Frequently Asked Questions About Oil Changes

September 9th, 2022 by

A mechanic is shown performing an oil change near me.

Getting an oil change is the cornerstone of the routine service needed to keep your vehicle running well on the road. Most of us don’t question its importance as a fundamental part of vehicle ownership. Every six months or 5,000 miles, we pull into the dealership service center and put the longevity of our vehicle into the hands of a capable technician. We might choose a conventional motor oil or a synthetic motor oil depending on what we drive, but that is the limit of our involvement. So you probably already know that an oil change is important. But you might not know why. That’s why we’re here. If you’ve ever been curious about this essential service beyond wondering, “is there a place to get an oil change near me?” You’ll find the answers to these questions quite informative.

Does an Oil Change Make Your Car Run Better?

Don’t think of an oil change as something that makes your car run better, but as a preventative measure that keeps your car running consistently. Just like you go to the dentist twice a year to clean your teeth, an oil change every six months keeps your engine free of sludge and allows it to function properly. Your engine is a mass of moving parts, all working in unison with one another to propel your car forward. As you most likely learned in science class, moving parts create friction, generating heat. Your engine oil lubricates these moving parts, reducing friction and allowing them to perform properly. When your engine runs, it can also ingest dirt and debris. As it lubricates the engine, the oil helps flush out any dirt so the engine can function unhindered.

Oil is shown flowing through an engine.

How Do You Know When You Need an Oil Change?

There are a number of contributing factors that determine how often you should get your oil changed. Many drivers adhere to the standard practice of getting it changed every six months or 5,000 miles. However, how often you need an oil change will vary depending upon the age of your vehicle, the frequency at which you drive, what type of driving you do, and what kind of oil you use.

If you drive an older car and make a lot of short trips every day, it might be a good idea to have your oil changed more often. If you drive a commercial vehicle or spend a lot of time towing, we definitely recommend a shorter oil change interval. It also depends on what type of oil you use. If you drive a vehicle manufactured in recent years and use conventional oil, the traditional 5,000-mile oil change interval applies.

If you use full synthetic motor oil or a synthetic blend, your oil changes will be less frequent. Synthetic motor oil maintains its viscosity longer than conventional oil and does a more efficient job removing the deposits that build up in your engine over time. If you use synthetic oil, it’s recommended to get your oil changed every 7,500 to 10,000 miles.

Many modern vehicles have alerts that indicate when your vehicle is either low on oil or needs an oil change. Even if your car doesn’t provide these alerts, many places that offer oil changes, including our service center here at Thomas Nissan of Joliet, provide documentation of your vehicle’s mileage when you receive your oil change. This will give you a date or odometer reading, letting you know when your next oil change should occur.

What Happens if an Oil Change Is Overdue?

Oil changes are usually recommended at specific intervals to maintain the integrity and performance of your engine. If you go slightly over the recommended interval, it won’t hinder your vehicle’s performance. However, if you neglect to get an oil change for a considerable amount of time, you’ll cause damage to your engine, and other areas of your car’s performance will also suffer.

One of the aspects of your car’s performance that many people don’t consider is how oil changes affect your fuel economy. When your car’s performance suffers, it can burn more fuel than it would if operating normally. If you’re overdue for an oil change and notice you’re not getting the fuel economy you usually do, it’s time to get your oil changed as soon as possible. However, this could also be attributed to other issues, such as the exhaust, fuel system, or other components in your engine.

Another problem that can arise from neglecting an oil change is your vehicle’s exhaust. If you notice black smog coming from your car when you turn the engine on, this could indicate dirty oil in your engine block. It should be noted that, like getting lower than expected fuel economy, this could be a warning sign of a much more serious issue with your vehicle. If any of these problems arise, it’s a good idea to bring your car to our service center for an inspection as soon as possible.

Will My Car Shake if I Need an Oil Change?

Because fresh oil is such a fundamental necessity for your engine’s performance and capability, several problems can arise from neglecting periodic oil changes. One of the possible issues is noticing your engine start to shake. In the worst case, the engine can completely seize up and stop working. It’s estimated that an engine without oil can only idle for approximately thirty minutes, sometimes even less, before complete engine failure sets in.

If your engine begins to stall or shake upon startup, it could be an issue with the oil. There could also be an oil leak or other mechanical failure. Sometimes, these matters are simply a result of a change in the weather. An overheating engine can be a byproduct of bad weather, a faulty cooling system, or insufficient oil in the engine block. Either way, you should bring your car to us and have a professional look at it to properly diagnose the issue.

There are other tell-tale signs that your oil needs to be changed as soon as possible. The most identifiable of these are the warning lights that are a part of most modern vehicles. Aside from these obvious warnings, there are other items to keep an eye out for. If your oil might need a change, check it with your engine’s dipstick. If the oil is dark, it’s a sign that it’s dirty and needs to be replaced with a fresh batch. Another indication is the smell coming from your vehicle when it’s running. Burnt oil has a very distinctive smell to it.

Should any of these problems occur, take your vehicle to our service center at once. An oil change and thorough inspection can help prevent further problems down the road.

Someone is shown checking their oil level using a dipstick.

Check Your Oil; You’ll Be Glad You Did

Getting your oil checked and changed regularly will ensure that your vehicle goes the extra mile for you. When you bring your vehicle to Thomas Nissan of Joliet, a technician will not only change your oil but also advise which brands are best for your type of vehicle and how often you should have it changed based on your driving pattern. We hope you’ve enjoyed this information on why servicing your oil is so important. Now that you know a little bit more, isn’t it time you checked the oil level in your vehicle? Getting in the habit of doing so will allow you to get the most out of your car.

Posted in Oil Change Near Me