Oil changes are one of the most straightforward maintenance tasks you'll need to perform on your car, but they're also one of the easiest to overlook or defer. Unfortunately, neglecting oil changes can have some fairly serious consequences. At best, you'll reduce the overall lifespan of your engine, while at worst, you may cause serious and potentially catastrophic damage.
You can avoid these costly outcomes by sticking to a routine oil change schedule and avoiding these three common oil maintenance pitfalls.
1. Ignoring Your Filter
Everyone wants to save a few dollars, but skimping on your oil change will likely cost you far more in the long run. One common cost-saving measure is replacing your oil while ignoring the filter or replacing the filter with every other oil change. While this approach might seem like an easy way to save a buck or two, the true costs can be astronomical.
Your oil filter helps protect your engine from small particulates and other contaminants, but it doesn't simply do a worse job at protecting your engine as it gets dirty. Instead, a dirty filter will become more restrictive, eventually starving your engine of oil pressure. This situation can damage or destroy your engine, so replacing your filter with a fresh one at every oil change is critical.
2. Not Paying Attention to Oil Specs
Have you ever walked into an auto parts store and found yourself bewildered by the huge array of available oil weighs and varieties? The good news is that you rarely need to make any complicated decisions when choosing an oil for your car. Usually, the best option is to follow your manufacturer's recommendations.
You can typically find the recommended oil for your vehicle in your owner's manual or on a sticker under your hood. If in doubt, contact your local dealership and ask about the recommended oil weight for your car. Sticking with your manufacturer's recommended oil spec will provide your engine with the best protection and longevity.
3. Failing to Understand Oil Change Schedules
Many manufacturers recommend a standard and a "severe" oil change schedule. If you look in your user's manual, you'll usually find that the severe service schedule is significantly shorter than the standard schedule. Following the severe schedule may be a good idea if you frequently use your vehicle to tow, take many short trips in cold weather, or do more city driving than highway driving.
Remember that there's no harm in changing your oil more often, so following the severe schedule can be a good idea if you think you treat your vehicle harder than average. Discussing your oil change intervals and driving habits with a trusted automotive shop can also be a good way to decide if the service schedule is right for your car.
For more info about car oil changes, contact a local company.