Routine oil changes are critical if you want to keep your vehicle running. Over time, oil degrades and provides less lubrication to sensitive metal engine parts, which can seize up due to friction and heat in the engine. This leads to more stress on the engine, damage and potential early failure. Changing the oil also removes older oil that has begun to collect dirt, debris and other contaminants. As the old oil travels throughout the engine, it spreads debris, which can build up over time in the engine and leave your engine running inefficiently. While the oil filter is designed to guard the engine from these types of particles, debris can begin to “clog” the filter, causing engine inefficiency. Basically, the cleaner your engine is, the longer it will last. In addition, a cleaner, more efficient engine gets better gas mileage, which can ultimately save you money. Another way to keep more money in your pocket is to learn how to change your oil yourself.
Refer to your owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommended oil type, capacity, filter type and oil change intervals. Traditionally, it has been recommended that you change oil every 3,000 miles or 3 months, but oil life can be extended, depending on the car and the type of oil used.
Remember to check your oil regularly to ensure that it's not too low and to note any changes in consistency or color. Clean oil is a light, golden brown color while older, used oil is dark brown or almost black.
Keep an eye out for any warning lights. If you see a “Check Oil” light appear, don’t ignore it. It could mean something is not working properly and should be looked at as soon as possible. Also, keep an eye out for smoke from your exhaust or any small pools of oil that collect under your vehicle when it is parked.