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How important is an oil change? In short, it is very important on modern vehicles. On modern vehicles, the tolerance of the way engine parts fit together is closer than it used to be. Almost all vehicles manufactured today utilize variable valve timing systems that have oil passages that are as small as the point in a ballpoint pen. As you can see in this picture, this is oil sludge. This is what happens when you don’t change the oil regularly and on time. As you can see, the oil has hardened and is covering up the bolts that hold this part on. Imagine what it does to the small passages that the timing system needs to operate.
This engine sludge will cause the timing chain to get loose which causes you to hear a rattling noise in morning at first start-up. This sludge can and will starve the key engine components of oil. This in turn will cause catastrophic engine failure way before it should. So, get your oil changed regularly. If you use a conventional oil, also known as the cheapest oil change, I recommend every 3 months or 3000 miles. If you use a high-quality full synthetic, you can push to 5 months or 5000 miles. The best quality of oil allows you to go 7 months or 7500 miles.
The other part I want to discuss is your battery. We all know about when your battery fails, it can leave you stranded. What I want to talk about is before it completely fails, it needs to be tested at least every time you change the oil. The main reason is a weak battery puts a lot of stress on the alternator, starter, and computer system. If you notice your vehicle starting slower, you should be able to hear it. Get it tested and replace it. I have a rental car fleet of 40 to 50 vehicles, and I have only replaced about 3 alternators and about 2 starters in 30 years. I keep the vehicles up to about 150,000 miles and I test the battery every 4 months and every other time it comes in for service. By doing this, I don’t have customers that need to be jumped off and alternators and starters don’t get over worked and damaged.
So, get that oil change and battery tested regularly. It is the cheapest repair you can do for your vehicle to last a long time. Come see us at White’s Automotive Center – we’re here to help and answer your auto repair questions.