If you're like me, your car is likely the biggest investment in your life. You've worked hard to be able to own and maintain it, so you want to keep it running as efficiently as possible for as long as possible. And one of the best ways to do that is by getting an oil change. But not all oil changes are created equal. So how can you tell if you're getting the best oil change for your car? Here are my tips:
How often do you need an oil change?
The interval is based on the combination of the oil type and filter. Check your owner's manual for the recommended oil change intervals for a basic rule to follow. But everyone drives differently and this can significantly change how you'll want to go about oil changes. The oil filter determines how many miles you could reasonably go between oil changes, I.e. 3,000, 5,000, and 7,500 mile rated filters are the most common. But that's not the only consideration, over time as oil breaks down during use and from sitting, a byproduct is created from that breakdown: acid! Engine oil low in detergents used to neutralize this acid or oil used too long becomes corrosive to your engine, seals, and the filter causing reduced life and leaks. Oil loses its viscosity and ability to lubricate and cool engine components. With this in mind, you can understand why Oil changes are typically recommended every 3-4 months regardless of miles traveled.
The thing about the Oil Filter.
The oil filter is generally cheap and easy to replace, but it’s important. The oil filter is a disposable part that removes contaminants from your engine's oil. It sits at the end of your car's engine (or sometimes in front, depending on your make and model) and has a screen inside it to collect dirt and grime as you drive around town. Over time, oil filters get full and start to bypass unfiltered oil which can cause serious damage to your vehicle—and expensive repairs later down the road.
So while changing out the oil isn't difficult, choosing the right filter is important too. A lot of folks will choose the cheapest filter that fits, and while for some people this works well enough, for others this could lead to $1,000's in repair costs down the line. A good rule to follow is to consider how many miles you travel on average in the given 3-4 months between oil changes. Some people are local daily drivers only and only put on 2-3,000 miles on their vehicle in that time, if that's your case then it's a smart and cost-efficient move to buy the 3,000-mile rated filter. If you commute long distances or take frequent trips, then it's usually a better bet to go for the 5-7,500 mile filters. In the rarer case that you drive super long distances frequently, to avoid doing an oil change every other week, consider paying for a high-grade filter, such as the FRAM Titanium which could go nearly 20,000 miles before the filter is no longer serviceable. If you're unsure about which parts should be replaced during an oil change, ask our mechanics for more information about specific needs related directly to your make/model vehicle.
Consider a Synthetic Oil Change
Before you just go out and buy a FRAM Titanium thinking you can go a year without another oil change remember, the quality of oil matters too. If you've ever gotten an oil change, you probably know that the technician will ask if you want a "synthetic blend" or "full synthetic" change. Since it can be confusing to figure out what they are and why they matter—I'm here to help.
Synthetic oils have been around for quite some time now (over 100 years!), but until recently, they've mostly been used in high-performance engines where the extra protection and durability are worth the cost of switching over from conventional oil. Today, though, there's been a shift towards synthetic blends because of how much better they are for most vehicles' engine components—and more importantly: how much better they are for your wallet! Typically speaking Synthetic oil runs cleaner, for longer, and often (but not always) has more detergents and additives, which can allow for those longer mileage intervals between oil changes we talked about. Think about it this way, if you use a lower quality oil with fewer detergents that oil is likely to become acidic much quicker and ruin the life of the filter even if you dished out for an expensive filter. Now, just cause its conventional oil doesn't necessarily mean it's lower quality or low on detergents, but with conventional oil being the "cheaper" option manufacturers can tend to put less into those products.
Oil Additives for longer engine life.
Now, I've mentioned "detergents" and "oil additives" a lot, and you might have heard from your mechanic about these miracle additives that can help your engine run smoother, cleaner, and more efficiently.
But what exactly are they?
Oil additives are specially formulated products that are added to your motor oil to maintain their viscosity and lubrication rating and detergents that neutralize the acid byproduct from breakdown. A lot of Shops sell additional additive products with more of the good stuff to boost the overall amount of modifiers and detergents in the oil they give your engine during your oil change. These products contain more of what the manufacturers used and sometimes a variety of other additives which make the lubricant perform better than it would without them. They extend an engine's life and make it run more smoothly by improving fuel economy, reducing wear and tear on the moving parts inside the engine, and acting as dispersants to keep contaminants in suspension so they don't settle into deposits on metal surfaces or cause corrosion, preventing foaming at high temperatures to improve lubricity (reducing friction), providing corrosion inhibitors for protection against rusting metal surfaces - all while also protecting against oxidation by keeping oxygen out of metal surfaces!
You can be sure you're getting the best oil change for your car when you go to HonToy Care Automotive. We have a long history of offering excellent service, and we're proud to provide it again and again.
We hope that this article has helped answer some of the questions you may have had about getting the best oil change for your vehicle. If there's anything else we can help with, please don't hesitate to give us a call at (303) 443-0145 or stop by our shop for more information!