Changing your oil is one of the most important maintenance tasks for your car. After all, your engine needs oil to function and keep your car on the road. However, how can you tell that your car is due for an oil change? Do you need to have it changed every 3,000 miles, or is there another metric you should be using? Thunderbird Automotive Specialists has years of experience in completing oil changes, and we are happy to guide you through the process of determining whether or not your car is due for one.
The Basics of an Oil Change
The frequency of your oil changes will vary depending on a number of factors. Because of technological advances in automobile manufacturing, many cars don’t need oil changes more frequently than 7,500 miles. For example, Ford and Porsche recommend oil changes every 10,000 miles. BMWs use synthetic oil and are made with high-performance materials, so they only need oil changes every 15,000 miles. Not sure how often you should think about an oil change? Check your owner’s manual to see what your manufacturer recommends. The manual will also tell you what types of oil you should choose for maximum performance.
Why Do You Need to Change Your Oil?
Motor oil is to a car what blood is to a body. Oil is responsible for cooling down the numerous moving parts that prevent wear and friction in your engine. It stops the accumulation of dirt and debris that can form sludge that does permanent damage to your car. Oil also stops corrosion from acids and moisture. Over time, oil degrades in quality due to the depletion of the additives mixed in. It’s important to swap out in the oil in your vehicle on a regular basis to replenish the additives, prevent damage to your vehicle and enjoy maximum performance.
The Signs That Your Oil Needs to Be Changed
If you drive your car in severe conditions, you need to change your oil more frequently. What can be considered harsh conditions?
- Idling or driving in stop-and-go traffic
- Driving when the temperature is under 10 degrees or over 90 degrees
- Taking numerous short car trips under 5 miles
- Hauling heavy materials or towing things with your vehicle
Even if you don’t drive in severe conditions, there are still many signs that indicate that it’s time to change your oil:
- Is your oil dark and/or dirty? Over time, the oil in your engine darkens from use and collecting debris and dirt in the engine. Since you don’t see your oil on a regular basis, to check the color, you should remove the dipstick, wipe it off and place it back into the oil. Draw out the dipstick again and take a look. If you can clearly see the stick through the oil, you’re in good shape. If the oil is dark and thick, you need an oil change.
- Can you hear knocking or engine noise when you drive your car? Oil makes a barrier between parts in your engine so that things should be nice and quiet when you drive. As oil degrades in quality, it won’t do a good job lubricating, and you’ll hear more noise.
- Is the check engine light on in your car? If the oil change or check engine lights are illuminated, you should take your car in for service, which might involve an oil change.
- Is there smoke coming out of your tailpipe? While translucent smoke is a normal sign in the winter months, dark smoke is a sign of an oil leak in the engine.
Keep Your Automobile in Great Shape with Thunderbird Automotive
Thunderbird Automotive is a leader in auto repair and maintenance in Phoenix, AZ thanks to our awesome customer service, broad range of repair services and expertise. To learn more about our services and get your vehicle checked out, please contact us at (602) 938-3631.