Lube Oil & Filter Service
You have probably already heard the latest information regarding, oil changes, and that services can be extended from 3000 to 5000 and on some vehicles as mush as 7,500 miles. Well here are some thoughts and some facts on why this is and isn’t a good idea for some people including the environmental impacts of changing the oil on your car, truck, van or SUV.
In newer vehicles oil is not used or burned as much, and should never leak out. In any car it is not consumed like fuel. On older vehicles it is true that some oil will burn because the engine is older but not burned as a fuel, it is burned because of older worn parts (rings, valve stem seals etc) that cause the oil to be burned during combustion. Oil is a lubricant for your engine and without it your cars engine will seize up causing major engine damage.
On vehicles 5 years old or newer that have no oil leaks going 5000 to 7,500 miles between oil changes will probably be ok. Cars today have better built engines and the oils we now use lubricate longer and better than the oils in the 1980’s and 1990’s that is a fact, however there is more to it then that. When you bring in your vehicle (older or newer and still under warranty) to our shop for an oil and filter change it includes quite a bit more. We perform a full courtesy inspection of the vehicle. Our technicians/mechanics checks your brakes, all of the visible belts and hoses, your suspension, steering, axles, driveline, exhaust, lighting, all of the fluids including coolant and transmission fluid and inspects the valve cover gaskets, around the spark plugs and all along the underside of the car for oil leaks. Often these newer vehicles are fine but the point of this inspection is to catch repairs that may be covered by your factory or extended warranty. For vehicles with many of the extended warranties we can do the necessary repairs at our facility. For those with older vehicles not under any warranty coverage it is in most cases less expensive to do a repair when caught early.
For a car lets say 5 to 10 years old this inspection is a lot more pertinent. An oil change inspection will always look at the items I mentioned above so you as a driver can track your brake percentage, axle boot condition, belt and hose wear and more importantly catch oil, ATF and coolant leaks early. These are the most important leaks to catch for they will preserve the longevity of your vehicle. Most vehicles, with 4 cylinder and V6 engines hold ONLY 4 or 5 quarts of engine oil, ONLY 8 quarts of coolant and ONLY 7 to 10 quarts of Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF) not very much at all. If a small leak in your radiator or cooling system isn’t caught early it may cause your engine to overheat and could cause expensive damage your engine. A transmission fluid leak can cause your transmission to shift erratic and possibly seize due to lack of lubrication.
So, you are pretty car savvy and you know that your car has no leaks because you check where you park, are you checking your oil and fluid levels on a regular basis, like every other time you fill up your gas tank? If you are not then you are my most common customer. A car especially 10+ years old can burn oil. Now I did say that a car doesn’t burn oil like fuel but in older cars it is very common for an engine to burn up to a quart of oil every thousand miles so you go 5k miles between oil changes, that means when you go to get your oil changed you will have 1 quart of oil or less in your vehicles engine. This is when your engine gets damaged, starts knocking or seizes up. The cost of an average oil change is about $39.00 and unfortunately the cost of a new engine may out weigh the cost of your vehicles worth. A $39.00 oil change every 3000 miles or 3 months is a lot cheaper then a new engine.
Many of you are trying to go green, we have as well, sending out email reminders to customers for oil changes instead of snail mail and recycling paper and parts but what about the oil. Doesn’t it cost more and do more damage to the environment for me to change my oil more? NO and for multiple reasons. Oil is recycled and there are synthetic oils as well as synthetic oil blends that you can choose to use. But for those of you that want to stick with the normal oil, Re-refining used oil requires about 1/3 less energy than processing it from crude oil and results in a product that is at least as good as, if not better than, virgin oil, according to the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle). And, because it takes just two gallons of used oil compared to 84 gallons of crude oil to produce a single gallon of clean motor oil, recycling is an easy, economical way to conserve dwindling petroleum resources. Used motor oil can also be recycled an infinite number of times.
So all in all, check your own oil every other time you gas up, have your local mechanic show you how, add oil as necessary, change your oil every 3k to 5k miles for cars 5 years old and newer and every 3k miles for cars older than 5 years. Check where you park for spots and take directly to your mechanic if you suspect a leak. Have your vehicle inspected every 3 months or every 3000 miles and your car’s engine and transmission will run smoothly, your brakes will be safe and your car will be reliable for you and your family for years.