Regular oil changes are a critical maintenance item in ensuring your car’s engine runs properly and will have a long life. If oil changes aren't done in a timely manner, your car's performance and fuel economy can suffer, and long-term damage can occur.
Engine oil is lubrication
Even the least mechanical of car owner knows that a vehicle’s engine has hundreds of moving parts. And all of these parts rely on engine oil to provide the lubrication necessary for them to work properly. Some of these parts have clearances of less than a thousandth of an inch, so oil is critical to keeping the parts moving without touching each other.
When conventional motor oil starts to lose its lubricating ability, it often burns off and becomes thicker. This sludge compromises the oil’s ability to lubricate finely machined engine parts, which cause these parts to come in contact and produce engine wear through friction. Eventually, if the oil isn’t changed in a timely matter, oil can stop lubricating moving parts altogether, leading the engine to seize or lock up.
Beyond preventing the possibility of making an engine useless, regular oil changes ensure proper lubrication that helps the engine run at optimum efficiency, minimizing fuel consumption and ensuring longevity.
Oil filter changes
Any oil change should include replacing the oil filter. As engine oil travels throughout the engine, it collects dirt, debris and other particles such as metal shavings from engine wear. During normal engine operation, the oil is pumped throughout the engine and eventually cycles through the oil filter, which collects these particles which could otherwise damage the engine.
The most important part of an oil change is not necessarily the actual changing of the oil, nor the new oil itself, but the inspection that qualified mechanics always include as part of their under-the-hood routine.
When you have a mechanic or automotive service technician completing oil changes as recommend by the manufacturer, they’ll have to opportunity to inspect other elements of the vehicle, including components underneath the hood and on the vehicle undercarriage. A regular oil change schedule can also act as a benchmark for other routine services such as tire rotation, fluid level checks and tune-ups.