There are many mysteries surrounding car repair, but there never seems to be one singular formula that car owners need to follow. Some cars run for decades with little to no maintenance, while a new car will experience total failure in five years. We have all heard the old sayings: change the oil, rotate your tires, and call your dad if the check engine light comes on. There has to be a way to really know when and how your car is actually in need of repair. This article gives a write up on one of the most basic parts: engine oil.
Changing The Oil
This rule holds true in all cases. Changing the oil in your car at routine and proper intervals will maintain your engine in proper condition and extend the longevity of it as well. The reason being is your engine is made up of precisely machined parts meant to fit together perfectly. These pieces become incredibly hot, and can scrape against each other without proper lubrication. Oil is intended to keep these parts moving freely and without resistance. Over time, small bits of metal inevitably come off within the engine and contaminate the oil, degrading its usage. Over time, the oil loses its effectiveness and needs to be replaced; a simple fix that goes a long way. There are specific manufacturer standards involved in changing the oil. It is important to understand that there are two different types of possible oil able to be used in an engine: conventional and synthetic. Conventional oil is rated for approximately 3,000-5,000 miles. Synthetic is meant to last anywhere from 7,000 to 15,000 miles, depending on the brand of oil and filter used. The engine will not immediately cease to work the second these mileages are reached, but it is good practice to be on top of maintenance before it becomes repair.
Which Oil Should I Use: Conventional or Synthetic?
There is less myth surrounding this, but still an important concept to understand. Most engines were created with lower grade oil in mind, but still able to use higher grade oil. Other engines, specifically those with high performance applications, use synthetic oil to maintain engine functionality at higher mechanical performance. Engines designed to use conventional oil can use synthetic oil, with no adverse effects, but synthetic oil engines can only use synthetic. The advantage of using synthetic oil in a conventional engine is the longevity of the oil life and the detergents within it that clean the carbon buildup inside of the engine.
My Car Has An Oil Leak: What Should I Do?
Backing up out of the driveway, and you notice a small, dark puddle underneath where your car used to be. Some people would say get it fixed immediately; others would say let it be for the time being- which is it?
A car maintains an approximate amount of oil at any given time. An example would be 4.5 quarts of oil in the engine system. The entire amount of oil is not being used simultaneously, but rather being cycled through the system, being picked up and dropped off repeatedly. The reason maintaining the correct level of oil is important is due to its role in lubrication. If at any time there is not an appropriate amount of oil present, the machined parts may scrape each other. When you fill an engine with oil, there generally is an excess of how much is actually needed at one time. Normally checked by the dipstick, and indicated by MIN and MAX values, it is important to keep it above the minimum amount and below the maximum. When your car has an oil leak, this means that there is a breach in the system somewhere in the engine. Though not the worst issue a car could have, it does mean that your car is not running as efficiently as possible. It is important to understand that there is an oil leak, instead of ignoring it, and to keep extra oil on hand in case the leak gets to catastrophic levels. It is not a pressing issue that negates the car from running, but over time, buying excess oil can become expensive, and is also a hazard to the environment. Prepare to fix it in time, but it does not require immediate attention.
There are many other consumer based discussions out there on oil, such as “which oil is best?”, or “what do the numbers mean on the front of the bottle?”. Overall, it is good practice to stick the manufacturer’s recommendations, and use the appropriate and correct type of oil. Remember to check your oil frequently through the dipstick, don’t forget to change your oil, and keep that oil leak in mind.
Contact us today for more information by requesting a FREE Estimate with Raleigh’s top engine and car repair specialists, Ray Weatherspoon Auto!