Why is it Important to Get an Oil Change?

There are a number of ways at looking at the task of getting an oil change done for your vehicle. It could be considered as something of a chore that has to be done on a regular basis, although you're not too sure why it has to be done or if it's really as necessary as it's made out to be. It can also be looked at as something you know will be done as part of regular scheduled servicing, so you don’t have to think about it more than that. However, you could also look at it as a greatly positive thing for you and your vehicle that delivers improved performance and efficiency and reduces the likelihood of needing costly repairs down the line. But to look at getting an oil change done in such a positive light, you need to know why it's such a great thing to have done even more often than you may have thought necessary. And if you think you don’t need to change your oil more than once a year as you do less driving than the average annual amount, then think again.

There are five big advantages of having clean oil and a properly functioning filter, which are: a cleaner engine, prolonged engine life, lower emissions, better fuel economy and improved performance. It's no exaggeration to suggest the oil in a vehicle is like the blood running through a body, so that should give a good idea of how important it is to keep it clean.

The first job the oil in an engine does it to lubricate the many component parts that work in unison to power the wheels. It wouldn't take long for things to wear out when metal rubs against metal, which is something that's happening all the time in an engine. But even the finest lubrication can't eliminate wear and tear, so minute particles of metal are going to be worn away all the time the engine is working. These particles inevitably go into the oil and build up over time, and an excessive buildup of these particles can then cause serious damage if not removed. Of course, the only way to remove these harmful contaminants is to change the oil they're being carried around in.

It would be easy to think doing considerably less than the average 20,000 km per year would mean less need for an oil change than for those doing more driving, but the opposite is actually the case. During repeated short trips the engine heat ups and then cools down for a long period if you don’t drive a great deal, which then creates condensation in the engine. This moisture can usually be found accumulating on the oil fill cap as a kind of a grey oily globular buildup. It's entirely possible this could then lead to the misdiagnosis of a serious internal engine problem, but it won’t happen if you change your oil at least three times a year, even if you're only doing around half the average amount of driving.

As clean oil lubricates much better than dirty oil, it allows an engine to operate as efficiently as possible. Reduced levels of friction means improved economy and lower exhaust emissions, which is better for the environment and better for your bank balance.

Although an oil change and fitting a new filter isn't a lengthy or difficult job, there's a good argument for having a professional do it rather than doing it yourself, even if you're perfectly capable. Having a trained professional at a dealership regularly looking under over your vehicle has to be a good thing as they could spot a problem developing before it gets too serious.

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