The Simple Necessity of Oil Changes

The most simple and basic of all vehicle maintenance is the oil change. This oil does many things for your engine. It cools, it lubricates, and it helps start your engine. The better you treat your engine, the better it will treat you.

There are so many brands and types of oil that it can be very confusing for the typical car owner to know what they’re getting. The two most specific and mainstream oils today are semi-synthetic (also known as synthetic blend oils) and full synthetic oils.

What’s the difference? Semi-synthetic motor oil is refined from fossil fuels. Semi-synthetic gets its name because it’s a blend of crude oil, chemical additives and detergents, meaning this product is partially manmade.

Synthetic motor oil, however, is fully manmade using chemical compounds that mimic the best aspects of crude oil. As a result, synthetic oil contains much fewer contaminants, which leads to a lower risk of engine sludge and buildups. Plus, synthetic oils have a higher scorch temperature and they better withstand freezing temperatures.

There many opinions on when your oil needs to be changed. The owner’s manual says one thing, but the dealerships, repair centers and quick-lubes all say something different.

Speaking as an ASE-certified auto technician who has 34 years in the automotive repair industry, I can tell you what I see and what I fix on a daily basis. Would you rather trust your technician or engineers who have only the manufacturer’s interests in mind?

The bottom line is that your engine is a piece of machinery that produces friction in high-temperature situations. That oil reduces the wear and tear of metal-on-metal friction. As the oil breaks down due to heat, contaminants and internal engine combustion, it loses its lubricating qualities. Less lubrication means more wear and tear to your engine.

Keep your engine happy and listen to the professionals. Change your semi-synthetic oil at 3,000 miles or three months. Change synthetic oils every 6,000 miles or six months. Even if the owner’s manual suggests you can go farther, doing so is risking your engine. ❚

JAX Auto & Tire is located at 5220 S. Ill. Rt. 31, in Crystal Lake, (815) 526-3552.