Oil changes are a fact of life when you own a vehicle in Albuquerque. Our sweltering summertime temperatures can thin out motor oil, especially if you’re driving for long distances.
Knowing when to check – and change – your oil is an important part of owning a vehicle. Regular oil changes extend the life of your engine and keep it running smoothly.
However, many people have questions about oil changes, including what type of oil to use and how often to change it. In this blog, we’ll answer some of the most common questions about oil changes, including:
- How often should you change your oil?
- What type of oil should you use?
- Can you change your oil yourself?
- What are the signs you need an oil change?
- What happens if you don’t change your oil?
How often should you change your oil?
Albuquerque oil changes are a necessary part of maintaining the health of your vehicle. Whether you drive it occasionally or for long distances daily, changing your oil regularly extends the life of your vehicle and prevents issues that lead to roadside breakdowns.
One of the questions most vehicle owners have is how often to change their oil. The frequency of oil changes for your automobile depends on the make and model, as well as your driving habits and environmental factors like climate.
As a rule, most vehicles need an oil change every 5,000 to 7,500 miles. However, some newer vehicles can go longer between oil changes.
If you rarely drive your vehicle, replace the mileage guideline with a timeframe of 6 months instead. Oil only lasts for a certain period before it starts to break down. It can go bad sitting in an idle engine.
It’s always a good rule of thumb to consult your owner’s manual for specific guidelines on what’s best for your make and model. When in doubt, you can ask a mechanic in Albuquerque what they recommend.
What type of oil should you use?
One of the biggest debates today is over which type of motor oil to use. The synthetic versus conventional oil argument happens a lot with Albuquerque oil changes because of our climate. Let’s review your options so you can make the best decision for the life of your vehicle’s engine.
- Conventional motor oil is a petroleum-based lubricant used in engines for decades. It’s made from crude oil and refined to remove impurities before blending it with additives to improve performance. Conventional motor oil has limitations. Its performance in extreme climates is inconsistent. It also has a shorter lifespan than synthetic oil. The only benefit is it’s less expensive than synthetic oils.
- Synthetic motor oil is a manmade lubricant designed to improve your automobile’s performance while providing superior protection to your engine. It has a longer lifespan than conventional oil and performs better in extreme temperatures. Synthetic oil resists breakdown and chemical reactions and improves fuel efficiency. The only downside is it’s more expensive than conventional oil.
Your owner’s manual makes recommendations on what kind of motor oil works best for your vehicle. Consulting a mechanic in Albuquerque that offers oil changes to customers is another way to determine whether you should use conventional or synthetic oil.
Can you change your oil yourself?
Can you change your oil yourself? Yes. Should you? Maybe not. Here’s why.
Changing your oil requires more than the desire to save some money by doing it yourself instead of paying a mechanic that specializes in Albuquerque oil changes to do it for you.
You need the right tools and knowledge to change your oil. If you’ve never tried it before, you risk making a mistake – like draining your transmission fluid instead of your motor oil.
Or you may fail to change the filter with the oil, which can eventually damage your engine. These kinds of mistakes are costlier than paying a mechanic to change your oil.
Proper disposal methods for used motor oil
If you decide to change your oil, it’s important to familiarize yourself with proper disposal methods for used motor oil and filters. Used motor oil isn’t classified as hazardous waste in Albuquerque. However, it’s banned from landfills and other solid waste disposal systems.
Dumping it can pollute the water supply. Instead, use a special container for collecting the used motor oil and recycle it at one of the automotive fluid recycling program collection sites across Albuquerque.
What are the signs you need an oil change?
Some vehicle owners strictly follow protocol for changing their oil. They visit their mechanic in Albuquerque every 5,000 to 7,000 miles (or 6 months) like clockwork to get fresh oil and a new filter.
Most newer vehicles include oil life indicators that signal when it’s time to change the oil, so you don’t have to track your miles between changes.
Even if your automobile has a fancy oil change tracking system, sensors can fail. It’s important to check your oil regularly for signs it’s breaking down.
Some of the most common warning signs include:
- The oil is dark and dirty on the dipstick when you check it.
- The engine sounds louder than usual.
- The oil warning light comes on.
- The engine overheats.
If you experience any of these issues, it’s best to visit a trusted mechanic in Albuquerque who can change your oil and check your vehicle for any other damage.
What happens if you don’t change your oil?
Failing to change your oil regularly can reduce the lifespan of your engine. Oil becomes dirty and loses its ability to lubricate the engine properly over time. Even synthetic oil has a shelf life.
Old oil begins to gel or solidify in the engine. If left unchanged long enough, it turns to sludge, which keeps the oil from reaching all the parts of the engine that require lubrication.
Starving the crankshafts, bearings, camshafts, and other valve train components of the lubrication they need to function properly can lead to serious damage.
Eventually, your engine can seize up. Your only choice then is to replace it or to buy another vehicle. Neither option is inexpensive. It’s best to change your oil per your owner’s manual recommendations or your mechanic in Albuquerque to avoid this costly mistake.
Oil changes in Albuquerque
Albuquerque oil changes are an important part of maintaining your vehicle. Knowing when to change your oil, what type of oil to use, and how to recognize the signs it’s time to change your oil can extend the lifespan of your engine and keep it running smoothly.
If you’re not comfortable with or knowledgeable enough to change your oil, take your vehicle to a mechanic in Albuquerque.