Everyone who owns a vehicle has heard time and again that they need to get their oil changed. But for many people, this maintenance task simply doesn’t end up on the top of their to-do list, and ends up being put into the “I’ll get to it next week” list of tasks. Regular oil changes aren’t just a reason for an irksome trip to your neighborhood Chicagoland Jiffy Lube®. Instead, they are the simplest, least expensive way to keep your engine running properly for as long as possible. So why is clean oil so important for your engine?
Clean Oil, Happy Engine
Your vehicle’s engine is made up of hundreds of different parts, many of which are in motion when your engine is running. When these parts move, they create both friction and heat. Oil works to lubricate all of these moving parts, making them move more smoothly. This not only helps to reduce wear and tear, it also helps to reduce the amount of heat that they generate. Over time, all of this lubrication and cooling makes your oil break down, which makes it less efficient at doing its job. That means that, if you let your oil get too dirty or too low, your parts can start wearing out from all of the heat and friction. This can lead to overheating, as well as cracking, warping, fusing, or breaking of internal engine parts.
How to Check Your Oil Level and Condition
Checking your oil is one of the easiest things you can learn to do in order to keep an eye on your engine. All engines are equipped with a dipstick, which not only tells you the oil level, but also gives you a chance to see if the oil is dirty and in need of changing. Here’s how to do it.
- Make sure that your engine has been turned off for at least ten minutes.
- Open your hood and locate the dipstick. If you need help with either of these tasks, take a look in your owner’s manual for help.
- Pull out the dipstick, and wipe it from top to bottom with a lint-free cloth.
- Place the dipstick back into the reservoir, then pull it out once again.
- Check for the oil level on the very end of the dipstick.
Your dipstick will have markings on it that let you know where the oil level should be. The level should fall within the “Full” and “Low” markings. It should be a golden brown color with no specks or bits in it. If your oil has specks, or is a dark brown color, the oil is worn and needs to be replaced.
How Often Do I Need to Have my Oil Changed?
As with many maintenance tasks, there is no one answer to this question. Each vehicle model will have its own oil change mileage recommendation. Many newer vehicles need their oil changed every 5,000 miles if you are using synthetic. Older vehicles, or those that use conventional oil, are more likely to need it changed every 3,000 miles. Some of the newest vehicles only need their oil changed every 7,500 to 10,000 miles.
No matter what your manufacturer recommends, there are some situations in which you should have your oil changed more often. If you put very few miles on your vehicle, you should still change it at least twice a year, as the oil ages even if it isn’t being used. If you drive in extreme weather, such as during a harsh winter, it may need to be changed more often as well. And for people who do a lot of commuting, it is best to err on the side of caution and not stretch your oil changes all of the way to the top of the mileage recommendation because your engine sees above-average use.
No matter how often your vehicle needs to have its oil changed, you can count on your neighborhood Chicagoland Jiffy Lube ® to get the job done right for you. Stop by anytime, no appointment necessary, and let us help you keep your vehicle on the road for years to come.
Jiffy Lube® recommends following manufacturer recommendations, where applicable, for maintenance schedules and service intervals.
Not all services are offered at each Jiffy Lube® location. Please check with your local Jiffy Lube® service center for specific services offered.