendations as the oil-life monitoring system automatically shortens the oil change interval when detecting heavy-duty operation. Although newer engines might have less frequent oil changes, it’s vital to check the oil level monthly and top up as needed.

When you book an oil change service, the technician should reset the oil-life monitoring system and if you’re changing the oil at home, you can reset the system by following the instructions in your vehicle owner’s manual.

Which Oil Is Best For My Car?

Every car engine needs oil but you should only use the best for your car as recommended by the manufacturer. Considering modern engines are designed to exacting standards and require car oil that meets certain specifications, you need to choose wisely. If you have a new car, using the wrong type of oil could even void your warranty.

To ensure efficiency, increased lifespan and performance, you should always use the oil that your engine was designed for. Look at the label on a car oil and you’ll see some digits, such as 10W-40 or 5W-30. These numbers refer to the viscosity (‘thickness’) of the oil but some are ‘multigrade’ with additives that can change the viscosity depending on temperature.

Recommended: ‘Choosing The Best Oil For My Car

How To Find The Right Oil For Your Car

The best ways to find the correct grade of oil for your car is to contact your local main dealer or consult your car owner’s manual. Inside, you will find the recommended grade(s) and viscosity, such as 5W-30 or 5W-40, the two most common types of engine oil.

Here, the ‘5’ refers to the viscosity in cold weather where the ‘W’ stands for ‘winter’. The ’30’ or ’40’ refers to the oil flow at higher engine temperatures with ’30’ often best for newer petrol engines and ’40’ for older or diesel engines.

5W-30 and 5W-40 oils are compatible with some models of common cars, including the Ford Focus, Ford Ka, Honda Civic and VW Golf. Several other car models, such as a Vauxhall Astra, Vauxhall Corsa and MINI Cooper recommend 0W-30 oil, which is similar to 5W-30 but less viscous at lower temperatures.

What Is Synthetic Oil?

Fully-synthetic oils are more expensive but they’re worth it in the long run as it offers superior performance due to fewer impurities than regular car oil. They also provide better protection as they are more consistent and more durable with a better flow rate at hot or cold temperatures. So, even though it’s slightly more expensive, the return on investment is worth it.

What Does An Oil and Filter Change Include?

A filter and oil change service is the most important form of car maintenance. It consists of fully draining the old oil and replacing it with new engine oil and an oil filter. Compared to a full car service, it’s relatively quick and affordable. During an oil and filter change, technicians follow these five simple steps:

  • Remove sump plug and drain the oil
  • Remove the oil filter
  • Replace the sump plug
  • Replace the oil filter
  • Refill the oil to the correct level following the manufacturer’s recommendations

It may seem like a very simple process but only if know what you’re doing. Unless you have experience changing your oil and oil filter, it’s best to leave it to the professionals.

Book an Oil Change And Car Service At Elite Garages

We recommend an oil change every 5,000 miles but other factors may play a part. This includes how you drive as aggressive acceleration puts extra pressure on the engine, oil and oil filter. High-speed driving can also speed up the wear and tear of engine parts, resulting in using oil faster.

Remember, oil becomes less effective with age, especially if the vehicle isn’t driven often enough. When a vehicle remains stationary for a long time, the engine isn’t warm enough which results in excess moisture forming inside and that will deteriorate the oil faster.

Don’t wait until it’s too late; book your oil change and car service at Elite Garages. Our friendly, professional team of technicians are standing by to help keep your car in excellent working condition. For your convenience, here is a full list of service centres across the south and south-east of England.