Oil & Filters

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Regular Oil & Filter Changes

Periodic oil and filter changes keep your engine clean on the inside. A car's motor oil becomes contaminated by substances such as dust, metallic shavings, condensation, and even antifreeze. Plus, additive packages contained in some motor oils break down over time and also act as contaminants.

As contaminants are whipped into the oil, sludge forms which adheres to engine parts, causing an engine to perform less efficiently. Left long enough, sludge can cause permanent engine damage.

An oil filter's job is to sift out contaminants, allowing the oil to flow through the engine without restriction. When the oil filter becomes full or "clogged," the oil and contaminants will flow around the filter. This "bypassing" is a safety mechanism. As far as your engine is concerned, dirty oil is better than none at all! However, when bypassing occurs, contaminants enter the engine. This reduces fuel economy, increases emissions and can potentially lead to engine failure. Engine breakdowns also create safety hazards on the highway.

How often should oil and oil filters be changed? The best advice is to follow the guidelines provided in the vehicle owner's manual, but every 3,000 miles or 3 months is a good rule of thumb. Many car manufacturers today are recommending extended oil drain intervals for some drivers. However, if you regularly make short trips in your car, drive in stop-and-go traffic, idle for extended periods, drive in dusty or dirty air conditions, tow a trailer or live in a cold-weather region, you probably won't qualify. Read carefully your car manufacturer's instructions.