The ten commandments of motor oil changes

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Thinking about neglecting your vehicle’s motor oil change needs? Then you need to read and heed our (tongue-in-cheek) ten commandments of motor oil change and basics!

Motor Oil Change Commandment Number One: Thou Shall Know Thy Engine

Do you know what kind of engine is in your vehicle? Is it a 16-valve? A turbo? If you’re not certain, it’s time to find out because you cannot choose the most appropriate oil for your vehicle if you haven’t a clue as to what kind of engine
operates as its heart.

Motor Oil Change Commandment Number Two: Thou Shall Educate Thyself on Oil Types

There are oils for high mileage vehicles, oils with special additives, oils that clean your engine, cheap oils, expensive oils, synthetic oil blends, motor oils made with minerals, practically any type of oil you can name…so which do you choose? Truly, you have to be a wise consumer and educate yourself on what motor oil is the best for your vehicle. Asking around may be your best bet; it’s likely that a friend or acquaintance who loves cars can give you practical suggestions and the advice won’t cost you a penny.

Motor Oil Change Commandment Number Three: Thou Shall Change Thy Oil Every 5,000-10,000 Km

Most vehicles are going to require that you change motor oil every 3,000-5,000 miles (the lower end is especially critical if your car, truck or van has logged a significant amount of miles). Changing the oil can be handled by you (if you’re comfortable with the task) or by a professional (and most can do a quick 10-minute oil change). The most important thing is to make certain that you protect the engine by keeping it clean.

Motor Oil Change Commandment Number Four: Thou Shall Not Be Swayed by Flashy Commercials

There are numerous brands of motor oils on the market, but not all of them will have the available spending dollars to advertise on national channels. Therefore, it’s important that you do a little homework to find out what brands are actually available to you. It’s guaranteed to be an eye-opening experience, especially for the person who is looking to become better acquainted with his or her vehicle.

Motor Oil Change Commandment Number Five: Thou Shall Understand How Motor Oil Works

You know you have to change motor oil in your car, but do you understand why? In a nutshell, motor oil serves as a constant lubricant to prevent grinding and exorbitant amounts of heat in your engine. It also helps clean your engine by preventing build-up. Without oil, an engine would eventually overheat or “seize up”, and that’s a costly problem. In fact, if you neglect to keep your engine well-oiled, you will soon be faced with a very grim choice; put a new engine in your car or purchase another vehicle. Ouch.

Motor Oil Change Commandment Number Six: Thou Shall Avoid Sludge Build-Up

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably seen plenty of commercials touting the horrible substance known as “sludge”. Sludge is a black, tar-like goo that builds up in your engine and can mean its death. Protect yourself by purchasing the best kind of motor oil for your vehicle’s type and engine that you can afford. Many car company websites will suggest a type of motor oil that’s perfect for the make and model you’ve purchased.

Motor Oil Change Commandment Number Seven: Thou Shall Operate Thy Vehicle Regularly

Maybe you have a sports car or a truck that isn’t used on a regular basis. If it’s kept in storage, it’s being protected on the outside, but is it being protected on the inside? To keep your motor oil running through the engine, it’s a good plan to start up your vehicle every month or so. And if weather conditions permit, there’s nothing better for a car’s engine than a nice Sunday drive, especially if it’s been sitting idle for weeks.

Motor Oil Change Commandment Number Eight: Thou Shall Not Mix Oil Types

Though it sounds sensible to “mix” a little of one oil with a little of another, remember that the motor oils were not created to work with other oils. For instance, a mineral-based motor oil probably isn’t going to perform at its best if it’s mixed with a synthetic oil blend. Though your vehicle’s engine won’t be seriously harmed if you do “mix” (especially in a pinch), it’s not suggested.

Motor Oil Change Commandment Number Nine: Thou Shall Not Drive If the Only Oil in Your Engine is a Flushing Oil

There are specialty oils known as “flushing oils” that are meant to clean your engine. However, they are not meant for driving due to their water-like consistency. If you do drive with this kind of flushing oil in your engine, you can expect to travel a very short distance, so bring comfy walking shoes for that sad trot home.

Motor Oil Change Commandment Number Ten: Thou Shall Not “Top Off” Your Engine’s Oil

More may be better when you’re talking about your pay check, but it isn’t better when you’re discussing how to change motor oil. “Topping off” the oil in your engine is a big “no-no”, as you can rupture the seal, causing a “leaky” engine. This, in turn, leads to oil getting on collateral parts such as the flywheel, clutch and other nearby items. Just put in as much as your engine needs and enjoy the ride!

By Tim LaDanke