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Why do I need to change my oil?

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Updated 9 Oct 2019Lindsay Saunders
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Oil changes. They are one of the most common and most basic maintenance schedules for any vehicle.

But, and bear with us here, what if you didn’t bother?

What if you just kept topping the oil up when it needed it and just keep on driving?How bad could it be?

Here’s the thing. The oil in your car’s engine keeps things running smoothly.

Not only does it lubricate the engine it also helps keep it cool by carrying heat away.

As the oil circulates it lubricates the many components that all have to do their thing to make your car go.

Friction is no friend to engine parts, as we will see.

What does oil do?

As it goes about its business, the oil also helps cool the engine by drawing heat away.

Sadly, this doesn’t come without a cost.

As it goes on its merry way, the oil picks up dirt and teeny tiny bits of debris that the engine creates due to, you guessed it, friction - that is, good old wear and tear.

So, if you’d don’t change out the oil, it becomes dirtier and dirtier, rendering it less effective at lubricating and cleaning the engine.

Ever checked the dipstick and been greeted by a thick, black, sludge?

There’s your problem.

One of the more common signs that you’ve left an oil change too long is overheating because the oil’s just not able to do that part of its job thanks to the squillions of floaties it’s picked up.

A hot engine is less efficient and, overtime, can cause components to wear out and warp.

And that can be as expensive as it sounds.

Still not changed your oil?

The end is nigh . . . your engine will literally shut down and quite possibly seize up due to the lack of effective lubrication.

You now have a fairly unattractive anchor in your engine bay and the need for a new engine if you ever want to drive rather than push your car again.

Oil changes are just good sense

Oil changes are a basic for maintenance for the very good reason that oil is indeed your engine’s life blood.

It needs to be clean and free of debris to do its job and keep you on the road.

The good news is an oil change is simple, quick, painless and won’t cost an arm and a leg, especially compared to the horror show that can follow by not having it done.

It makes sense to follow your mechanic’s recommendations for when oil changes are due (they don’t put those little stickers with the dates and mileage on your windscreen just for a laugh) and don’t put off having it done when its due.

And checking your oil levels – as well as all your vehicle’s fluid levels – weekly is a simple and easy habit to get into and one that could save you plenty of money.

Don’t take any risks, get your car booked in for an oil change now with a local mechanic on AutoGuru!

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Written ByLindsay Saunders

Lindsay Saunders has been writing, editing and producing words and photos for more than three decades, starting back when he drove a 1971 VW Type 3 fastback.

Now he’s got a Hyundai I30 diesel, a 1999 LWB Hi-Ace (camper project) and wishes his wife’s EJ Holden station wagon was actually his.