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An Inside Look at Oil Changes

Aug 05, 2022 - 4 minute read

An Inside Look at Oil Changes

Why do I need and oil change?

Driving a huge part of life for a lot of people, and the average person drives just under 40 miles per day, or 14.25thousand miles per year. If you’re one of those drivers, then you are very familiar with the dreaded oil change. Lines of cars waiting in the parking lot. Service advisors trying to upsell you on filters and strange liquids you’ve heard of, but never really seen before. And trusting people you’ve never met to drive your car.

If you’re like me then you are not exactly thrilled with any of these ideas. Most people aren’t and that’s ok. But we are going to uncover what happens during a service checkup and why it’s super important that you keep your appointments regular.

According to theoilchange.app, “Put simply, an oil change is when you take out the motor oil from your engine and put back in new motor oil. During an oil change you also must change the oil filter and put on a new one. The oil and filter do so much for your engine that it is the best way to keep your vehicle healthy.”

And for the most part, this is true. Oil is supremely understated in its importance to your car. Most vehicles are filled with moving parts. Wheels, gears, and whirring gadgets fill the space underneath your hood and all those parts are doing a lot of work.

And some of you are probably thinking, “what does all of this have to do with oil?” Well, put it this way. Imagine a car is like a water park. People’s jobs are to splash and move around, and your job is to go down the water slide. Its lots of fun right? Now imagine going down the same slide without any water and do that all day long. Sores and abrasions start covering your body. Not very much fun anymore, right? The water creates a barrier between you and the slide that lets you slip down without any consequences and can even turn slide made of concrete into a fun afternoon.

The oil works that same as the water on that waterslide. Just like sliding down a waterslide on a cushion of water, the parts in your engine spin and slide on cushion of oil. Without it, the materials would rub against each other and wear themselves away.

To do this, oil relies on a property called its viscosity. The viscosity of a fluid is a measure of its resistance to deformation at a given rate. For liquids, this basically means its thickness. Just like syrup is thicker than water and sticks to everything, Oil is just the right amount of sticky to coat itself all-over the inside of an engine. As gears turn, the oil sticks to them and creates a protective film on everything it touches.

Although it does a lot, oil is not a miracle fluid and can’t keep your engine running forever. Like many other products it can, sort of, ‘expire.’ While the oil in your engine does help lubricate and protect, carbon from combustion, or power creation, can get into your oil along with trace amounts of water. This makes the oil less viscous, and it slowly loses its ability to protect your engine.

And for those of you that put enough miles on your car, you may also be familiar with transmission fluid. This is another kind of oil, but since it is not in your engine, it does not get filled with carbon like regular engine oil. This means you can get away without changing it for around 60,000 miles instead of the usual 5,000.

Now on to the checkup portion of your oil change.  Most service center and car dealerships are looking out for more of your car than just its oil change. Our technicians at Kruse also check the level of wear on your tires and breaks, how clean your air filters are, whether all your lights work, and other fluid levels in your car. And while it may seem like a hassle in the moment, it can be illegal to drive on smooth or ‘bald’ tires or with lights that don’t function.

Often these ‘Complimentary Inspections’ are less about the guy selling it and more about you. It helps keep you up to date on the reliability of your car and takes the strain of off scheduling those appointments yourself. Besides, it feels a lot better knowing thing need to be replaced before they wear out that after you’re SOL and stranded on the side of the road.

-Written by: Trevor Van Keulen