Why Does My Car Need an Oil Change?
As the primary lubricant for the moving parts of your engine, oil is an extremely important piece of the vehicle maintenance puzzle. Because oil prevents excessive wear and tear on the mechanical pieces within the engine, maintaining the right amount and quality of your vehicle’s oil is one of the most effective ways of keeping your car or truck on the road and out of the repair shop.
Oil is the lifeblood of your vehicle
By reducing the amount of friction that occurs between the hundreds of moving parts inside an automobile’s engine, motor oil is essential to maintaining sustainable internal temperatures and preventing overheating. Oil’s continual circulation throughout the engine and oil filter also helps remove any impurities created during the combustion process.
High engine temperatures will break down the quality of oil over time necessitating replacement. The amount of time for this breakdown to occur can vary depending on the age and type of vehicle as well as the environment it is being operated in. For example, cars that are consistently exposed to severe driving conditions such as stop and go (high traffic), harsh weather or dirty, dusty roads will more likely require oil and filter changes more frequently than cars operating in normal conditions.
How to find the right oil for your vehicle
From electric and gas hybrids to high-output diesel-powered trucks, the types of vehicles found on the road today are more diverse than ever before. As a result, motor oil manufacturers are continually developing new formulations and variations to accommodate these vehicles and keep them running as efficiently as possible.
The type of oil that is right for your car or truck is often expressed by its weight. More accurately, the weight of an oil is a measurement of its viscosity – the amount of time that it takes a certain amount of fluid to travel through a specific sized hole at a certain temperature. Typically, the higher the viscosity of a fluid, the slower it will flow. Since automotive engine oil must flow as soon as the engine is turned on (cold) and while the engine is running (hot), most oils are now formulated with a blend of different base oils.
All motor oils are tested to provide protection inside engines operating at 210° F or 100° C. The ‘W’ number found on containers of automotive oil indicates that the oil will also deliver a level of viscosity protection at colder temperatures as well.
For example, while SAE-30 oil has been tested to perform at high temps (210° F or 100° C), a SAE 5W-30 oil has been designed to work both as a SAE-5 weight oil at startup and a SAE-30 weight oil when the engine reaches its normal operating temperature.
VIP Tires & Service centers in Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire also offer a ‘Build Your Own’ oil and filter change service. Simply select your preferred brand of motor oil and filter, and VIP will change it for only $12.00 plus the cost of the oil and filter.
The fuel factor
Another factor that can have a negative impact on oil longevity is poor fuel quality. Fuels that contain (or lack) certain properties don’t burn as efficiently as they should and often leave behind deposits that make it more difficult for oil to keep the engine running smoothly. As a result, the consistency of the oil wears out faster than it normally would.
Today, most of the gasoline sold in the U.S. contains some ethanol, a fuel derived from the fermentation of corn. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), approximately 13 billion gallons of fuel ethanol was added to the motor gasoline produced in the United States, or about 10% of the total volume of gasoline consumed.
Although it can vary by region, the amount of ethanol found in a gallon of gasoline typically does not exceed 10%. This type of fuel is referred to as E10 and can be used in all types of gasoline-powered vehicles. However, since the energy content of ethanol is about 33% lower than gasoline, the fuel efficiency of the vehicle may decrease by up to 3.3% when using E10 in your vehicle.
Upping the oil change ante
Many of the automotive oils produced today are also enhanced with advanced additives to help offset the inefficiencies from using gasoline-containing ethanol. Here at VIP Tires & Service, all of our engine oil and filter change services, including our complete lineup of Valvoline Oil Changes are formulated to meet the exact specifications set by your vehicle’s manufacturer.
Unlike a dealership, VIP services vehicles of all ages, makes, and models. Our service centers stock a wide variety of oil filters and oil types including high mileage, full synthetic, and synthetic blends in different weights and viscosities.