Why Do Cars Need Oil Changes?

Most drivers are likely aware that regular oil changes are necessary to maintaining a healthy vehicle and keeping your car running at optimal levels. What is not always explained, however, is the purpose of the oil in the first place. So, if you have been asking, why do car engines need oil, then we are here to help you find the answer.

Why Do Cars Need Oil to Run?

The main role of engine oil is to lubricate the moving parts of your engine. Since there are so many intricate and fast-moving parts in an engine, engine oil is necessary to keep components running smoothly by reducing friction and wear. Sometimes, the only thing preventing engine parts from grinding together is a thin layer of engine lubricant!

Yet, even a well-lubricated engine generates a lot of heat. That’s why another critical function of engine oil is to draw heat away from the various components, helping to keep the engine running at optimal temperatures. Without engine oil, your engine would quickly seize and may overheat. So, when your car engine needs oil to function properly, it is important to take regular oil changes seriously.

But why do car engines need oil in the first place? Oil serves a few purposes when it comes to car engines, and one of those purposes is acting as a lubricant for the engine parts. If you have ever felt oil in your hands, you will understand why it works well as a lubricant to keep parts running smoothly.

The oil also cleans your car engine. As the oil is filtered through, it keeps debris from building up inside the engine and keeps it clean, transporting the debris to the oil filter.

Also important is the oil’s ability to keep the engine cool. There is a lot of heat that builds up inside your car’s engine, and the oil is able to help keep it at reasonable temperatures.

When oil gets old, it loses its effectiveness, meaning that your car will require an oil change. Should the car not receive the care it needs, debris can build up in the old oil and engine, meaning that you could be in for expensive engine cleaning. So now that we have answered the question, why do car engines need oil.

why do cars need oil changes

Additional Benefits of Engine Oil

Motor oil technology has come a long way since its first use in the late 1800s. While the main function of engine oil was — and still is — to lubricate and cool engine parts, most modern engine oils offer many additional benefits that improve engine performance.

Another important function of motor oil is that it helps keep your engine clean by processing dirt and other contaminants through an oil filter. Additionally, engine oil can include a variety of useful chemical compounds — known as additives — that can boost oil performance. A few additives commonly found in engine oil include:

  • Corrosion inhibitors to protect against rust formation
  • Dispersants to remove and prevent sludge from building up
  • Viscosity index improvers to boost the effectiveness of the oil in extreme temperatures

Engine oil does a lot to keep your engine running smoothly. The exact benefits for your vehicle will largely depend on the type of oil it uses — from conventional to high-mileage to synthetic blend and full synthetic engine oil. While full synthetic engine oil typically costs slightly more, it tends to be the best-performing for most vehicles.

No matter which type of oil your car uses, it’s a vital component that keeps the engine operating efficiently. Plus, regularly changing your oil is a great way to save on gas by helping to keep engine parts well-coated and protected from wear.

So how often should you change your oil?

It depends on many factors, including the way you drive, how old your engine is, and where you live. Many mechanics will recommend you change your oil every 3,000 miles. Automobile manufacturers might suggest a longer interval, such as 5,000 miles. If you use special synthetic oil, you might be able to go 10,000 miles between oil changes!

For most people, an oil change every 5,000 miles would probably be just fine. You might want to consider changing your oil more often, though, if you tend to drive at high speeds. That’s also true if you have an older engine or live in an area that is particularly hot, cold, or dusty.

5 Reasons You Should Change Your Oil Regularly

You should change your oil regularly to ensure your vehicle runs smoothly and keeps it out of the shop. If you are a first-time car owner, don’t look away! Below you’ll find out why regular oil changes are so important.

Engine Performance

There’s nothing quite like fresh oil to reach peak engine performance. Engines have a variety of parts that move at high speeds. These moving parts tend to cause friction, which produces heat. If you change your oil regularly your car will have proper lubrication that reduces the amount of heat produced by the engine.

Oil changes also get rid of dirt and debris, which makes your engine run slower. If your engine heats up because of old oil, it will wear down and eventually stop working properly.

Reduce Harmful Emissions

Are you a fan of the environment? It’s easy being “green” when you keep up with your oil changes. Having lapses in oil changes can lead to dirty, old oil, which produces noxious engine emissions. If you change your oil regularly, it will make your car more environmentally friendly since fresh oil won’t burn like old oil. Add oil changes to your calendar and do your part to keep our skies clean.

Gas Mileage

Regular oil changes are good for your engine – and your wallet! Better gas mileage is one of the least-known benefits of regular oil changes. Besides purchasing a hybrid or an electric car, oil changes are an easy way to save on gas.

Friction caused by old oil can slow down your engine, making your visits to the pump more frequent. If your engine stays lubricated, your car will be able to go farther than you think!

Extended Engine Life

Wouldn’t we all love to have a car that lasts for years without failure? To achieve this goal, it’s important to know that purchasing a high-quality car, like the ones we offer in our lot, is only half of the effort to make the most out your vehicle. 

A debris-free engine, made possible by regular oil changes, can make a difference in the life of your car. Who knows? That family car may last through more generations than you think.

Catch Up On Other Maintenance

Oil changes present a great opportunity to keep your car running without issues. When taking your car in for an oil change, feel free to ask the mechanic to take a quick look at the overall health of your engine. While under the hood, they may find something that needs to be replaced or fixed. This will allow you to avoid expensive repairs and further damage to your car.

Bonus Tip

There are multiple kinds of car oils out there. If you have a luxury car, you may need a different kind of oil from someone who owns a high-mileage mode. Before an oil change, don’t forget to ask what is the best oil for your car based on mileage and model. This can give your car an extra boost and increase the engine’s performance.