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Understanding the importance of engine oil changes

engine oil change

Here at Oaks Services, we maintain and service cars to keep them cost-effective, efficient and roadworthy. We use many methods to achieve this and some of them can be complicated, but we like our customers to know exactly why and how we maintain their vehicles. This week we will cover the importance of engine oil changes, so let’s start by taking a look at what oil does inside your engine.

The engine oil in your vehicle is the lifeblood of the engine, whether it is diesel, petrol or a hybrid using either of these fuels. A majority of engine components are made of metals that come into close contact with one another whilst the engine is running, and as most people know, heat applied to metal will make it expand. Without oil present to lubricate and cool the engine, it would seize entirely and be useless in a short amount of time.

So, I can top up my oil and forget about it, right?

Wrong. Old engine oil does not do the job of lubricating and cooling your engine as well as fresh oil. The contaminants that collect in the oil boil out, leaving less oil in the engine. Not only that but water collects in the oil over time and will turn it to sludge, which will harm fuel efficiency and performance. As the oil works it picks up minute particles of metal; when these build up, they can have an abrasive effect on engine parts and end up damaging the components that the oil is there to preserve.

How often should I change my engine oil?

The usual answer is every 3,000 miles but here are some provisos. You might need to change your oil every 1,000 miles in extreme operating conditions, and you will be surprised exactly what this means. ‘Extreme running conditions’ applies to motorists who use their car for short journeys, rush hour driving and stop-start traffic. In these situations your engine rarely gets hot enough to evaporate the water that has built up, and this will turn to sludge. If you tow or haul heavy loads often (caravans, trailers, horseboxes) this also applies to you. Use your judgement as to what kind of driving you do most and alter your oil change habits accordingly. If most of your driving is done on the motorway you can extend your oil change interval to approximately 5,000 miles because motorways are easy on your engine.

What is the risk?

To put it frankly, you are risking hundreds of pounds worth of engine repairs if you neglect oil changes over several thousands of miles. Cleaning an engine by flushing it out is costly, but in the worst case scenario replacing worn out pistons are a headache that is avoidable by having your oil changed. Mechanics know the importance of engine oil and offer oil changes as one of the most affordable maintenance options available to motorists.

There are many specifications of oil available and if you are unsure of what oil your car needs, you can guarantee that a trusted mechanic will know and have the oil on hand to keep your car running well for many miles to come.

Oaks Services offers repairs, MOTs and services for any make and model of car. Our services include oil changes as standard to ensure that your engine is running its best for thousands of miles. Our skilled mechanics have a wealth of experience and are fully qualified to carry out all the necessary services to keep your car in full working order. We are also a friendly bunch, so contact us today to find out more about our products and services. We’ll be happy to help.