How Technology has Affected the most Common Maintenance Service
Not long ago there was consistent guidance for when to change the oil in your vehicle. Every three months or three thousand miles was the standard. After service your mechanic would put a reminder sticker on your windshield and away you went. Your father probably told you to check the oil level between changes too – to be on the safe side.
Well the rules have changed! In part because of new technology. Advancements in synthetics have created longer-life lubricants. You may have heard the buzz around synthetic oils and are wondering, is the extra expense worth it? Do I really need high mileage oil? If I use a synthetic, when will I need my next oil change?
To answer these questions, let’s remember the purpose of having clean oil. Oil is a lubricant and proper lubrication is essential in keeping the moving parts of your engine running smoothly. Your oil also keeps the engine clean, cools internal parts and, in newer vehicles, controls the variable valve timing and active fuel management systems. That’s a lot to ask from five quarts of oil! (Well the amount of oil has also changed. Many oil systems are using as many as eight quarts now.)
Your hard-working oil needs to be changed because it breaks down and leaves deposits in the engine. Over time, deposits can cause corrosion and decrease the life of an engine. One of the enemies of oil is heat. Imagine all the moving parts, pistons, valves, and other engine parts moving at high rates of speed under the hood of a car. These components create heat and will wear down the engine dramatically without proper oil lubrication.
To further illustrate why proper lubrication is important, let’s consider the changes in engine technology and role of the variable valve timing and active fuel management systems. Both these functions use actuators that are controlled by solenoids that require oil pressure to function. These parts have very tiny passages and oil must easily flow within them. If the solenoids don’t have proper oil pressure your check engine light will let you know there’s a problem. Pay attention to that light! An engine problem that can be solved by clean oil will save you money in the long run.
With the new synthetic technology, the oil does not break down as easily as conventional oils. Most synthetics have a life of five thousand miles or more. While the rule of thumb between oil changes is three thousand miles for conventional oils and five thousand for synthetics, the expert technicians at Southcross Auto Service will make the interval recommendation that is right for your vehicle.
To sum it up, oil changes have become more complicated due to changing engine technology and oil technology. Our service managers and technicians at Southcross Auto Service will help shed some light on the specific needs of your vehicle. We stay on top of the continually changing technology so you can rest assured your vehicle is properly cared for when you have your oil changed.