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How Often Should You Change Your Oil?

March 21, 2018

How Often Should You Change Your Oil?

There’s so much conflicting information about how frequently you should change your vehicle’s engine oil it’s difficult to know who to believe. The best way to know the most appropriate frequency for your vehicle and the conditions under which you drive is to become an informed consumer.

Here’s a quick lesson with most everything you need to know about engine oil.

Why Oil is Required in Your Engine

The oil in your engine does four important jobs:  It lubricates, cools, cleans, and seals your car’s, truck’s, or SUV’s engine. Oil delivers debris and contaminants to the oil filter, oil helps cool the engine and it helps maintain piston ring seal to block damaging exhaust gases.

Crude oil is the basis for conventional motor oil, but is highly-refined from the black sludge that comes up through a well. Synthetic oil is also based on crude oil but is further reduced to its basic molecules (synthesized).

Your Engine Oil’s Worst Enemies

Your vehicle’s engine oil has a tough battle to fight every mile it’s driven. Because of this constant struggle, motor oil loses its effectiveness over time, mileage, or both. The primary culprits are:

In the effort to extract the most power possible from each drop of gasoline, engines are designed to run hotter than ever before, making overcoming heat a major challenge for motor oil.

The high-efficiency engines place intense pressure between moving parts that can literally shear oil’s molecular structure, resulting in reduced protection of your motor while the increased heat can promote the formation of sludge. 

The Good Guys – How Motor Oil is Formulated

Each oil company has its own additives blended into their different grades of motor oil that enhance its ability to fight off the extreme challenges mentioned above. These are some of the most common additives:

  • Detergents added to keep clean the engine’s internal parts and surfaces.
  • Dispersant additives keep any sludge, varnish, and acids suspended in the oil so that they are drained at the next oil change.
  • Friction Modifiers to boost the oil’s natural protective film qualities, which diminish over time and use.
  • Anti-corrosion additives to help prevent internal rust caused by water condensation and accumulated acids on metals inside the engine.

However, over time these additives become depleted. The base oil then loses much of its effectiveness, which is the reason that periodic oil changes are required.

How Frequently Should I Change the Oil in my Car, Truck or SUV?

The best source of information about the correct oil change schedule for your car, truck, of SUV is printed in your vehicle’s owner’s manual. In the past you may have had to determine whether your driving conditions are categorized as “normal”, “severe”, or “extreme”. Many new Ford vehicles are now equipped with Intelligent Oil-Life Monitor (IOLM), which analyzes your vehicle’s operating data to determine the optimum time to change your oil.

So whether you’ve received an “Oil Change Required” message, or you just have a question as to what is the right oil change frequency, stop by Elk Grove Ford and the skilled and experienced service staff will be happy to answer your questions, as well as assist you with all of your maintenance needs.

Tags: Safety , Ford

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