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What you need to know about engine oil


If there’s one piece of basic automotive information that anyone who drives a car should know, it’s that engines require oil to keep all the moving internal parts – like pistons, valves and cylinder heads – properly lubricated.

Oil is the lifeblood of the internal combustion engine, the one variable that can directly dictate how long your car will last.

But unless you’re a gearhead, or someone who is mechanically-inclined, you may not realize just how important the right type of oil can be, when to check the dipstick and how many miles can be driven before it needs changed.

Conventional vs. Synthetic

Since the debut of synthetic oil, there has always been a debate between conventional oil and the kind that’s modified in a laboratory by scientists.

Sure, full synthetic and synthetic blend are proven to last longer and withstand higher temperatures, but does your car really need it?

The answer to this question ultimately depends on the type of vehicle you own.

If, for instance, your preferred mode of transportation is a luxury or performance brand, chances are the engine requires a synthetic oil. And, without it, you run the risk of voiding the warranty.

But if you have an economy car, conventional – such as 5W-30 – should do just fine. However, always check your owner’s manual.

You can put synthetic oil in a car that takes conventional, but a standard oil change will cost double or triple the price.

Check Oil Often

Remembering to check oil on a regular basis is something that most people tend to forget. While your car shouldn’t burn an excessive amount of oil in-between changes, unless there’s something wrong with the engine, there’s always the chance that it could.

As a result, considering pulling out the dipstick at least once a month. That way, if it needs topped off, you’re able to do so before taking it to the mechanic.

However, one important thing to remember is that adding to the oil level should never been substituted for an oil change since dirt and debris can eventually buildup and cause an engine to seize.

Follow Regular Maintenance Intervals

In the past, the universally-accepted rule was that oil needed to be changed every three months or 3,000 miles, whichever came first. And most instant oil change centers still follow this on their windshield reminder sticker.

But with advances in both oil and automotive engineering, you’ll simply be wasting money if you stick to the “3,000 mile” myth. Some cars can travel up to 7,000 miles before needing an oil change.

And, with the in-dash warning systems that most new cars, trucks and SUVs are equipped with, you’ll know exactly when the oil is running low.

Just be sure to consult your owner’s manual and follow whatever maintenance schedules are recommended.

For more car maintenance tips and tricks, or to have your vehicle’s oil changed so you can avoid the hassle of crawling under it, give Andy’s Auto Service in Bridgeville a call at 412-478-9304 to schedule an appointment.


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