What Happens When You Go Well Beyond Your Recommended Oil Change Date

Mechanic performing oil change at A+ Japanese Auto Care in San Carlos, CAWhen NBC News surveyed Americans about their car maintenance habits in 2016, only 26 percent of drivers stated they were "confident" about how to change their car oil. While 14.9 percent was "somewhat confident," 23.1 percent was "not very confident," and a whopping 36 percent reported feeling "clueless." For these confused drivers, there's bad news: overlooking an oil change long-term can do some serious damage to one's car.

Why Changing Engine Oil Is Important

Most people are familiar with the importance of changing the oil in their car, but many don't understand exactly why it is so important. Because cars have so many moving parts, they can rub together and result in friction and heat. Oil is necessary to lubricate the engine and reduce the amount of heat it produces, preventing overheating and engine damage. However, because engine oil is subjected to such high levels of heat, it can break down over time and become less efficient, requiring changes.

The Consequences of Overlooking an Oil Change

In general, car experts recommend having the oil changed every 4,000 - 5,000 miles. Inconsistent oil changes can result in the need for engine repair sooner rather than later. This is because with reduced lubrication from proper oil, the parts of the engine will rub against each other and wear down. This will increase the number of engine particulates in the oil, further speeding up the process of corrosion, resulting in damage to the engine. Old oil can also "sludge" or solidify in the engine, resulting in the very slow movement of oil. This means crankshafts, bearings, camshafts, and other parts of the valve train might not be lubricated properly, resulting in significant damage.

How to Know When to Change Oil

Although the common advice is that oil should be changed every 4,000 - 5,000 miles, many manufacturers only recommend having the oil changed every 7,500 miles. One should always consult the owner's manual or maintenance schedule for a better sense of what is appropriate for every specific car and which oil to use.

There are also many factors that may require more frequent oil changes. This includes those who frequently use trailer towing, are constantly sitting idle in traffic, or who drive in extreme heat or extreme cold on a regular basis. The best way to know if a car needs an oil change is to ask a trusted mechanic during a routine tune-up.

When it comes to changing the oil, it's important not to fall into the 36% of Americans who are "clueless" about the process. If your car is overdue for an oil change, schedule a maintenance appointment with A+ Japanese Auto Repair Inc. by calling (650) 595-2277 today or visit https://aplusjapaneseautorepair.com/appointments.

Categories: Car Maintenance
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