When it comes to car maintenance, there are several jobs that don’t need to be done by a mechanic, yet many of them are forgotten as long as our cars seem to be running well.
One of these important jobs is changing our engine oil. Whilst cars can run with older oil, damage can occur to your vehicle, compromising its life if you don’t attend to this often-forgotten job.
Here, we look at the reasons engine oil is so important, and how often you should look to replacing it.
One of the most important additions to an engine, oil has much work to do. Lubrication of the moving parts inside your engine allows them to work alongside each other at incredibly high speeds without overheating and melting due to friction.
A thin layer of oil is all it takes to stop this happening, but this is not the only job oil has within an engine. Oil also works to move heat from burning fuel and friction away from those moving parts we mentioned before, and it also moves the by-products of the burning fuel until your next oil change – amounting to some pretty nasty stuff.
The corrosive engine combustion products we mentioned are controlled by additives added to the engine oil, which helps to neutralise them so that they don’t compromise the structure of the oil. However, these additives, mixed with the combustion products can precipitate out of the oil and stay in suspension.
A common misconception is that the oil filter will deal with all of these, but this is not necessarily the case, and some of these compounds of combustion products and additives can form a sludge-like product that can build up in the engine and stop oil getting through.
In addition to this, the additives in the engine oil can be used up, and the combustion products start to affect the structure of the oil itself.
If oil is not changed regularly, then this can have a number of detrimental effects on your car.
The oil will become thick and more likely to clog, and as dirty oil circulates around your car’s engine, it will be more difficult for there to be a thin layer of film around the moving parts of your engine. This can ultimately lead to an acceleration of engine wear.
In addition to this, old oil and furred up workings inside you car can cause some extremely expensive problems. One example is with turbo chargers – as they require clean, thin oil to work, missing even one regular change can leave you with a blown turbo charges and a very expensive repair bill.
In addition to this, your emissions are likely to be affected if you leave it too long without an oil change, as the oil isn’t effectively absorbing the combustion products.
Advice for how often to change your oil will largely depend on who you speak to but for the in a passenger car, every 7500 miles is the norm, according to many manufacturers.
However, if you run a diesel engine, chances are this figure will be much reduced, with many manufacturers recommending oil change at least every 3000 miles or six months.
Your car manual should give the recommended oil change regularity, but always err on the side of caution, as without good oil, the efficiency of your car could be severely compromised.