We all know our vehicles need an oil change and oil filter replacement every three months or 5,000 kilometres (whichever comes first). Here are four things you probably *didn’t* know about this essential element of car maintenance.
1. Short trips can have a big impact
A quick daily commute might be convenient for you, but it can be tough on your vehicle. Short trip driving takes a serious toll on motor oil because the engine never warms up enough to boil off the moisture and acids that accumulate inside the crankcase. Be sure to get an oil change and replace the oil filter as recommended under the “severe service” maintenance interval listed in your owner’s manual.
2. Choosing the right oil for your oil change
A high motor oil viscosity number doesn’t necessarily provide better protection. Consult your owner’s manual to ensure you’re buying the right oil based on your motor and driving conditions.
3. The clue is in the colour
The next time you’re checking your engine oil, examine its colour. If it’s milky brown, there’s likely coolant in the oil—a condition that can be caused by a blown head gasket, cracked casings, or a failed transmission cooler. In any of these cases, your car will require immediate servicing by a technician.
4. Synthetic vs. Mineral
Although synthetic motor oils can be much more expensive than mineral-based motor oils, they’re often a worthy investment. Not only can synthetic oil improve fuel economy and provide instant lubrication on start-up, it also tends to last longer between oil changes. You’ll also want to consider synthetics if your vehicle has a supercharged engine, is used for towing, or tends to be operated in extremely hot or cold climates.