Oil plays a crucial role in keeping your engine running. While getting regular oil changes is common knowledge, many drivers still have a flurry of questions about this routine maintenance task. To help shed light on the subject of oil changes, here are some of the most frequently asked questions. Let's demystify the world of oil changes so that you can be better informed on how to care for your car.
Q: How often should I change my oil? A: The frequency of oil changes depends on your vehicle's make, model, and driving habits. Many vehicles have service reminders built in but some do not. As a rule of thumb, change oil every 5,000 miles when using synthetic and every 3,000 miles for conventional. Many shops will put a sticker in the corner of the windshield to record the mileage when the next oil change is due.
Q: Can I use any type of oil for my car? A: Different vehicles require different types of oil. Your owner's manual will indicate the recommended oil viscosity for optimal performance.
Q: What happens if I miss an oil change? A: Missing an oil change can lead to increased engine wear, reduced fuel efficiency, and potential engine damage. It's best to stick to your recommended oil change schedule.
Q: Can I switch from conventional to synthetic oil? A: Yes, you can switch. Synthetic oil provides better protection and longevity as well as saving time and money in the long run with longer oil change intervals.
Q: Is it normal for oil levels to drop between changes? A: Very little oil consumption is normal, but significant drops in oil levels indicate a leak or engine issue. If you notice this, consult a technician.
Q: Can I change my oil myself? A: Yes, if you're familiar with the process and have the right tools. However, many prefer professional service to ensure the job is done accurately and is properly documented.
Q: Should I change the oil filter too? A: Yes, the oil filter should be changed with every oil change. It helps keep contaminants out of the oil, ensuring optimal engine performance. An old oil filter can be clogged up with these contaminants and hinder oil flow.
Q: Can I extend the time between oil changes with synthetic oil? A: Synthetic oil generally lasts longer than conventional oil, but consult your manual or trusted technicians for further instructions.
Q: What does oil life percentage on the dash mean? Am I out of oil when it hits 0%? A: The oil life percentage is the percentage of the oil change interval remaining, not the oil level. Engines should not consume very much oil at all. When the oil life hits 0%, there is still oil in the engine but it is due for changing.
Remember, maintenance is key to the longevity of your vehicle's engine and this starts with oil changes.