In order to keep your car running smoothly, it is important that you inspect and change your oil on a regular basis. Not sure how to change your car’s oil? That’s okay!
Here are 6 vital questions and answers that will help you get through your next oil change:
1. When Should You Change Your Oil?
First, you should take a look at your car manual for manufacturer recommendations. This is the most reliable source of information for any questions you have regarding your vehicle. So make a habit of reading it thoroughly.
These days, most cars, SUVs and pickups are equipped with service reminder monitors. These systems track the number of driven miles and can also sense driving conditions. Based on this information, they will alert you when your car needs servicing.
2. How Often Should I Check the Oil Level?
To remain safe, you should check the oil levels every month. If there is any leakage, visit a mechanic immediately.
If your car has a dipstick, then a few precautions should be followed. If your car has been running, allow the engine to cool off. Be aware of any hot areas under the hood. When you take out the dipstick from the engine, let it cool off before wiping it clean to remove oil.
Insert the dipstick back inside all the way in. Pull it out again. Closely look where the oil stain ends. Oil levels on dipsticks are indicated through various means, for instance, markings for high and low. There may be pinholes or simply a crosshatched area. The oil stain end should be located between the two markings or on the crosshatched area. If not, then your car needs more oil.
Closely observe the oil color for signs of problems. For example, a milky white appearance indicates internal coolant leakage or if there is the presence of small metal particles in the oil it can reveal engine damage. Take your car to the mechanic if you notice these problems.
3. What about Synthetic Oil?
Use it only if it is recommended in your car manual. Synthetic oil is far more expensive than conventional oil so you should only purchase it if you need it.
4. When Is Synthetic Oil Necessary?
Synthetic oil can withstand higher temperatures, resist breakdown better than conventional oil, and lasts longer. This type of oil can even protect your engine in some situations. During short trips, conventional motor oil may not become hot enough to burn off impurities and moisture. Therefore, it’s recommended that you use synthetic oil for short trips.
Synthetic oil is recommended for extreme climates like very hot summers or very cold winters. If you use your vehicle frequently for hauling heavy things, then synthetic oil is also your best option. Synthetic car oil can last longer and is more resistant to extreme conditions. But this does not mean that you delay oil change beyond manufacturer recommendations. A synthetic oil change is typically needed once every six to twelve months dependent on miles driven.
5. What Are The Warning Signs for Oil Change?
There are some warning signs to change your oil that you should be aware of. These signs include:
- Thick and dark oil
- Knocking or ticking engine noise
- Oil change required light is on
- Blue exhaust smoke
- Oil smell within the cabin
This can happen if don’t follow the recommended mileage guidelines for changing the oil. It is always best to get the recommendation from your manufacturer and change your oil based on that.
6. What Should I Do with Used Oil?
Motor oil gets dirty over time but it does not become irreversibly damaged. It only needs to be recycled.
Do not dispose of used oil in a storm drain or in trash cans in a sealed container. This can contaminate thousands of gallons of water. Deposit used oil at a certified collection center. You can also dispose of used oil at most auto stores.