One of the most basic types of maintenance your car needs is regular oil changes. The oil in your engine is essential to cool and lubricate all the complex moving parts; if it gets too old and dirty, the engine can damage itself permanently within just minutes of driving. Here are some of the most common questions auto mechanics hear about oil changes.
Oil Change FAQ
How often should I change my oil?
Depending on the age of your car and how you drive, you should plan on an oil change every 5,000 and 10,000 miles — or every six months at the most. Older cars need more frequent auto service to keep them running smoothly.
How does my driving affect my oil?
If you make frequent, short trips in your car or drive in stop-and-go traffic, your engine stays fairly cool while operating. When the engine is cool, it uses a richer gas-to-air mixture, which means that more fuel ends up spilling into the oil supply, which dilutes it. Also, at these temperatures, the water vapor that naturally results from burning gasoline is more likely to condense and get into your oil instead of escaping as steam. So, when making frequent stops or operating in cold weather, you'll need more frequent oil changes.
What else affects my oil change schedule?
If you regularly tow a trailer or load heavy items into your car, your engine is working harder so the oil will break down more quickly. Long drives at highway speeds without an extra load reduce the strain on your engine oil so you can go longer between changes.
What type of oil should I use?
Motor oil can be synthetic, conventional — meaning it comes from a natural source — or a blend of the two. Synthetic oil offers higher performance, while conventional oil is more affordable. Your car's manufacturer lists their recommendations for the specific model you drive in the owner's manual.
If you're overdue for an oil change, visit Gill's Automotive in Foley, AL. This Baldwin County mechanic offers a full range of services for cars, trucks, and SUVs — from basic maintenance to major repairs and air conditioner service. They treat each customer like family and provide honest service without gimmicks or upselling. To get an estimate, call them at (251) 943-8814.