5 Oil Change FAQs
Here are some oil change-related questions and their answers:
1. What Is An Oil Change?
Engine oil is crucial for lubricating your car engine, keeping the metal components from grinding against each other. This prevents excess wear and overheating.
The oil also picks up debris along the way, keeping your engine clean.
However, over time, the oil gets extremely dirty from the debris and stops doing its job — especially with harsh driving conditions. That’s why frequent oil changes are important. It also helps you maintain good gas mileage in the long run.
2. How Many Miles Can You Go Before An Oil Change?
A vehicle manufacturer typically recommends an oil change auto service every 3,000 miles. However, many manufacturers have started recommending a longer oil change interval because of the oil chemistry and technology advancements. The owner’s manual can give you an idea.
You’ll mostly need an oil change every 7,500 miles or 10,000 miles, depending on your vehicle’s oil consumption. This interval can be shorter if you generally drive in severe driving conditions.
Schedule a routine oil change auto service with a professional mechanic to get a more accurate gas mileage interval.
Note: You don’t have to go to a service center or auto service shop. Instead, you can just call a mobile mechanic for regular oil changes.
3. What Are The Different Motor Oils Types?
Motor oil can be divided into four main types: Conventional motor oil, high mileage oil, synthetic blend, and synthetic oil.
- Conventional Oil: Many car owners still prefer the lower cost and familiarity of conventional motor oil for frequent oil changes, especially if their car isn’t driven in severe driving conditions, like dirty or dusty roads and extreme heat or cold. The oil life of conventional motor oil can be up to five years.
- High Mileage Oil: This type of oil is designed for newer cars with over 75,000 miles clocked. High mileage oil is enhanced with unique additives to reduce oil consumption and oil leaks.
- Synthetic Blend Oil: Synthetic blend is a synthetic and conventional oil mixture. It gives sounder protection and performance than conventional oil, especially in severe driving conditions. Synthetic blend oils offer durable wear protection. However, its performance, fuel economy, and fuel efficiency are still behind full synthetic oil.
- Synthetic Oil (or Full Synthetic Motor Oil): This is the highest quality of motor oil specially formulated for the highest levels of protection and performance. Synthetic oil improves fuel efficiency and low-temperature performance and typically has a longer oil life. More and more cars today require a synthetic oil change.
Note: The owners manual typically mentions further oil specifications to help you pick the right oil.
4. Can I Change Engine Oil Myself?
Yes, you can.
However, we don’t recommend a DIY oil change because it requires some automotive knowledge. It’s always better to schedule service with a professional, so they can look over the rest of your car too.
With that said, here’s how to do it:
- Gather all the tools and parts required, including rags, safety glasses, wrench set, a container for used oil, engine oil, oil filter, and oil filter gasket. Keep your owners manual handy, just in case.
- Start by laying plastic sheeting on the ground. Then drive your vehicle on it. This’ll eliminate oil spill cleanup since you can toss the entire sheet once done. You can even keep it for the next oil change if you go spill-free.
- Use jack stands to lift your vehicle and then place the oil container to collect the used oil.
- Unscrew the vehicle’s oil drain plug using a proper wrench and pull it out, away from the oil stream. Clean the drain plug.
- Let the engine oil drain for 5 minutes or until the oil flow has slowed to a trickle.
- Find the oil filter and loosen it using an oil-filter wrench till the oil comes out of the top and drips down into your container. Finish removing the filter once the oil flow reduces.
- Replace the drain plug and tighten it. Next, install the new oil filter (use a high-quality oil filter to extend oil life). Once done, lower the car back to the ground.
- Now, open the hood and remove the oil cap. Use a funnel to fill the engine with the right oil volume recommended by your vehicle manufacturer.
- Wait a few minutes for the motor oil to settle, then use a dipstick to verify if your oil level is appropriate. Finally, start your vehicle and let it idle, and warm-up. Do a vehicle inspection for oil leaks under the car and around the oil filter.
Note: Dispose of the used motor oil correctly by taking them to a recycling center.
5. What Does A Full-Service Oil Change Include?
A full oil change service will differ from one service center to the next. However, during regular oil changes, an expert technician will generally:
- Suggest the right oil type for your vehicle — whether it’s a synthetic blend oil change or something else.
- Change the car’s oil with the right oil. It’ll be the best branded full synthetic motor oil, synthetic blend oil, or high mileage motor oil. Then check for oil leaks.
- Replace and recycle the used oil and oil filter.
- Inspect your cabin air filter, air filter, and other vehicle filters.
- Conduct a thorough courtesy vehicle inspection to check car lights, battery life, tire pressure (using a tire pressure monitoring system), other vital fluid levels (like power steering fluid, washer fluid), wiper blades, etc.
- Give you an oil change coupon for the next time you schedule service (maybe)!