Oil change routines should be firmly established by an automobile's owner. If a car owner isn't sure how often to regularly perform this task, it's best to check the owner's manual for frequency requirements, as this will vary depending on the make, model and year of the vehicle. Here are eleven tips to remember:
1) Frequency increases with heavy duty vehicle usage, hauling trailers and hot or cold temperatures. Mountain driving uses more energy and causes more wear and tear on the vehicle, just like a human body running up a hill. Extreme temperatures can stress the oil, causing the vehicle to be operating hotter, which in turn causes the lubricant to break down, necessitating a premature oil change.
2) An oil change should always be accompanied with a filter change. Both components work in tandem to provide the cleanest oil available for the lubrication of the engine.
3) It's best to perform this maintenance ritual when the car is warmed up. Deposits sink out of the suspension when the engine is cold and may not be cleaned out during the process.
4) The dipstick should be looked at on a regular basis in order to monitor whether or not the vehicle is losing oil. In days past when gas stations pumped their customer's gasoline, they always checked under the hood to make sure the levels of fluids and lubricants were kept at satisfactory amounts. Gone are those quaint days of customer service, but a person can do it for themselves.
5) To check a dipstick, pull it out, wipe it off and replace. After counting to ten, pull it out again and look at it. This will give a driver a clear idea of whether there is an excess usage between changes.
6) Without regular changes, this lubricant will turn into acid and sludge which can quickly ruin a motor.
7) By performing this one maintenance ritual on a regular basis, the life of a car can last six to seven times longer than one without it.
8) Be sure to get the proper grade and weight for your vehicle. The options include multi-weights which are for newer vehicles and can handle wider range of temps and single weight which are typically for older engines. The single weight is more economical, light duty, but is fairly obsolete as most car manuals recommend the multi-weight.
9) Over the years auto manufacturers have come up with designations for cars called Service Codes to let consumers know which motor oils should be used in their cars. On the side of each can is a code written as S.A. to S.M. A driver must check the owner's manual or parts department in order to find out which one meets the requirements of their particular engine.
10) Never, never use "non-detergent" oil. Modern oil contains many additives which keep the inside of your engine clean and running well. "Non-detergent" oil is usually used for chainsaws, lawnmowers, and other non-vehicle motor powered devices. It is kept on the shelf in the store right next to the "detergent" type. It's cheaper, but make sure you don't use it or buy it by mistake.
11) Use the best filter you can find in order to get the optimum result from the oil change.