One of the most common questions we get is "how often should I change the oil"? Well, our simple answer is every 5,000 miles. Yes, even if your vehicle gets synthetic oil. While we do know that with todays high quality oils, whether synthetic, conventional or blended, the chemical properties will hold up longer than 5,000 miles, but, it still gets "dirty". Dirty with crankcase gases and general engine particulates created by normal wear and tear, which the oil filter helps capture, which means the filter also gets dirty and can begin to create an oil flow issue. Yep, that's as bad as it sounds. And yep, this applies to hybrid vehicles and diesel engines too.
So that's our logic to oil change intervals for the sake of changing oil... Now, here's the equally important reason we suggest the 5,000 mile service interval. "INSPECTIONS". If you check your vehicles maintenance manual, at each service interval, it's going to have a checklist of inspections that need to be done besides whatever fluids and filters and other tune up items that may be due for replacement based on time and mileage. It's these inspections that help keep you and others on the road safe.
Clean fluids and filters and spark plugs are great for the engine, but what about components that are critical for driver and passenger safety? Components such as Tires, Alignment, Brakes, Steering and Suspension Components, Windshield Wipers and Washer Fluid, Belts, Hoses and Lights. These are just a few things that can degrade quickly, especially if they're in their last 25% of life span, because the last 25% won't last as long as the first 25%. And those are just a very few things that need to be monitored and inspected during routine services.
One last equally important service we perform at each service, and most manufacturers recommend or require this service each service interval too, is a Test Drive. We know that as your vehicle ages, no matter how gentle or hard you drive, some creaks and squeaks and moans and groans will develop. Some noises are just characteristic of the vehicle and don't require service, and some noises are critical to stay safe. Things like tire tread separation and wheel bearing wear can make noises that can't be heard over the stereo but can cause major damage or even an accident.
While no vehicle brand, whether foreign or domestic, diesel or gasoline, hybrid or electric, has a perfect track record of zero break-downs, we can all be safer on the road and engines can operate at peak efficiency (which means lower overall fuel costs) when your vehicle is serviced every 5,000 miles or if one those pesky dashboard warning lights appear or if you feel like something just isn't right.
My next blog will focus on more specific maintenance items and help decipher what different manufacturers specify as "condition based" services and "A, B, C, 1, 2, 3" services used by Mercedes, BMW, Honda and Acura, as well as other manufacturers maintenance indicator meanings. And for our diesel vehicle customers, I'll describe the importance of keeping the DEF, Diesel Emissions Fluid, system serviced and full to prevent a no start situation.