Lube - Oil
WHAT IS IT
The process of draining old engine oil, removing the old oil filter, adding new engine oil and installing a new filter element.
WHY DO IT
Your engine oil performs many functions. It stops all the metal surfaces in your engine from grinding together and tearing themselves apart from friction, and it transfers heat away from the combustion cycle. Engine oil must also be able to hold in suspension all the nasty by-products of combustion like silica (silicon oxide) and acids. Finally, engine oil minimizes the exposure to oxygen and thus oxidation at higher temperatures. It does all of these things under tremendous heat and pressure. Over time the additives blended with the base oil stock product break down and no longer do the job that they where designed to do. Also the oil base itself becomes saturated with contaminants and dirt.
WHEN TO DO IT
Every 5,000 km.
Modern day oil change intervals are a hot topic of discussion these days due to vehicle manufacturers publishing oil change intervals that are much longer than we have seen in the past. General Motors has been using an “oil life monitoring” system for some time now, which takes into account a number of factors (engine running time, ambient temperature, vehicle speed) and then calculates when the oil needs changing. Other manufacturers have decided on a lower tech approach and simply published oil change intervals that range from 7500km to 25000km, as opposed to the previous suggestion of 5000km.
There are a number of things to remember and consider when deciding which oil change interval you might follow. Extended oil change intervals usually require the use of semi or fully synthetic engine oils. While the number of oil changes is less, you will be paying more per oil change (eg. 2 at $80, or 4 at $40). Extended intervals may be satisfactory when the vehicle is new; however, as the vehicle ages and internal engine parts wear, the speed at which harmful contaminants build up in the engine oil will surely increase. This will cause the additives in the engines oil to breakdown more quickly and their protective features will wear out before the oil is changed. Considering that the average age of a vehicle in Canada is pushing 9.5 years old, we are clearly keeping our vehicles longer than ever before. We have a simple philosophy at Master Mechanic…if you plan to own your vehicle longer than the warranty period, please do your engine a favour and change your oil every 5,000 kms. The cost difference is negligible, and you benefit from your Master Mechanic inspecting your car on a more regular basis to ensure your car is safe and maintained; as you know, your car needs more than just engine oil changes!
Furthermore, when the manufacturers publish their oil change interval guides, pay particular attention to the ‘normal’ versus ‘severe’ driving condition. The new cars today are programmed from the factory with ‘normal’, whereas the Canadian climate is defined as ‘severe’…and ‘severe’ conditions require more frequent oil changes
As an aside, GM has recently made changes to the software that calculates the oil life in some of their vehicles. These changes were made due to the fact that the change intervals were found to be too long and engine wear and damage was causing higher than normal warranty claims. Something you may wish to consider when deciding on the oil change interval you are going to follow.