In the United States during 2018, the Oil Change Services industry reached $6 billion in revenue.
Routine oil changes are crucial for protecting your car’s engine. Not only does it make your engine last longer, but your gas mileage can also actually get better.
The U.S. Department of Energy says that this service can improve your gas mileage by 1-2%. Over the course of the year, you could save a whole gallon of gas.
But what exactly is an oil change? And when should you get one? What does the technician do during this service?
Read on to learn the answer to these questions and more.
When to Get an Oil Change
There is a lot of conflicting information out there about when to get an oil change for your car. There’s even a debate about the timing vs mileage.
But you shouldn’t rely on a certain time frame to gauge when it’s time to come see us at Mountain View Automotive. That’s because your driving patterns may change from one month to the next.
It’s best to determine when to get an oil change based on mileage not time since your last service.
Those who typically drive 10 miles or less at a time will need to change their oil more frequently. That’s because their car’s oil can’t get hot enough to boil off condensation on such short drives.
On the other hand, commuters who drive more than 20 miles each day on freeways can go much longer between changes.
You may need to change your oil more often if you carry heavy loads, drive at low speeds for long distances, let your car idle, drive in dusty areas, or go off-roading.
Oil brands sometimes suggest getting an oil change every 3,000 miles. Yet, that is rarely ever warranted and is self-serving. Most cars can go at least 5,000 miles before an oil change.
The best way to know when to get an oil change is by referring to your owner’s manual. You’ll find the manufacturer specifications for your specific car.
Yet, this will only give you an approximation. A qualified mechanic will be better able to tell you when you need your next oil change based on what she or he sees under the hood.
What Happens During an Oil Change?
Is an oil change just changing the oil in your car? Not quite.
Getting this important service handled is a maintenance must that involves a few other steps.
First, the mechanic or technician will check the oil level. Then, he or she will drain the car’s oil.
Next, the technician will take out the oil filter and examine it. If the filter is coated in oil, it will need to be replaced. It’s common to replace your filter when you change your oil.
By now, the old oil will have emptied out fully. Then the technician will put the oil pan back on your car and refill the engine with oil.
You may choose which oil you want or the technician will choose for you based on what brands they stock at that shop.
How Long Does it Take to Get an Oil Change?
From start to finish, the actual process doesn’t take long. The entire thing can be done in less than 30 minutes.
However, wait time will vary depending on where you go for an oil change. Those quick-stop shops usually get you in and out as fast as possible. They’re all about volume and not necessarily quality. While you don’t need an appointment, it’s a gamble to just show up.
But, you may trust your dealership or qualified mechanic more. If you have an appointment, there still could be a long wait if other cars are being worked on ahead of yours. You might wait an hour or more.
Difference Between Synthetic Oil Filter and Regular Oil Filter
People assume that if you use synthetic oil in your engine you need a synthetic oil filter.
That’s not true. Synthetic oil doesn’t need a synthetic filter. But, there are synthetic filters out there.
These filters are made of more synthetic fibers than regular paper filters.
Yet, when you look at filters, you should consider the filtration rate. That’s more important than whether a filter is synthetic or not.
Choose a filter that has the same filtration rate (or better) than the filter that came with the car when it was brand new.
What Happens If You Don’t Get One?
One of the most common questions about changes is “what happens if you don’t get an oil change?”
To answer that questions, let’s first talk about what an oil change does.
First, the oil in your engine lubricates the moving parts. This keeps the engine running smoothly.
The oil also reduces friction and your engine from overheating.
If your car’s oil level drops, then it can’t properly perform these important tasks. The results could be needing a new engine much sooner, overheating and sticking piston rings.
Part of car ownership is proper maintenance. Getting an oil change is part of the package. It keeps your engine in good working condition and protects you from other, more costly expenses.
Getting an oil change is a smart investment that pays for itself over the life of the engine.
Thanks for reading. Now you know what to expect when you go in for an oil change.
Whether your car is new or has seen a lot of miles, an oil change helps your car remain dependable. It’s one of the easiest and least expensive ways to protect your car’s engine.
Next, learn why your car won’t start and what to do about it.