People have a lot of misconceptions about oil and oil changes, which, as mechanics in Phoenix, AZ, we are happy to clear up. Here are just a few of the most common myths about motor oil and the truths behind them:
- You must change your oil every three months or every 3,000 miles: This was perhaps true once upon a time, when the quality of oil and engines were lower, but today this simply isn’t true for almost any car you’ll find on the market. Oil companies and companies specializing in quick changes will still push the 3,000 mile oil change just to make some extra cash, but instead you should follow the oil life monitor light in your vehicle or the designated intervals in your vehicle’s owner’s manual. The rise of synthetic oil is one of the factors that has led to this standard no longer being true—in many cases, you can go at least 7,000 miles without an oil change.
- You should change your oil before a long road trip: While this might be true in some cases, it’s certainly not something that absolutely has to be a part of your pre-trip checklist, depending on your oil life. If you’re only a couple thousand miles into your oil, you’ll probably be just fine, but if you expect your trip will take you past your useful oil life, then it’s a good idea to get it changed before you leave. Just keep an eye on your oil life and make the change if needed.
- You can identify if your oil needs to be changed by sight or smell: There are some old myths that suggest you can determine if you need to change your oil if it shows up as black on the dipstick, or if you smell a particular “spent oil” smell. In fact, oil is meant to get dark—if it doesn’t, it’s not doing its job. Plus, various additives can change the color of the oil. Go only by your vehicle’s oil life indicator and your knowledge of when you last changed your oil.
- You must continue always using synthetic oil once you’ve used it once: There is no truth behind this at all. In fact, many oils feature blends of synthetic and petroleum-based oil, which completely shatters this myth. So long as the oil meets the viscosity and service requirements of your owner’s manual, you can switch back and forth according to your own personal preference.
- Synthetic oil always improves efficiency and is better for your engine: While synthetic oil is an excellent lubricant, it may or may not be worth the much higher price you pay for it. There is also not much data to support the position that synthetic oils improve fuel economy.
For more information about some of these most common myths about oil changes, we encourage you to contact a mechanic in Phoenix, AZ at S & J Auto Repair & Rental. We will be happy to answer your questions!