Why are regularly scheduled oil changes necessary?
Oil plays a unique role in maintaining engine health. Essentially, oil travels through the engine, lubricating all the separate components, and reducing friction between the components. This lubrication prevents the engine from overheating. As the oil moves through the engine it picks up dirt and other impurities. Over time, this accumulation of debris can make the oil inefficient and ineffective. When this dirty oil travels through the engine it can deposit dirt back into the engine and cause gunk to build up. This can lead to expensive engine cleanings, and if ignored further, engine failure as well. Regular oil changes also improve your vehicle’s performance and efficiency. As new oil moves through the engine, the lubrication increases. This allows the engine to run more efficiently with less work. Regular oil changes improve the health of the vehicle and engine as well. The engine components wear down less and at a slower rate, thus requiring less work to maintain and/or repair them.
When do you need an oil change?
The idea that an oil change is needed exactly every 6 months, or 5000 km, is a myth. The amount of time passed before a regularly scheduled oil change is required can vary depending on a number of factors. Driving patterns is important to consider. Drivers who have shorter commute times or drive less in general will probably need to get their oil changed more frequently. This is because the oil does not get hot enough to burn off any moisture condensation and impurities. This is also true for drivers who live in colder climates and frequently start their vehicles when the oil is not warm. Car model and age, and type of oil also factor into when a driver should schedule their vehicle’s next oil change.
What are the signs that an oil change is required?
Though the amount of time between oil changes can vary there are some tell-tale signs that signal that your vehicle needs an oil change as soon as possible:
- Excess vehicle exhaust
Most modern vehicles do not release visible emissions from their tailpipes. If you are seeing a smoke trail or excess exhaust you drive your vehicle this usually indicates that the oil is too old to function properly.
- Falling oil level
Topping off your oil between changes can help to extend the period of time between oil changes. However, if your oil level is falling quickly then it may mean your system has developed a problem.
- Increased engine noise
Oil is meant to lubricate your engine and reduce friction between engine parts. If you are hearing engine noises then it may mean that the oil has thinned out or is poorly textured. This can cause a knocking sound while driving.
- Change in oil texture
Colour is not always the best indicator that your vehicle needs an oil change. This is because oil changes colour as it runs through the engine, sometimes even immediately. However, texture is a very important indicator that an oil change is needed. As oil moves through the system it picks up dirt and other impurities. If your vehicle oil feels gritty it means that that oil needs to be changed.
- Low oil level
While you can top off the oil level in between changes, you must still pay attention to the level of oil in the reservoir. If it has been an extended period of time since your last oil change the level of oil in the reservoir may be lower than the minimum needed. It is recommended that you immediately take your car in for an oil change at this point. Not doing so can result in permanent and expensive engine damage.
- More mileage than usual
If you return from a road trip or a long distance trip you may need to take your car in for an oil change sooner than scheduled. Any time you drive more than you regularly do you should anticipate needing an oil change sooner than usual.
- Persistent check engine light
A check engine light could appear for a number of reasons. If your car does not have an oil change light or the oil situation is extreme this light may come on.
- Shaking while idling
High levels of friction present in your engine when the oil needs to be changed can affect your ride quality. You will specifically notice it when the car is idling, it could present as abnormal vibrations or shaking. It is recommended at this point you come in for an oil change as soon as possible, and try avoiding idling your car until you can get your oil changed.
- Ticking sounds when starting
When you turn your vehicle on, it will immediately start circulating oil through the system. If the oil is poorly textured, it will take longer and the valves will have to work harder to move the oil effectively.
Synthetic oil vs. conventional oil
What is synthetic oil? Pure synthetic oils are not a petroleum product. These oils are made from different chemicals and are designed in a very specific process. They also contain additives that are meant to help prevent degradation of oil over time. Other synthetic oils are petroleum products, but undergo a special refining process that changes their molecular structure so they can meet the demands of modern engines. The process of not only refining, but also distilling the oil, allows these custom particles to offer higher levels of protection and performance compared to the standard conventional oil. Synthetic oil has numerous benefits over conventional oil. A 2017 study completed by AAA found the following benefits: better protection for vehicle engines in extreme weather conditions, prevention of deposits and sludge, and reduced degradation when towing or hauling heavier loads.
How can Mechanigo help?
At Mechanigo we have highly trained, qualified, and experienced mechanics who can help you with your vehicle’s oil services. The knowledge and experience of our mechanics allows us to be the premier automotive repair facility in the Calgary area. Using this knowledge and experience our mechanics and technicians will evaluate your vehicle’s oil levels and texture and make a recommendation of whether an oil change is needed or not. Our mechanics will also help you decide and make recommendations regarding an oil service schedule for your vehicle and whether or not you should make the switch to synthetic oil. Our licensed facility is open from 9:00 am to midnight from Monday through Friday and 9:00 am to 10:00 pm on Saturdays to serve your needs at a time convenient for you.
Simply fill out the form below to get a quote on your oil change!