The majority of vehicle owners have no idea how to change their oil. Most would have trouble locating the reservoir. If you are one of those individuals then don’t feel ashamed- you definitely aren’t alone. However, just because you didn’t take automotive in high school doesn’t mean you can’t educate yourself on the subject. Understanding when and how to change your oil can save you tons of money. This is excellent considering low cost car insurance quotes are hard to find these days.
The Effects of Dirty Oil
As you probably already know, dirty oil in a vehicle doesn’t perform as well as fresh oil does. When dirty oil boils, it begins to eat at the metal inside of your engine and contaminate certain areas (like the crankcase). Eventually, water begins to collect in those regions, and once mixed with the bad oil, generates something called “sludge”.
Sludge is your vehicles worst enemy. Basically, this is when you oil becomes very dark and very thick and doesn’t flow as smoothly as it should. When you oil becomes too thick, it tends to hold onto more of those loose particles in the engine. Because of this, those particles cycle through your engine and do a lot of damage.
When Should You Change Your Oil
Now that we understand how bad oil affects your vehicle, let’s learn when it is the right time to change it. Not changing your oil regularly tends to be a very common problem for most vehicle owners. This is partly due to ignorance and partly due to laziness. Either way, it is important that you recognize when the time is approaching to change your oil. If you wait too long then you risk there being significant damage to your vehicle.
First of all, let’s cover a very important concept. You can’t tell whether or not your vehicle needs an oil change by observing the color of your oil. It will deceive you. Any oil that you pour into any vehicle will turn black after a couple of days. So even if the oil is fresh, it will look dirty. You can’t make a judgment call based on that information.
Instead, you are going to need to keep a record of your last oil change and make a habit to change it often- at least every 5,000 miles or so. This can range depending on how extreme the operating conditions are. If you change your oil regularly like you are supposed to then your vehicle can last twice as long as it normally would (in terms of mileage).
What Constitutes “Extreme Operating Conditions”?
When you think of “extreme operating conditions”, you probably imagine large trucks doing a lot of hauling or heavy towing. Well, that’s not always the case. For example, if you live in a city where rush hour produces a lot of stop-and-go traffic, then you fall under extreme operating conditions. You also fall under this category if you run frequent errands on a daily basis and allow your car to cool between each one.
Oil and cool engines don’t mix. When you an engine doesn’t get hot enough, it can’t evaporate the water which forms in the crankcase. Remember, this is one of the ways that sludge is created. There are other extreme conditions to worry about as well. Areas which are hot and blow a lot of dust and dirt can hurt the integrity of your oil. If your vehicle is transporting more weight than it is usually used to handling then this can also be considered extreme. If any of these apply to you then try to change your oil every 2,000 to 3,000 miles.
As a general rule of thumb, never go more than 7,500 miles without changing your oil. This is the maximum you should even allow it go. Remember that newer cars can run longer on the same oil than older ones can so you have some space to give there. However, if your vehicle is older then it won’t cycle oil as good and you should frequently change it to avoid any damage to your engine. As an added benefit maintaining your car also increases your chances of getting low cost car insurance quotes for the life of your car.
Melissa Cameron loves surfing the Internet (her husband calls her the walking infomercial), learning new things, and offering advice for people looking to save and manage their money. She is also a freelance writer providing valuable tips and advice for consumers looking for cheap automobile insurance rates. Aside from that, she resides in Texas and spends most of her free time with her wonderful family.
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