By Chuck Mai, AAA
Here in Oklahoma, we love our oil. So do our cars – especially fresh, clean oil. But knowing when to change your oil can be slippery business.
To get an idea, consult your owner’s manual, probably one of the least-read books ever printed. (Hint: it’s in your glove compartment.) The OM will tell you what’s best for your particular model vehicle. Bear in mind, those recommendations are for normal driving conditions. If you regularly drive in stop-and-go traffic, at prolonged higher speeds, in extreme temperatures or in dusty or muddy conditions, you may need to change your oil more frequently.
The motor oil lubricates the moving parts in your vehicle. Without it, these parts would rub together and eventually melt due to the friction. The oil also helps clean off the buildup that commonly occurs in a combustion engine and suspends contaminates and residue.
Oil viscosity is the extent to which oil resists the tendency to flow at different temperature ranges. This varies from vehicle to vehicle, so it’s important to use the correct oil viscosity to operate your engine at optimum efficiency.
Premium conventional motor oil is the industry standard with the typical recommendation for oil changes ranging from 3,000 to 5,000 miles.
Synthetic blended oils are designed for vehicles driven in extreme conditions because it holds its viscosity better. While used most often in high-tech engines, synthetic oil can actually be used in any vehicle. It provides superior protection and contains additives that prevent the buildup of the sludge that accumulates after lots of severe driving.
Without a doubt, changing your oil is the single most important thing you can do for your engine.