Here at Autoworks Service and Repair we change lots of oil. Last month we performed over 130 oil changes! It is the one thing that your car needs, whether it is an old jalopy or a brand new exotic car; they all need regular oil changes. It also seems to be one of the most debated topics in the automotive world.
Oil technology has come a long way over the last 10-20 years. Pretty much all your “normal” oil is now a synthetic blend, meaning your “normal” oil has been enhanced with detergents and has better protection abilities for your engine. This Is what a majority of the cars use, some vehicles require a full synthetic oil. Full synthetic oils have a higher price tag but also lasts longer and offer greater protection for your engine.
This is where the debate comes in. Some manufacturers will say that their vehicles only need the oil changed every 10 or even 15 thousand miles. The theory is that the oil is still protecting the engine due to the longevity of full synthetic oils.
Here at the shop, we still recommend replacing your regular oil every 3,000 miles and 5,000 miles for full synthetic oils. There are a few reasons for this. First, very few people change their oil right at the recommended mileage. Most go a thousand or two miles over that. The second and more important reason is that although these newer oils don’t break down as fast as they used to, they still hold and carry just as much dirt as they ever did. So while the oil may still be protecting moving parts, it is also starting to plug up tiny passages with dirt and grime. We once had a 12 year old Mercedes Benz come in with 100,000 miles on it. It was having some engine issues with the timing chains. When we took the top cover off of the engine it looked like an old BBQ inside! Thick black carbon and really gross sludge all over. When we asked the customer about maintenance he said, “I get the oil changed every 15,000 miles like the manual says.” This meant that in 12 years and 100,000 miles this car only had 6 oil changes ever done! Unfortunately this car required an engine replacement. It was just too far gone.
For minor carbon or sludge build up, we offer a chemical engine flush service. This process involves putting a chemical cleaner in the engine with the old oil and running it for about 15 minutes. After that we drain the oil and fill it up with new clean oil and add an oil enhancer to it as well. We recommend performing this service every 30,000 miles or so.
We also have a lot of customers that just don’t drive that much. Sometimes as little as 1,000 miles a year. For these clients we recommend having the oil changed once a year. Not because the oil has “gone bad”, but because we would like to inspect the vehicle at least once a year – make sure that no critters have moved in, or that a seal might have gone bad that could lead to a breakdown. Whenever we perform an oil change, one of our certified technicians will be working on your car and doing a thorough inspection as well! We will check your brakes, tires, suspension and all of your fluids. We do this each and every time! We want to catch an issue before it becomes a problem. Being broken down on the side of the road is an awful experience and we want to prevent that!
So if your car is getting about due for an oil change, call and set an appointment. One of our friendly service advisors would be glad to help and answer any questions that you may have.