There are many things you want to know as a car owner to make sure you are prepared to keep it running as it should. Proper maintenance is important, as is knowing how to spot the signs of possible troubles early. One of the many things you should be familiar with when it comes to the inner workings of your car is the oil. This article will be very helpful when it comes to learning how to care for your car's motor oil correctly.
Know the importance of motor oil to your car
The first thing you want to understand is why motor oil plays a crucial part of keeping your car running well. The oil serves as lubrication for your car's motor. The motor consists of a lot of moving parts with many of them rubbing up against one another. When you have metal rubbing on metal it is not a good thing. This is why you need that lubrication to ensure that the metal parts move together smoothly and without causing dangerous friction. Along with preventing that friction, the oil also helps prevent the build up of sludge in the motor.
Make sure you have the right amount of oil in the car
There is a very simple way to make sure you have the right amount of oil in your car. You want to park the car on level ground and turn the car off after it has been warmed up a bit. Pull the oil dip stick out and wipe it off all the way with a paper towel. Very carefully put the dipstick all the way back in, trying not to scrape the sides.
Pull it back out and read where the oil comes to on the stick. You want to see that the oil reads in the middle. If it's low, then put a funnel in the fill hole and add the appropriate amount of motor oil. Check the level one last time then put the lid on securely.
Don't put too much oil in the car or it can cause air pockets which leads to less oil to keep parts cool. It creates a foam that can sticks, preventing the oil from draining in the pan the way it should and can ultimately cause bad damage to the motor.
Make sure the motor oil is clean
When you are checking the level of motor oil by following the above procedure, you are also going to want to look at the condition of the motor oil on the dip stick. It should be a clear brown color, similar to that of a watered-down honey. You don't want it to be cloudy or to look dark or burnt. If the oil is anything other than clear-brown looking then you want to have your oil changed and may need to verify there aren't bigger issues going on if the oil looks very bad. It should also not smell burnt or have a grittiness to it you can test for by rubbing it with your fingers.
Maintain normal oil changes
As long as everything looks, feels and smells right when you check your motor oil levels, then you should be safe sticking with taking the car in for its scheduled oil changes. You'll know when the next time to take it in is by looking at the date and/or mileage written on the window sticker provided to you on your last change.
Things to keep in mind if you change the oil yourself
Should you decide to take on the task of changing the oil yourself, you want to make sure you change the oil filter at the same time. Changing the oil and not the filter will only lead to problems because you won't have a clean filter to run that fresh oil through.
Use the right oil weight
Understand that no one knows what motor oil weight you should be using more than the manufacturer of the vehicle, so you should follow the suggestion in your owner's manual.
Give your car just a moment to warm up
While it's true the newer cars of today don't need to be warmed up as long as older models, you still want to give your car just enough time to get the oil moving through the motor before you take off driving. This helps ensure everything is lubed up the way it should be before you force it to drive.
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