Regular oil changes will protect the engine against wear. But how often should you change engine oil and which one is correct? Is it better to do it yourself in the workshop or in the garage at home? Things to know about engine oil and frequently asked questions and answers about change.
Why does a car engine need oil?
Engine oil performs many tasks: It cleans the engine from soot, ash and abrasion, protects it from wear and tear, lubricates moving parts, cools overheated parts and protects against corrosion. Since the oil wears out with the operation of the vehicle, it should be changed regularly. This can lead to more costly damage if neglected.
What kind of Oil does my engine need?
Information about this can be found in the owner’s manual or in the vehicle’s service booklet. Vehicle manufacturers provide precise classifications and specifications for the quality of lubricants. The flow properties (viscosity) of the oil are classified according to SAE classes (Society of Automotive Engineers). Two numbers are specified for today’s multigrade oils such as SAE 5W-30. The number in front of the “W” describes the cold flow characteristics of the engine oil.
The smaller the number, the better the engine oil can flow when cold and reach the key lubrication points in the engine correspondingly faster. The number after “W” defines the viscosity at 100 °C. The higher this value, the better the lubricating property of the engine oil will remain in the engine when it is hot. It is important to meet these requirements specified by the Vehicle Manufacturer.
How often are oil changes done?
The answer to this can also be found in the vehicle’s user manual. If the car is mainly used in city traffic, the engine usually does not reach the optimum operating temperature, so the oil wears out faster. In this case, more frequent checking and car maintenance is recommended.
Some gauges on vehicles show the current service life of engine oil. If it is a new car, the owner’s manual also states whether an oil change is required after the first 1000 kilometers. Wait for the warning light to come on before changing the oil.
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