How often should I change my oil?
Your automobile owner’s manual provides factory recommendations for how often you should change your oil. Every 3,000 miles has become the industry standard. Depending on your automobile and the type of oil you use, some vehicles only need to be checked every 5,000 miles, while some rare, special performance oils require changes at up to 15,000 miles. Older vehicles that have experienced extensive wear and tear may warrant even more routine oil changes.
Why do I need to change my oil?
Your vehicle needs oil the way you need oxygen. Without a healthy and steady source of oxygen you won’t last very long. Routine oil changes are essential to increasing the life expectancy of your vehicle, and that it is running optimally and smoothly each and every day. In addition to acting as a general lubricant, oil diminishes the heat of your engine by reducing friction levels in the various moving parts of your motor. Over time, through general use of your vehicle, metal deposits and carbon accumulate in the oil. Additionally, through the continued heating and cooling process of your engine, your automobile's oil steadily looses its viscosity, greatly diminishing the oil’s lubricating and cooling abilities. Continued use of ineffective and contaminated oil will greatly increase the wear and tear on your engine, or worse, complete and unrepairable engine failure. Routine oil changes are essential to the life span of a well running vehicle.
What kind of oil should I use?
There are many different brands of oil to choose from. More importantly, there are many different types of oil to choose from: premium conventional, full synthetic, synthetic blends, high mileage, and varying viscosity levels for each type. Why so many options? Simply put: different vehicles have different engines used for different reasons that equate to different needs. Your automobile owners manual will typically indicate which type of oil to use when changing your vehicles oil or simply topping off. That said, there are exceptions to that rule, depending on the age of your vehicle, driving conditions, and any augmentations your may have performed on your engine. Always consult a professional auto technician before changing oil types.
Why not change my oil myself?
Aside from not getting your hands dirty and proper disposal of your old oil, there are many advantages to having a professional change your oil. If you’re a 'do it your selfer', more power to you, but do you really know what you’re doing? When in doubt, always refer to your owners manual for the type of oil you should use. If you are considering changing oil types for operational performance issues or even economic reasons, you should consult a professional regarding your vehicles particular needs. Having a professional auto technician look under your hood, even for a routine oil change, always provides added benefits. When changing your oil at Downtown Auto our technicians will always look for other indications of performance and safety issues (see Routine Auto Inspections and Fluid Checks on every Oil Change below). Cracked or frayed belts, bulging hoses, signs of fluid leakage, even torn wiper blades, burned out lights, or balding tires, are all indications of necessary automobile maintenance or repairs.
Routinely Scheduled Oil Changes
At Downtown Auto we schedule our clients for quarterly oil changes. The average driver typically logs about 13,500 miles p/year. By this standard, we estimate a quarterly oil change will sufficiently meet your vehicles needs about every 3500 miles. Your automobiles mileage is always the most important factor though. If you drive significantly more than the national average, talk to one of our auto technicians about scheduling more frequent oil changes. In addition to assuring your engine is properly lubricated, routine oil changes allow your auto technician the opportunity to become more familiar with your car through routine inspections. On every oil change Downtown Auto performs a routine auto inspection to insure optimal safety and performance of you car.
Routine Auto Inspections and Fluid Checks on every Oil Change
Downtown Auto performs the following vehicle inspections and fluid checks every time you bring your vehicle in for an oil change:
- history check
- dashboard warning lights
- road test
- oil filter
- air filter (if easily accessible)
- pollen filter (if easily accessible)
- brake fluid
- transmission fluid - transaxle fluid
- differential - transfer case fluid
- power steering fluid
- battery test
- battery cables
- serpentine belts & v-belts
- steering linkage
- power steering system
- motor mounts
- transfer case
- brake pads
- axle boots and shafts
- shocks & struts
- suspension check: control arm and bushings
- tire pressure
- tire tread
- wiper blades
- door latch lube
- hinge lube
- exterior lights
- interior lights
Common Oil Brands used at Downtown Automotive Center:
- MOBILE 1
- QUAKER STATE
- LIQUI MOLY
Premium Conventional Oil
Premium Conventional Oil (naturally extracted and processed organic, mineral oil) is the new standard oil for automobiles. All leading brands offer conventional oil in several viscosities. Car manufacturers typically specify a 5W-20 or 5W-30 oil, particularly for lower temperatures, with a 10W-30 oil as optional, particularly for higher ambient temperatures.
Full Synthetic Oils
Full Synthetic Oils are man-made oils better suited to handle extreme hot and cold temperatures than conventional, organic oils. Synthetic oils are often used for high-heat vehicle operations like towing, racing or any heavy-load operation, where conventional oil would break down faster. High tech engines like Mercedes Benz and Chevy Corvettes often rely on synthetic oil. That said, synthetic oil is often more expensive than conventional oils.
Synthetic Blend Oil
Synthetic Blend Oil is a combination of synthetic oil and conventional oil. Its a happy medium that is less volatile with less evaporate than conventional oil. Popular with SUV’s and pickups, synthetic blend oils provide protection for somewhat heavier loads and high temperatures while being less expensive than full synthetic oil, and often just pennies more than conventional oil.
High Mileage Oil
High Mileage Oil is great for your aging automobile, especially if your odometer is pushing six figures. Through the aging of your automobile’s engine the seals and gaskets can become hard and brittle through the continued heating and cooling process of continual operation. Spotting on your garage floor or in the driveway are often indications of minor leaks that can be addressed by the use of high mileage oil. Be sure to talk to a professional auto technician as larger leaks may warrant more intensive engine repair; significant or prolonged oil loss can be detrimental to the lifespan of your vehicle. High mileage oils can be great for smaller leaks as they contain a seal conditioner additive that ’swells’, and in some cases improves the flexibility, of your engine seals. High mileage oil often has higher viscosity that can also improve over all engine performance and reduce typical wear and tear.