Why Is It Important to Get the Oil Changed on Time in My Vehicle?

The oil change is the most basic car service that your vehicle needs to run properly. If you want your car to perform well in the long run, you need regular oil changes according to your owner's manual. Oil affects everything from performance to longevity to even gas mileage. However, many people question just how necessary oil changes are, so just why is it important to get oil changes at regular intervals?

Frequent Oil Changes Protect Vital Engine Components

Your vehicle's engine is one of the most expensive components in the entire car. When properly lubricated and maintained, an engine can run for hundreds of thousands of miles. However, if you ignore oil changes, that number can drop sharply. Clean oil protects your engine in two key ways. First, it helps to reduce friction between components, which increases their life span. Second, engine oil mitigates heat and therefore improves performance.

Proper lubrication is critical for engine parts like your crankshaft, pistons, rods, and bearings. These are the core parts of your engine that create and transfer power. Other engine parts, like valves, may also receive lubrication from the oil system. A problem with any of these components will require a full engine teardown, which means costly repairs. So, why is motor oil so crucial for engine lubrication?

How Clean Oil Ensures Proper Engine Lubrication

Your car's oil system includes an oil pump and an oil pan that acts as a reservoir. The oil pump sends motor oil through small channels in the engine block. There are little outlets in key locations in the vehicle's engine. Your pistons, for example, are the part that's most likely to come into contact with another. They can easily scrape the cylinder walls of the engine block, which would cause damage over time and potentially cause serious problems.

As you drive, little squirts of oil in the cylinder keep piston heads from scraping the walls, letting them glide smoothly up and down. That oil eventually drains back down into the pan and the cycle repeats. For this process to work correctly, you need the right amount of oil and it must meet the standards the engine was designed for. However, oil does more than just lubricate your engine.

Clean Engine Oil Cools Engine Components

Your engine oil also plays a critical role in keeping the engine cool. Moving parts generate friction, which generates heat. By minimizing friction, your oil also keeps temperatures under control. Furthermore, oil actually removes heat by absorbing it from nearby parts and taking it down to the pan. High temperatures hinder performance and can cause parts to wear down faster.

When temperature increases, parts expand. This can create more friction, which means higher temperatures and more thermal expansion. In addition, higher temperatures can cause fluid levels to drop because of boiling. This is why an overheating engine can seize up or outright explode in the most extreme cases. Quality oil means a cooler engine, which means your car lasts longer and retains its trade-in value.

Healthy Engine Oil Can Increase Gas Mileage

You might be surprised to learn that an oil change can improve your gas mileage. Fuel economy goes down when an engine has to overcome more friction to produce the same amount of power. In addition, as your lubricant gets worse, it gains viscosity, making it harder to push through the pump. With dirty engine oil, your car has to work harder to deliver horsepower to your wheels.

After a routine oil change, you may notice a bit of extra pep in your car's step. That is a sign that you were overdue for regular oil service. With fresh oil in the system, your engine can get more work done with less fuel, resulting in better gas mileage and longer engine life. But why does your car need oil changes at specific intervals?

Why Does Oil Need to Be Changed on a Regular Basis?

If you've looked at your owner's manual, you'll see a service schedule that calls for routine oil changes. In most vehicles, you are encouraged to get your oil changed at least once a year. There is also a mileage limit, which can vary from as low as 3,000 miles to as high as 10,000 miles in some cars using synthetic oil. However, if you don't drive your vehicle very much, do you really need to stick to the time interval?

Oil degrades over time, even if it's not being used. Even though a sealed bottle of motor oil might have a shelf life of five years, once it's been opened and exposed to the elements, that shelf life is easily cut in half. And with regular use, even if only for short distances, your oil decomposes faster. Always stick to the service schedule for your vehicle.

Consider what happens to your oil as time goes on:

Oil Breaks Down From Heat and Cannot Protect Your Car

Oil transforms as it fluctuates in temperature. While running, it has to deal with the hot environment of your car's engine. At rest, your oil could plummet to extremely low temperatures, depending on where you live. These changes affect your oil's ability to transfer heat as key molecules in the lubricant are broken down.

In addition, your oil gets thicker as time goes on because it's exposed to oxygen. This makes it harder to travel through the small channels in the engine, which reduces cooling. Without regular oil changes, your oil can eventually turn into sludge. Sludge is hardened oil that can clog your engine and lead to serious engine damage. Removing sludge is a difficult job that only a mechanic can handle. Avoid that problem and save money with an oil change.

Dirt Particles and Moisture Make Dirty Oil

Your oil filter keeps particulates out of the fluid and away from the motor. However, like any other filter, your oil filter will eventually be overcome with particles. Small amounts of dirt and moisture make their way into the system through your air intake. Even with a good filter, those particulates add up over time. If your vehicle has poor lubrication, metal shavings can also work their way into the lubrication system. You don't want any foreign material in your lubrication.

Dirt and other debris increase wear on engines, which can cause cars to have mechanical problems faster. If you frequently drive in areas with bad air conditions or have had some mechanical issues in the past, you may need an oil change more often. A mechanic can take a sample of your fluids to determine whether you need to get an oil change ahead of schedule.

Schedule an Oil Change With a Licensed Mechanic

The importance of oil for your car is clear. It prevents wear, gets you better gas mileage, and keeps your engine clean and cool. The cost of an oil change is nothing compared to the money you'd spend on engine repair. Regardless of the model, vehicles need to be properly lubricated.

Schedule an oil change with Landmark Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram in Independence, MO by calling 816-836-0100 or schedule online here. Our officially licensed mechanics will ensure that your vehicle keeps running for years to come.

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