Oil Changes

by | Mar 17, 2020 | Best Practices

What You Need to Know about Oil Changes

Two of the most common automotive questions are “How often should I change my oil?” and “When should I change my oil?” To take the guess work out of your oil maintenance, and to avoid potential damage to your engine, here are eight best practices for oil changing and maintenance

1. Mind the Service Reminder

Many new model vehicles have internal monitors that let you know when it’s time for an oil change. If the light is on, it’s time for an oil change. Even if you have a light, there may be more to worry about, so read on for more helpful oil change tips.

2. “How often should oil be changed?”

The old adage is that oil should be changed every three months or every 3,000-5,000 miles. Some newer model vehicles may have longer spans, though, even up to 12,000 miles and/or 12 months. Always check your owner’s manual for the most accurate information for your particular automobile.

3. How to Check Your Dipstick

While not all new models have a dipstick, instead of relying on computer monitors, many still do. If yours does, it’s best to check your dipstick once a month.

Here’s a handy guide for checking your oil yourself. Make sure the car is off. Open the hood, avoiding any potential hot spots. Locate the dipstick, which often has a looped handle. Pull it out and wipe off the oil from the stick. Reinsert it, and pull it out to see the oil level. It should be within the low-high or min-max range. If it’s below the range, it’s time for a refill.

The ASE-certified mechanics at HEART Certified Auto Care will guide you on whether you need an oil change, if you’re not sure.

4. What Color Should the Oil Be?

Optimally, the oil should be brown or black. If it’s milky, that means there’s likely a coolant leak, and if it’s too thin, rather than viscous, that means it’s taking on water. Also, look for any metal particles, which could indicate an internal breakdown. If you see any of these symptoms, come to HEART for complete diagnostics ASAP.

5. Which Oil Is Right for Me?

Not all car oils are the same, and there are dozens of options. While many cars will clearly label the one that works best for your engine, not all do. If you have any questions, HEART’s ASE-certified mechanics can recommend great options. Be warned, though, some repair shops may try to upsell you on synthetic oil. Don’t buy it if it’s not necessary. See our explanation below.

6. Should I Use Synthetic Oil?

Yes, synthetic oil is better for your engine than conventional oil. Although conventional oil (i.e., mineral oil) can provide adequate lubrication performance, it can’t compete with the overall engine performance and protection provided by synthetic.

Synthetics use higher quality base oils as compared to the less-refined base oils used in conventional oils which make conventional oils:

  • Less chemically stable
  • Oxidize and acidify more easily
  • Quicker to break down and lose protective qualities

Yes, generally, synthetic oil can provide longer oil change intervals than conventional oil. But this is often dependent upon the brand of motor oil and several other factors, such as driving style and driving conditions. Please follow the recommendations in your owner’s manual.

7. Stop and Go Driving

One of the most strenuous wear on engines and oil is repetitive stop and go motion, which is common in heavy traffic, moving from red light to red light, gunning the engine and stopping suddenly. These actions put a tremendous strain on your car. Try to ease into starts and stops to avoid costly repairs down the road.

8. Keep the Speed

Another no-no for your engine is driving at slow speeds for long distances. This pattern puts too much strain on your engine and the oil.

 

Starter Warning Signs

Eight Signs Your Car’s Starter Is Failing The car’s starter is the mechanism that cranks the engine to get it going. It’s imperative to fix a failing or malfunctioning...

How Much Oil Does Your Car Need?

Oil is the lifeblood of your engine Oil is crucial to the proper functioning of your car's engine. It helps lubricate vital engine components, reducing friction between...

Car Electronics Trouble Shooting

How to tell if your car's electrical system is on the fritz. Your car runs on more than gasoline. A tremendous amount of electricity goes into moving you from point A to...

How to Jump Start Your Car

Whether you left the lights on overnight or you simply have an old battery, no car will be able to start if its battery is drained. If you turned the key in the ignition and...

What Is ASE Certification?

ASE stands for Automotive Service Excellence and is a third party certification group that certifies professionals in automotive repair and service. The goal of ASE is to...

Eight Best Practices for Spring Car Maintenance

Winter is rough on cars with all the snow, sleet, and salt. Help your vehicle recover from the long winter with these eight tips for springtime car maintenance. 1. Check...

Leaking Fluids

What’s that stain under my car? 7 Stains that indicate car Problems Your car runs on many more fluids than just gas. There is a wide variety of liquids that keep your car on...

Spark Plug Warning Signs

Spark plugs start your car and keep it running. They are tiny but mighty parts of your engine. Faulty spark plugs, spark plug sockets, or spark plug wires can lead to costly...

Why Your Car Needs Winter Tires

Winter tires are a must, especially when you live in a very cold and snowy climate like the one we have in the Chicago area. The last thing you want is to be stuck and...

Failing Alternator

Signs Your Alternator’s Failing An alternator is your car’s generator: once the car is started, the alternator generates energy to power your vehicle and its accessories,...
[[[["field11","less_than","09 00 am"],["field11","greater_than","04 30 pm"]],[["hide_fields","field18","09 00 am",null,"field11"]],"or"],[[["field11","greater_than","09 00 am"],["field11","less_than","04 30 pm"]],[["show_fields","field18"]],"and"],[[["field17","equal_to","Evanston"]],[["email_to",null,"craig@heartautocare.com"]],"and"],[[["field17","equal_to","Wilmette"]],[["email_to",null,"James@heartautocare.com"]],"and"],[[["field17","equal_to","Northbrook"]],[["email_to",null,"frank@heartautocare.com"]],"and"]]
1 Step 1
PERSONAL INFORMATION
VEHICLE INFORMATION
WILL YOU BE USING OUR WAITING AREA WHILE WE SERVICE YOUR VEHICLE?
Time
access_time
*No appointments available after 4:30 pm to 7:00 am
keyboard_arrow_leftPrevious
Nextkeyboard_arrow_right
FormCraft - WordPress form builder