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Engine oil – how often does it need changing?

You may of heard it before, but it can’t be stressed enough: oil is the lifeblood of your car. Despite this, most car owners overlook this important component. It is just something to be checked at the usual logbook service interval. Unfortunately, by the time this has come around, your engine’s oil may no longer be doing an adequate job. When this happens, every component of your engine is affected.

What does engine oil do?

There are a lot of different components to an engine and a lot of them need to be properly lubricated when the engine is running. This is where engine oil comes into play.

Over time, your engine oil will begin to collect contaminants and while your oil filter will catch most of this, the oil can still remain contaminated. This results in the engine oil not being as effective, which can cause problems throughout your engine.

The easiest way to explain how oil works in an engine is using the analogy below.

Rub your hands together. You’ll notice that your palms begin to get hot, this is due to friction. Now, if you add a few drops of oil (or hand wash) to your hands and do the same thing, less heat will be generated as friction is reduced. Following on from this, place some salt in the palms of your hand. Notice how even though your “oil” is still on your hands, friction is still being created. This is similar to how dirty oil reacts in a running engine.

Why does engine oil need to be replaced?

An oil change is a fairly easy task to complete. Given the simplicity, it’s advisable to change your oil when it needs to be done. If you choose not to then you may run into problems with your car’s engine later on. This will be a lot more expansive then the cost of the oil changes you’ve missed.

The main reason for engine oil is to lubricate the different parts of the engine, control the heat of the engine, and prevent components from wearing away. This may result in damage to some of your engine’s components, a decrease in engine performance, and at worse engine parts may need to be replaced.

In some of the worst cases of oil related failures can include: overheating, bearing failure, engine seizure, internal engine component failure, timing chain wear/failure.  All of these issues are very expensive to repair.

All in all, nothing good can come from not changing your engine oil!

So how often should the oil be replaced?

This depends on the manufactures recommendations for your model vehicle and how you use your car. Not all engines are equal so one set of rules can’t be used. Manufactures consider many variables such as – quantity of oil the engine holds, type of oil used/required, complexity of each engine and driving conditions will change the interval times. Refer your service logbook for your vehicle’s schedule or contact Certified Automotive.

Common place intervals are:

  • 3 months/5,000km – older diesels or harsh conditions
  • 6 months/10,000km
  • 12 months/15,000km
  • 12 months/20,000km (only select few late model vehicles)

Take note that all vehicles have a normal conditions and harsh conditions schedule as set out by the manufacture.

Harsh conditions can mean a lot of different scenarios. Such as:

  • Repeated short distance driving – If more than half your journeys are less than 20 kilometres, then you should have the oil changed around 5,000 kilometres, or every six months.
  • Dusty or unsealed roads
  • Sustained high speed driving
  • Regular heavy loads i.e. Towing
  • Very cold weather
  • Very hot weather

And don’t think you can get around this by simply topping up the old oil with some fresh oil. This doesn’t remove the contaminants, which are the cause of serious damage.

Today’s engines last for around 200,000 kilometres. A well-maintained engine, however, can last for as long as 500,000 kilometres or more. That’s right – more than double. A regular oil change is a major influence on the life of your engine. So don’t wait for the regular service; protect your car, give it the treatment it deserves, and it will return the favour for years to come.

Book in to replace your oil with Certified Automotive

Certified Automotive provides the highest quality car services and repair for all vehicle makes and models. Our mobile service vehicles which come to you anywhere on the Gold Coast have latest equipment and technology. Put to expert use by our highly trained tradesmen. Your vehicle will be in the most competent hands, whether it’s for a scheduled logbook service or something more.

Call today – 1300457599

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