Most everyone driving today knows that the oil and filters in their vehicles should be changed. But how often we should have this service performed has many different answers depending on whom you ask. The owner’s manual gives you two different options (normal or severe) but the dealer will quite often tell you something different. The commercials on television say yet another, your internet search provides you with multiple options and most repair shops have their own opinion as well. Do you go by how many miles you’ve driven, or when the indicator on the instrument panel prompts you? Or do you follow the advice your father gave you when you started to drive?
One of the things we can all agree on is that the oil in your car is the lifeblood of your engine. Much like all mechanical devices, over a period of time and operation that lifeblood needs a transfusion.
Each answer above is correct; that’s right, all of them. How can that be? It’s not complicated. To answer this correctly, you must first know the answers to several very important questions. What vehicle and engine combination are you driving? What engine oil type are you using: conventional, synthetic blend, full synthetic or perhaps the all new L7 Ester? What oil brand are you using: Pennzoil, Valvoline, Castrol, Havoline, Mobil One, Shell, etc.? What viscosity: 5W30, 10W30, 15W40, 5W20, 10W20, etc.? What driving conditions; summer or winter, interstate or in town?
Does all of this really matter? Yes, more than most consumers realize. With today’s engines running at much higher temperatures and engines built to even tighter tolerances, knowing this information is critical to the longevity of your engine. With engine replacement costing several thousand dollars and more, you do not want to guess at this information. Once you know the answer to these questions you are on your way to ensuring the correct choice for determining when it’s time for your oil to be changed. If you aren’t sure, ask a trained professional, someone who not only has an automotive background but also has an ASE certification. ASE is short for the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, an independent non-profit organization that tests and certifies technicians to improve the quality of vehicle service and repairs.
By Danny Branom, contributing writer and owner/operator of Christian Brothers Automotive in Towne Lake. 770-926-4500.