Neglecting your oil changes can lead to engine damage or even engine failure, so all drivers should understand the basics of an oil change.
An oil change is one of the most frequent and important services for any vehicle. The following are the most frequently asked questions about oil changes:
The most obvious sign is the oil change warning light activating on your car’s dashboard. You can also check the oil level by removing the dipstick from the oil reservoir under the hood, wiping the oil off, reinserting it into the tube, and removing it once again.
This will show you whether or not the oil level is getting too low. It’s also time for an oil change if the oil looks grainy, gritty, or too thick.
If you take your car to the shop for an oil change, it will probably take between 15 and 45 minutes. If you change it yourself, it may take longer until you get familiar with the steps in the process.
Once you’re experienced with oil changes, though, you can save time by changing your car’s oil on your own.
The cost of an oil change varies depending on your location, your car, and the type of oil your vehicle needs. According to Kelley Blue Book, an oil change using conventional oil typically costs $35 to $75. Using synthetic oil, it can cost between $65 and $125, but it lasts longer and is better for your engine.
You can consult the suggested maintenance schedule for the make and model of your car to find out how often the manufacturer recommends an oil change. The frequency depends on the type of car you drive and the type of oil you use.
Most manufacturers suggest getting an oil change at the very least once every six months, but if you drive a lot, you may need to have it changed more frequently.
Changing your oil yourself can be convenient and cost-effective once you get some practice.
At this point, you can start your vehicle and let it idle for a few minutes while you check for leaks.
If you drive an older car, you may need to get an oil change ever 3,000 kms or 5,000 kms. The general recommendation for newer cars is around every 5,000 kms or 8,000 kms.
Vehicles that use full synthetic oil may be able to go 8,000 kms or 12,000 kms between changes.
The oil change light indicates that you need an oil change soon, but it doesn’t mean it’s an immediate emergency. You should however, get an oil change within two weeks or 250 kms of driving if you see this light.
If the low oil pressure light comes on, you should turn the car off right away because continuing to drive may lead to serious engine damage and you do not want that to happen.
Changing your own oil or getting an oil change at an independent garage should not void your warranty. However, car warranties include a number of specific requirements, and dealerships may look for excuses not to honour your warranty.
Be sure to keep all your receipts from oil changes or other services, and if you change your own oil, use the products recommended by the manufacturer and keep the receipts for the products you bought too.
Collecting and safely disposing of the oil is important and helps protect the environment. A large bucket and a tarp will help you contain all the oil during the change and you can then bring the oil to a hazardous waste collection site in your area, to an auto mechanic shop, or to an auto parts store that accepts used oil like Canadian Tires usually does.