There’s tons of information floating around about oil changes, but what’s really true? Big Apple Automotive is here to help. Here are a few common myths about the maintenance service and explanations of the facts. Be sure to visit our location on Bear Valley Road for your next oil change!
If you use a dipstick to check your car’s oil and notice that the color is dark, you might be tempted to think that means it’s dirty and needs to be changed. Some sources will tell you that this is the case, but it really means that the oil is doing its job. Motor oil is designed to hold particles and dirt in suspension, making it look contaminated. It’s only a concern if motor oil is nearing the end of its life after months of use or if large metal flakes are present.
Some sources suggest changing motor oil early on in a vehicle’s life because as the engine breaks in, it can leave metal flakes in the oil. While the oil filter might be enough to catch these flakes, it’s best to follow your manufacturer’s specific instructions in the owner’s manual. Some manufacturers discourage this practice because of anti-wear additives that are used in break-in oils.
There are many kinds of oil — conventional, full-synthetic, synthetic blends, and high-mileage. Some argue that once you start using a specific kind of oil, especially synthetic, you can’t change it. As motor oil design improves, this becomes less true. Oil that meets the service and viscosity requirements in your owner’s manual should be sufficient. Some newer high-performance vehicles might benefit from synthetic blends or full synthetic because of their engine design. Just make sure you are switching carefully and following good procedure.
While it’s definitely a good idea to check your vehicle before a long drive for apparent issues, you don’t necessarily need to schedule an oil change that’s not consistent with your normal schedule. If you hit the recommended mileage while you are on the trip, it might be a good idea to handle it beforehand, but if not you can still change the oil when you return.
If you have questions about oil changes, ask the experts at Big Apple Automotive off of Bear Valley Road in California!