Thursday, October 9, 2014

Common Oil Change Myths Exposed

Common Oil Change Myths Exposed - There are a lot of oil change myths out there that have circulated for years. You'll see a great deal of contradictory information regarding how often you need maintenance, what type of lubricant you need, and more. Here, we try to clear up some of these misconceptions.

The "3,000-Mile" Myth
More than likely, you simply assume you need to get an oil change every 3,000 miles because that's what everyone says you need to do. However, that's almost never the case. The vast majority of today's cars can go a great deal farther in between maintenance checks. In fact, thanks to advances in engine technology as well as lubricants, it is not at all uncommon for cars to be able to go nearly 8,000 miles between service appointments. Thankfully, many in the industry are abandoning this credo, instead recommending that vehicle owners consult their owner's manual to determine the right intervals.

"Severe" Maintenance Schedules
One of the most common myths is that vehicles need to be serviced more often if they have to perform under "severe" conditions. The problem is in the definition of "severe." Regular stop-and-go traffic, even if it occurs on a daily basis, does not qualify. This classification needs to be reserved for emergency vehicles that sometimes have to stand idle for hours at a time, as well as taxis. It also applies to vehicles that pull heavy trailers on a regular basis.

The Dipstick
Experts refute the notion that you need an oil change if the lubricant on the dipstick is black. Also, it is no longer recommended that you have your vehicle serviced if your lubricant emits a certain smell. Dark lubricant is actually a good sign because it means the lubricant is doing its job - more than likely, it has plenty of life remaining.

Removing Metal Particles
You may have also heard that if you purchase a new car, you need to get an oil change at the 3,000-mile mark to remove metal particles from the engine that are part of the "breaking in" process. While there may be a bit of truth to this, if there are larger particles in the engine, the filter should take care of them. Some manufacturers even go so far as to recommend that customers do not have their lubricant replaced early because their cars come with a special brand that is formulated especially for the break-in period. Certain new cars, for example, contain an anti-wear additive known as molybdenum-disulfide.

There are several other myths that are out there, of course. The next time you are planning to have an oil change, talk to your mechanic about whether or not you actually need to have your vehicle serviced.

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