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The oil is the lifeline of an engine, and without it, one can expect to see their car’s performance decline very quickly. Taking your vehicle for regular maintenance will save you a lot of money and headaches in the long run. But how often should you seek oil change services? Several factors will determine the frequency of checking your motor oil, as explained in this post.

What is the role of engine oil?

Engine oil plays a variety of essential roles that help keep your vehicle in good shape. These include:

Lubrication of engine parts

Engine oil is used to lubricate all engine parts that rub against one another. It reduces friction and helps prevent heat from building up in the cylinder head, which would otherwise cause scoring or warping of internal components.

Oil helps cool the engine

The oil pump circulates oil throughout your vehicle. As it does so, the oil absorbs heat from parts of the engine that would otherwise cause damage due to excessive heat build-up. Oil also passes through an external cooler before being re-introduced into the engine.

Cleansing of the engine oil system

The motor oil picks up dirt and metal particles from bearings, gears, piston rings, valves etc. It carries these contaminants to the oil filter, where they are trapped. The process of filtering helps remove impurities that would otherwise damage your vehicle’s components.

 How often should I check the engine oil?

Many factors determine how often you should check your engine oil. The rule of thumb is to check your engine oil every time you fuel up. However, the frequency of checking may depend on various other factors, including:

 Your vehicle’s manufacturer specifications and recommendations

The more expensive the car, the higher the car maintenance costs will be. As such, it makes sense to follow a regular routine of checking the vehicle’s oil levels according to your car’s manufacturer’s suggestions to avoid unscheduled repairs and avoid unnecessary expenses. These include:

 Your driving habits

If you drive for long distances or subject your vehicle to strenuous conditions such as high-speed cornering, then it stands to reason that the engine oil level will deplete more quickly than usual. In this case, checking the engine oil every month would be advisable if not necessary.

 Engine type

The frequency of checking your engine’s oil is largely dependent on what kind of engine it has. Typically, most cars with an overhead camshaft or more than one cam require less frequent checking than those with a single cam. If you’re not sure what kind of engine you have, consult the owner’s manual, which should contain this information.

 Oil quality

Engine oil is used to lubricate all moving parts within your vehicle and keep it running smoothly. Some engines come with particular requirements for using their preferred motor oil. Ensure you purchase the correct type/weight of oil for your engine to avoid damaging the moving parts.

 Oil and filter change interval

The frequency of checking your oil pan will also depend on how long you wait between scheduled changes. Always refer to the manufacturer’s recommendations, as they have a good idea of what service intervals are best suited for their vehicles. If you’re unsure, it is time to get your oil changed; look at your car’s dipstick and see if the oil level is low.

 Oil viscosity

The thicker the engine oil, the less often it needs checking as compared to thinner oils. However, it would be best to always refer to manufacturer recommendations when selecting your vehicle’s motor oil grade.

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How do I check my engine oil?

Most modern cars have a dipstick that will tell you if the engine oil needs changing. It is vital to check your car’s level before driving off, as it can take up to an hour for any excess oil that may have leaked into the crankcase to drain back into the sump. If you are not sure how to read the dipstick, consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual or ask a mechanic.

 What if my engine oil is low?

If your engine oil is low, you must add the desired amount of new oil to your crankcase. However, it’s important not to overfill as this can damage the engine components and cause leaks. The dipstick is used to measure the volume of oil in your engine, and you should add just enough new oil until it reaches the ‘Max’ mark on this device. As a rule, remember that an ounce of synthetic oil equals about 30 ml, so you can use old teaspoons from the kitchen or even medicine droppers for more accurate measurements if necessary.

 How often should I change my engine oil?

Most vehicles need their oil changed every 3000 – 6000 miles or twice a year. If you drive your car more than this, it would be best to consult your dealer and ask for an estimate of the service costs involved.

 How much does an oil change cost?

The price for full-service car maintenance will depend on how complicated the job is.

 Visit Our Shop!

Do you need someone to look at your engine oil? Call Federal Way Automotive today! Our mechanics will inspect your vehicle and provide the necessary service to get your engine back in top condition!