on 04, Mar 2019

Car Engine Oil Maintenance: Simple Tips that will Improve your Car's Life

Most of us take care of a car as a real person. After carefully choosing what car to buy, we decide to get the best accessories and insurance for the car. Soon it becomes a much integral part of our life. Even a small scratch on it is enough to break our heart a little. Since we have already given it such huge importance in our life we share the responsibility of maintaining its health

Just like any human being, a routine checkup is even required for a car to ensure its perfect health. Regular servicing is required for any car and one of the processes required to complete the process is regular engine oil changes. Depending from person to person, the care towards the car may differ. Some prefer letting the professional handle the work while others get their own hands dirty. Whichever method you choose, servicing and maintaining the car the right way is required.

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So what exactly changing the oil does for your car?

  • Lubrication: A car’s engine has a lot of moving parts like piston, valves etc. These parts move at a very high pace and can wear down the engine due to the high heat produced by those movements. So to ensure the reduction of friction between such parts and provide lubrication. Just as every person is unique, every car is unique too. To get the best result you should always read the car’s manual thoroughly and decide the best oil accordingly.

  • Cools down engine: since a car has a lot of moving parts, friction is inevitable. Keeping a good amount of lubrication over the parts can help you to prevent your engine from overheating due to the heat emitted by friction.

  • Removes sludge and other particles: dirt particles that accumulate on the engine will cause more friction and corrosion, shortening the life of engine drastically. Moreover, the oil breaks down and eventually turns into sludge. So by installing a proper oil filter and changing the oil regularly will help keep these problems away.

  • Improves mileage: more friction can, in turn, lead to more fuel consumption. With regular oil changes, the mileage can be improved.

  • Longitivity: just like everything else routine checkup will help keep your car healthy.  Khealthy engine will prolong the life of the car.

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So when should you change your car oil?

Well, this is something that differs from one car to another. You should read the car’s manual where it is clearly stated. Usually, the car oil is changed every 8,000-10,000 km or every 6 months if you drive the car often or every year if you use it for daily commute within the city. Most people will advise doing an oil change every 5000 km but you can go till 10,000 km unless specified by your car manual.

Know about your engine oil filters

Oil filters are used to remove any contaminants and particles from your engine oil. Since oil is used to also clean the engine, a good filter helps with the overall life of a car. Choose the best filter there is for a car since choosing a cheap one can make a huge impact on the output your car provides.

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Most people just prefer professionals to handle oil changes. But if you are an enthusiast and love to do everything by yourself this may help you.

How to change the engine oil of your car:

Unless the drain pump or oil filter of the car is impossible to reach, you can change the car oil with ease. All you need is the basic knowledge of your car and some tools to do the job right. How much oil should be used is mostly specified in the manual of the car. The steps can be summarized as draining, changing an oil filter, filling up new oil, ensuring for no leakage and quality testing.

To start you must warm your engine first to get the flow going. Usually starting the car for 2-3 minutes is enough. Make sure the engine is not to hot to touch. As soon as the engine gets warm you should shut it off.

  • You will find the drain plug, a large nut or plug located under the oil pan at the bottom of the engine. You will either have to crawl under the car or jack the car up to reach it.

  • Get a container that is big enough for all the oil in the car and place it under the plug.

  • Unscrew the oil plug. Make sure you protect your hand with a rag or tissues since engine oil is a sticky substance. As soon as its unplugged, the oil will drain out into the container.

  • Remove the oil filter. Use a wrench to unscrew it if necessary. It is usually placed at the top of the engine and can be removed with a counterclockwise motion. The filter usually has oil in it so make sure you don’t spill it.

  • Remove the oil in the pan and wrap it in a newspaper. You can either recycle it along with the oil by taking it to a recycling centre or throw it away.

  • Get the new oil filter and with your fingers moisten the gasket with the oil from the new bottle.

  • Screw the oil filter where the older one was. Make sure it's secure and tight.

  • Replace the oil drain plug and tighten it.

  • Pour new oil with the help of a funnel to the oil filter hole. Be patient and let the oil take its time to flow down.

  • Replace the oil filter cap and start the engine for 30-60 seconds. Check for leakage from oil drain pump and filter

  • Shut off the engine and wait for 10 minutes. Check the oil level with the oil dipstick.

  • If the oil is not yet full, slowly add oil until the oil reaches the full mark on the dipstick.

  • Clean off all the parts where the oil may have spilt and recycle the old oil.

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Now most of us get a question that if we can use the older oil with new filter. The answer to that is no. Although the motor oil once used becomes waste material, you can still reuse it by recycling it and properly refining it. There are a lot of recycling units for such a process. The used oil can also be used as a lubricant for other parts.

Owning a car is also being responsible for it. And not just a car, you should also be responsible for the car’s effects on the environment.  The engine oil is one of the majority pollutants. It can pollute water and even land. The problem with this being the oil sticks to everything and will make a mess.

Most of such engine oil can cause rashes and the chemicals may be harmful to us hence making sure it does not go to any water body is important too. So it's better to find a recycling centre or an automobile centre to dispose of the oil.

Now, most people might think it is a waste to spend money on oil filters every single time you do an oil change. But as already mentioned, the cleaner the oil, the better the engine. Sure you can directly use the oil without changing filters again and again but that will reduce the life of your engine by half. So, in the end, you have to decide to spend money on a new filter or a new engine.

Oil life monitoring system that is usually present in the car has to be reset once the oil has been changed. The oil life is shown in percentage where 100means good and zero is bad. You can change your oil at 10%but as long as you don’t go beyond zero it's safe to change the oil even at 0%. If you forget to reset it your car may show the oil change indicator on.

There are certain myths regarding engine oils. Let us address them as well

Popular engine oil myths:

  • Changing motor oil yourself or using a different brand than specified voids your warranty. Now, this is something that is completely false. As long as the oil meets the standard of the manual, it cannot void the warranty.

  • All oil additives are the same. False. Different oils have different additives which affect a different part of the engine.

  • All brand oils are the same. False. Base oil and additives can differ according to brands.

  • Switching motor oil is harmful to the engine. False. As long as you choose an oil with the same viscosity and  API standards it should be fine.

  • When the oil turns dark its time to change. False. The change of oil is not determined by its appearance.

  • You don’t need to change the oil filter every time you change the oil. False. Doing so will lead to contaminants re-entering your oil and you will be decreasing the life of the engine drastically.

  • Oil never wears out, it only gets contaminated. False. Over the period additives in the oil get used up.

There are a lot of theories about changing oil during the first servicing, mostly scheduled at 2-3 months after the purchase. Though it's not mentioned in your user manual, oil change for the new car is required during first servicing.

During the engine breaking time, the components may grind with each other and produce micro bits of metal particles which are highly abrasive. Even if the dealership may not change your oil the first service, it is advisable to change it to get all that abrasive material out of the way.

Make sure your car doesn’t sit ideal for a long duration. Still, oil can sometimes produce acid within it which is highly corrosive. Staring your engine for some time every week or going on a ride once a week may help to avoid such scenarios.

Another question that is being asked by people is what does a car stops while driving if the oil is not changed for a long time? The answer is yes! As mentioned, the car oil is used as lubricant and coolant in an engine. In this process, a bit of car oil always burned. Moreover, over a period of time, the car oil will contain a lot of dust particles and carbons and turn into sludge.

This will end up emptying the oil tank and whatever ‘sludge’ that is left to make your engine even worse. What’s even worse is the heat produced during the working of pistons is soo high that without proper lubricant it may weld themselves together and your engine will seize.

So now another question. How can you tell if the dealership has changed your oil? Most service centres that are affiliated with a brand has a reputation to maintain. So its very rare to be cheated by them but if you still have to verify, this is how you do it.

  1. Get a good quality paper towel and with the help of the dip stick put a little drop or wipe the stick on it. The colour of the oil will be much darker. It won't be pitch black unless the car is diesel. When the car is ready do the above procedure again. The fresh oil should be honey coloured. The new oil will be absorbed better by the paper towel and also the level of oil would have been changed. The engine oil slightly over won’t hurt but if it’s under make them fix it before you leave.

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  1. In case of the filter, since most filters are not visible, if your filter is even remotely visible, scratch an X onto it or with the help of a screwdriver dent it a little. It won’t be wiped off with the towel and you will surely know if it has changed. Plus the new oil filter will be shiny and spotless.

  2. If you are using a generic filter, the colour of the new filter may vary from the old one.

  3. Your engine should be more responsive after an oil change.

  4. Sadly, there is no way to tell if the servicing person has used the oil you mentioned for the car. Sometimes the service person may replace your high-end oil with cheaper one. To ensure that you won't be cheated, you can either change the oil yourself. Buy a sealed pack and hand it to the person who is changing your oil and be present yourself.

So what other additives can be beneficial for your car

Engine Flush

Just as the name suggests it is a flush for your engine. Its main purpose is to remove or flush out all the deposits and sludge sitting in your engine.  Use of engine flush is highly debatable because the normal oil contains some limited amount of detergents in them. Which helps dissolve all the sludge from the engine.  

An engine oil performs various other roles hence it contains additives for oxidation, combating rust etc. Whereas engine flush is solely designed for cleaning purposes and is made entirely of detergents. The flush works on the micro level and dissolves all the sludge present which can be removed by changing the oil.

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So how to use engine flush?

  • Pour the engine flush directly into the oil filter port and run the engine slowly in neutral for 10-15 minutes.

  • It circulates through the engine, mixing with oil dissolving any sludge or gunk in its way.

  • Then you drain the oil, as usual, change the filter and add new oil.

Advantages of sludge:

Having said that, sludge is not all that bad for your engine. It all depends on what type of car or engine you have. Using too much sludge detergent like engine flush can sometimes damage your engine. If your engine is old, the sludge that is sitting in the cracked and broken seals helps prevent the oil from leaking. In this case, if you use an engine flush the cracks might be exposed and the engine will start leaking oil.

The basic cost of such oil changes can range from rs. 1000-rs.2000 if you seek professional help. If you do it yourself at home the oil filter will cost between rs.80-300. The cost of engine oil varies from brand to brand, the base, its type and additive. Using the car oil mentioned in the manual is always the best bet.

With new technology and design, the previous car that had an average life expectancy of 8 years has been awarded 2 more years. The car of new generations is said to have a life of 10 years or 3 lakh 20 thousand kilometres. It's our responsibility to ensure that the routine servicing is done and the car is in good health till then. In order to achieve that regular servicing along with oil changes is a must. Whether you do it yourself or prefer a professional changing the car oil should be included along with other procedures to extend the life of the engine.

Mynewcar.in also brings you new offers on your favourite cars every month. And if you are looking for a financial option, click here to calculate the emi of your favourite cars now.

Do let us know what you think about this article in the comments section below. Share with us your own experience. Tell us about your favourite car and the car you would like to buy and have special offers.

 


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