You count on your vehicle to get you from point A to point B daily. Its ability to do this depends on the engine and its connected components working smoothly. Your engine’s oil plays a crucial role in this. That’s why it is so important to make sure your vehicle has clean motor oil, allowing it to do its job properly. This is where regular oil change service comes in.
Including an oil change in your preventative maintenance routine is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to extend the life of your engine. But, questions like when to have it changed or what type of oil to use can make things confusing fast. This guide covers what you need to know about a car oil change and will help clear up some of the confusion.
What Happens During an Oil Change
You know that an oil change is vital to keeping your engine running in optimal condition and that it involves putting new, clean oil in the vehicle. But, do you know exactly what happens during an oil change service?
No matter if you are getting a conventional oil change or a full synthetic oil change, the service itself will be the same (the only difference is the type of oil you select). Here is exactly what happens during a full-service oil change:
- Oil level and condition are checked: The engine’s current oil level and the condition of the existing oil will be checked to indicate what condition other components may be in. Low oil levels can sometimes point to a leak that may also need to be addressed.
- Old oil is drained out: Your vehicle will be lifted so that the technician can access the oil pan and oil drain plug at the bottom of the engine. The drain plug will be removed and the old oil will be drained out of your engine and properly disposed of.
- Removal of the old oil filter: Oil filters don’t last forever and should be replaced at each oil change. So, once the old oil has been drained out, your old oil filter will be removed and properly discarded.
- Installation of a new oil filter: After removing the old filter, the technician will put the drain plug and oil pan back into the proper place and make sure all of the components surrounding the oil filter are clean and free of old, dirty oil. The gasket on the new oil filter will then be lubricated, the new filter will be installed, and the filter will be primed with new oil.
- New oil is put into the vehicle: After the new filter is in place, depending on the type of vehicle/engine, up to 5 quarts of new oil will be poured into the engine.
- Lubrication of chassis: Once the new oil and oil filter is in place, parts of the vehicle’s chassis that frequently rub together will be lubricated, particularly parts close to the tires and those involved with controlling and steering the vehicle. This prevents premature wear on parts due to excess friction.
- Multi-point inspection: The technician will then perform a multi-point vehicle inspection. This creates the opportunity to catch any other issues that may be present before they can turn into big problems, as well as to top off the vehicle fluids, as needed.
Types of Motor Oil
Not all motor oil is created equal. Several different types of oil can go into an engine. They all have different levels of viscosity (thickness), providing varying levels of engine protection, and differing in cost. The four types are:
The term “standard oil” refers to conventional oil, which is a completely natural crude mineral oil. Though it is partially refined to improve its viscosity and protective properties, it is not as refined as other types of oil.
Conventional oil is the most budget-friendly option to protect your engine and is still effective at helping keep your car running smoothly. But, since it is not as refined, it will not provide the same levels of performance that you can get from synthetic oils and will become dirtier and sludgier quicker.
Alternatively, synthetic oil is highly refined and entirely manufactured in a lab or factory. This type of oil provides the highest level of engine protection. Because of its highly controlled manufacturing process and stringent standards, this oil contains the best elements of oil and additives.
In comparison to conventional oil, full-synthetic motor oil will generally be more expensive. For a synthetic oil change, you can usually expect to pay an extra $20 to $40, depending on how much oil your vehicle requires. But, synthetic oil lasts longer and it can also endure longer mileage intervals.
Synthetic Blend Oil
Combining the best aspects of both worlds, synthetic blend oil is a hybrid mixture of both conventional oil and full synthetic oil. This oil captures some of the benefits of both types of oil.
Synthetic blend oil provides better engine protection and performance than conventional oil, but not quite as much as full-synthetic oil. It will also last slightly longer than conventional oil. When it comes to cost, synthetic blend oil is usually more affordable than full-synthetic, but slightly more expensive than conventional oil.
Similar to synthetic blend oil, high-mileage oil was created specifically for engines with more than 75,000 miles. This oil contains unique additives that provide extra protection for older engines, while also preventing oil evaporation and improving overall performance. These additives include specialized cleansers, seal conditioners, viscosity modifiers, and anti-corrosion agents.
Engines with higher mileage battle increased oil burn-off and corrosion, which can lead to increased engine wear. So high-mileage oil offers the extra protection needed to help extend the life of the engine.
How Frequently You Should Have Your Vehicle’s Oil Changed
The recommended service routine will vary depending on the type of vehicle and driving habits. Your vehicle’s owner’s manual is the first place to look for the manufacturer’s suggested oil change schedule. Recommendations can range from every 3,000 to 10,000 miles under normal driving conditions.
As we mentioned above, the type of motor oil being used also impacts the frequency of how often you may need an oil change. For example, if your engine has full synthetic oil, oil changes will be less frequent than with conventional oil and will usually need to be done every 5,000 to 7,500 miles.
But, your engine’s oil can lose its effectiveness even faster if your regular driving includes:
- Frequent short trips or stop and go traffic
- High-mileage driving
- Higher temperatures (like we experience here in Texas)
- Hauling heavy loads or towing frequently
Here at Lamb’s Tire & Automotive, we recommend bringing your vehicle in for an oil change every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. This ensures your engine’s oil is performing at its best and that any minor issues are caught before they can become big problems.
Make sure to check out our latest oil change coupons to help make your service even more affordable.
Keep Your Car Running Its Best With Top-Quality Oil Changes
At Lamb’s Tire & Automotive, we can answer any questions you may have about an oil change, as well as any other auto services. Our ASE-certified master technicians can also help determine the type of oil and service schedule that is best for your vehicle.
Looking for an oil change in Austin? We’re your answer. Drivers throughout Texas trust the Lamb’s Tire & Automotive team for expert vehicle maintenance and repair at the best prices, all backed by unmatched customer service.