Nurturing Your Vehicle’s Heart: A Guide to Engine Oil Maintenance

Taking care of your vehicle’s lifeblood is essential to ensuring its optimal performance and longevity. Engine oil plays a crucial role in lubricating vital components, reducing friction, and carrying away harmful contaminants. So, it is essential to know about the importance of regular engine oil maintenance and how to perform a change.

How Often Should I Change My Engine Oil?

Maintaining a proper oil change schedule is essential for the health of your vehicle’s powerplant. The frequency of changes depends on several factors, including driving conditions, mileage, and the type of fluid used. As a general guideline, it is recommended to change it every 3,000 to 5,000 miles or as specified in your vehicle’s owner’s manual.

However, some modern vehicles with synthetic oil may have extended change intervals, ranging from 7,500 to 10,000 miles. Adhering to the recommended maintenance schedule will help keep your engine running smoothly.

Engine oil

Picture of engine oil taken from the website

How to Choose the Right Engine Oil

Selecting the right engine oil is crucial for optimal vehicle performance and protection. Consider the following factors when choosing one for your vehicle:

1.   Viscosity

Engine oils come in a variety of viscosities denoted by numbers like 5W-30 or 10W-40. The first number indicates the viscosity at cold temperatures, while the second number represents its viscosity at operating temperatures. Refer to your vehicle’s owner’s manual to determine the recommended viscosity range for your specific vehicle.

2.   API Classification

The American Petroleum Institute (API) assigns different classifications to engine oils based on their performance characteristics. Look for those that meet the API requirements specified by your vehicle’s manufacturer. For example, you might see designations such as API SN or API SP on the container.

3.   Synthetic vs. Conventional

Synthetic oils offer better performance and protection in extreme temperatures, have superior resistance to breakdown, and provide enhanced engine cleanliness. Conventional ones, while less expensive, may be suitable for older vehicles with less demanding requirements. Consider your vehicle’s needs and consult your owner’s manual for guidance.

How Do I Change My Engine Oil?

Performing the change may seem daunting, but with the right tools and knowledge, it can be a straightforward process. Gather the necessary tools, including a wrench, a filter wrench, a drain pan, a new filter, and the appropriate amount and type of engine oil. Consult your owner’s manual to locate the drain plug and the filter. Position the drain pan beneath the drain plug.

Use a wrench to loosen the drain plug and allow the old oil to drain completely into the pan. Once drained, tighten the drain plug securely. Use a special wrench to remove the old filter. Apply a thin film of new oil to the rubber gasket of the new filter, then hand-tighten the filter into place. Refer to your owner’s manual to determine the correct capacity for your engine.