Having your vehicle’s oil changed regularly is an important part of regular maintenance. An oil change service is one of the easiest and most effective ways to protect the engine.
Keeping up with the suggested routine for oil changes will keep the engine running at its best, often for a couple hundred thousand miles. As your vehicle runs, clean oil keeps sensitive components sufficiently lubricated, absorbs grime and other harmful contaminants from the engine, and prevents the engine from overheating because of friction.
So, by having the old, dirty oil and oil filter periodically removed from the vehicle and replaced with fresh, clean oil and a new oil filter, you’ll promote a longer lifespan for your vehicle’s engine.
Trust the Local Experts for Professional Oil Change Service
Hogan & Sons Tire and Auto provides auto repair services in Virginia and the surrounding areas. An oil change from the experts at Hogan & Sons Tire and Auto means more than just changing your vehicle’s oil filter. It’s a comprehensive auto repair service performed by our qualified mechanics and includes the following:
- Changing the oil filter
- Checking the air filter
- Inspecting and topping off all fluids under the hood
- Oiling all fittings
- Examining the engine for punctures
- Checking all belts and hoses
- Examining tire inflation levels
- Checking the entire undercarriage
Virginia Oil Change and Oil Filter Replacements
What an oil change does: Your car depends on new oil and filters to keep it running efficiently. Oil needs to be kept full, clean from fragments, and not burnt. Oil lubricates essential engine components. Moving parts create rubbing, which wears the parts down over time. Oil, or synthetic lube, could lessen the damage from the heat caused by those moving components. By having a regular oil change service schedule, you’ll positively increase the engine’s efficiency and expand its life.
When to change/check the oil:
- The check oil light is illuminated.
- The check engine light is on.
- The oil is dirty.
- Pinging, knocking, or various other sounds are coming from the engine.
- You can’t remember the last time you changed the oil.
- The oil level is below the full line on the oil dipstick.
- Oil is leaking from around the oil filter or drain plug.
Changing the oil every 3,000–5,000 miles is recommended to stop engine wear and keep the oil free from particles unless it’s running full-synthetic oil, which can last longer. For your car’s particular service intervals, always consult your owner’s guide or ask one of our Hogan & Sons Tire and Auto professionals.
Why Following the Suggested Oil Change Interval Is Critical
As time passes, engine oil gradually loses its effectiveness because of the accumulation of dirt and debris. It’s a natural process as the oil does its job of protecting the engine. But if the oil isn’t changed regularly, this sludge buildup can cause further damage and even engine failure.
And without routine oil change service, you may not be aware that your vehicle’s oil level is too low. When this occurs, internal metal components can heat up rapidly as the engine attempts to run without enough lubrication. The components will start to rub against each other, generating excessive heat and causing premature wear, which can quickly result in the engine completely locking up.
So it’s essential to regularly replace engine oil and the oil filter to maintain optimal performance. Regular oil changes are far more cost-effective than replacing the entire engine, which can cost thousands of dollars, and sometimes even more than the car is worth. So it makes much better sense to protect your vehicle through a regular oil change service.
After every oil change, we’ll put a sticker on the inside of the windshield to remind you when it’s time for the next one. We aim to help maintain the optimal performance of your vehicle’s engine and keep your vehicle running at its best.
The Importance of Also Changing the Oil Filter During Each Oil Change
As the name implies, as the oil cycles through the engine, the oil filter filters out deposits and other harmful particles from the oil, preventing them from causing further damage. However, just as the oil isn’t everlasting, the oil filter isn’t either. Eventually, the filter can become blocked or exceptionally filthy.
After an oil change, the new, clean oil works immediately to remove any old deposits, metal flakes, and contaminants from the engine’s oil passageways. As it cycles through the engine thousands of times, the oil starts to oxidize, and engine reactions create even more particles for the oil to collect, gradually increasing the stress on the oil filter.
Keep in mind that many passageways within the engine are incredibly minuscule, with some being only 0.002”, which is just barely thicker than the average human hair. So when an oil filter becomes overly clogged, the dirty particles in the oil can start to back up inside the engine, leading to costly problems.
To ensure the engine is adequately protected from the buildup of harmful metal deposits and other particulates, it’s crucial to have the oil filter replaced with a fresh, new one each time the oil is changed.
A Breakdown of the Different Types of Motor Oil
Not all motor oils are the same. There are several different oil types, all with different viscosity (thickness) levels, engine protection levels, and costs. Here’s a breakdown of the four main motor oil types:
Conventional motor oil, referred to as “standard oil,” is made from petroleum-based sources. It was the first motor oil type created after the invention of the internal combustion engine. Not as refined as other types of oil, conventional motor oil combines crude mineral oil with various additives, such as viscosity modifiers, detergents, and corrosion inhibitors, to help protect engine parts from damaging corrosion and wear.
Some of the benefits of conventional oil include its relatively low cost compared to other types while still having the ability to protect engine parts from wear and tear. But it also has some drawbacks, such as its tendency to break down faster in high temperatures and the fact that it can get dirtier much quicker, leaving deposits on engine parts and leading to reduced performance.
Entirely manufactured in a factory or lab, full-synthetic motor oil is made by synthesizing a base oil from various organic compounds, then adding different additives to improve its performance significantly. It’s specifically designed to maximize engine performance and protect engine components from wear far better than conventional oil. Due to the highly controlled manufacturing process, this oil is a much cleaner and more consistent option.
Full-synthetic oil is more expensive than regular conventional oil but lasts longer. So instead of every 3,000 miles, an oil change is usually recommended every 5,000 miles for full-synthetic oil.
Synthetic Blend Oil
Synthetic blend motor oil is a hybrid combination of full-synthetic and conventional oil. It’s created by blending base oils from these two oil types to offer increased lubrication and engine protection. Synthetic blend motor oil is designed to provide better protection than conventional oil against engine wear and reduce oil consumption and volatility.
While a synthetic blend will offer better performance than conventional oil, it won’t be as much as what full-synthetic oil will provide. Also, the cost of a synthetic blend oil change is higher than that for conventional oil but not as much as for full-synthetic oil. But synthetic blend oil typically outlasts conventional oil, so an oil change won’t be needed as often.
This oil offers a good compromise for those who want a good level of engine protection without spending money on full synthetic oil.
High-mileage motor oil is specifically designed for vehicles that have over 75,000 miles. It’s formulated to meet the needs of these engines that have seen a lot of wear and tear. This oil contains various additives to help reduce engine wear and extend the engine’s life, including viscosity modifiers, seal conditioners, detergents, and anti-wear agents.
This extra protection is essential for high-mileage vehicles more prone to oil burn-off and corrosion, which can lead to increased engine wear and a shortened lifespan.
Determining Which Oil Type Is Best for Your Vehicle’s Oil Change
All motor oils possess varying viscosities, additives, and engine protection levels. For instance, full synthetic oil is the most effective in terms of engine protection and performance while also having a longer lifespan than conventional oil. But understanding all these differences between oil types can quickly get confusing.
To find the right oil for your vehicle, the first thing to do is to check the owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s minimum oil specs. But there are a couple of other important factors to consider when determining which type of motor oil might be best, including:
- Vehicle type: A midsize sedan requires a different engine oil type than a high-performance sports car.
- Vehicle age and total mileage: For newer vehicles, either a full-synthetic or synthetic blend motor oil is recommended. And for vehicles with over 75,000 miles, high-mileage motor oil is recommended to protect the older engine adequately.
- Your driving habits: How often you deal with stop-and-go traffic or tow heavy loads will determine if your vehicle needs higher-quality oil to prevent excessive engine wear and tear.
During hotter summer temperatures, like we sometimes experience here in Northern Virginia, the rate at which oil flows and its ability to lubricate engine components can be significantly impacted. So it’s not unusual for a different oil to be used during the summer months.
At your next oil change service, our expert mechanics here at Hogan & Sons can recommend the best oil type for your vehicle and driving habits.
Hogan & Sons Tire and Auto Provides Oil Change Services in Virginia
Hogan & Sons Tire and Auto provides top-quality oil changes and oil filter replacements in Virginia and the surrounding areas at unbeatable prices. Schedule an appointment for your next oil change today! Hogan & Sons Tire and Auto is proud to be your local auto repair service and oil change expert in Virginia and the surrounding areas.
Our ASE-certified mechanics can perform the routine oil change service your vehicle needs and professionally handle any other repair and maintenance needs you may have.
Are you searching for deals for your next oil change? Check out our current promotions for the latest specials to help you save even more!
Frequently Asked Questions
It seems like a simple question. How often does the oil in your engine need to be replaced? For decades, the answer to that question was three months or three thousand miles, whichever came first. But that advice harkens back to a time when engine and lubrication technology were different than what is in most vehicles today. The 3K mile oil change is no longer a standard.
Instead, automakers each have a set of recommendations for the intervals between all of the routine maintenance procedures required to keep your car in suitable shape. Everything from inspection of your wiper blades, steering and suspension components, and drive axles to rotating your tires, replacing your brake pads, and replacing all of the fluids and filters. Those recommendations are published in your vehicle’s maintenance guide.
When it comes to oil and filter changes, most manufacturers recommend somewhere between 5K and 7.5K miles. Some stretch out the interval to 10K miles or more, depending on the type of oil they use. The specific guidelines differ from one vehicle to the next.
But that is not the entire story. Manufacturers actually post two sets of recommendations: one for “normal” driving conditions, and one for “severe” or “special operating conditions”. Most drivers believe their driving habits and environments fall into the normal category. However, a look at a typical list of “special” circumstances reveals a different picture:
- Driving on dirt or dusty roads.
- Towing, hauling heavy loads, driving with a car-top carrier.
- Repeated trips of less than five miles in cold temperatures.
- Extensive idling and driving for long distances under 50 MPH.
- Hot weather stop-and-go traffic.
By these standards, many (if not most) drivers operate their vehicles under “special” circumstances. The key is whether or not you drive this way most of the time. But rush hour traffic, short trips to take the kids to school or athletic events, and getting the groceries are all examples of driving in such conditions.
And when you do drive in these conditions, the manufacturer recommends more frequent oil changes. Sometimes twice as often. Suddenly, a 10K mile interval becomes 5K miles. Check with your vehicle maintenance guide and focus on the schedule that is right for your car.
That depends on which light you are referring to. Many newer vehicles have a dashboard icon that lights up to let you know that it is time for an oil change service. Once you get your oil changed, the light is reset and will come on next time it is due. Other modern vehicles alert you through the computer display. If that light (or message) appears, schedule an oil and filter change.
On the other hand, all vehicles are equipped with an oil warning light. This light tells drivers that the oil level or pressure has fallen below acceptable levels. You can check your vehicle owner’s manual to discern what each light or message looks like for your car. If you see an oil warning light, check the oil level with the dipstick on your engine. If it is low, add the proper type and weight oil so that the level is up to the “full” line on the dipstick. If the situation repeats itself frequently, schedule for service.
Part of routine vehicle maintenance includes periodic checks of the oil level. Every other fuel fill-up should be adequate. That way, you will not allow your engine to run low on oil. Also, if you have your oil changed regularly, it will remain in good shape and protect your engine.
But if you neglect oil changes, your oil will break down and eventually turn to sludge. There should not be any warning signs that you need an oil change (other than a maintenance reminder on your dashboard or calendar). Signs of neglect might include a ticking sound coming from your engine. As problems worsen, you might hear a deeper knocking sound. A burnt oil smell and smoke from the exhaust can also be signs set off by old, dirty oil. If you notice any of these, you have gone beyond the useful life of your oil.
Some people believe that their oil is bad simply because it appears dark black on the dipstick. While dirty oil certainly can look black in color, so can perfectly good oil. Soot that occurs naturally as a byproduct of combustion will stain your oil black, but it does not harm your engine. True, fresh oil is a translucent honey color, but it does not take too long to turn black. The only way to know if your oil is still good is to submit a sample for chemical testing… or to change it when recommended.
There are also some drivers who believe that they can make their oil last longer by swapping out the filter more frequently. Fresh filters will not hurt anything (except, maybe, your wallet), but they will not extend the service life of your oil. The oil filter is designed to trap particulates – tiny metal shavings, dirt, and other debris – and keep your oil clean. But that is not the major reason that oil needs to be replaced. Thermal breakdown and mechanical shearing from the forces of all the moving parts in your engine degrade the oil over time. Detergents and other oil additives are also used up and no longer perform as they should as they age. A new filter will not rejuvenate old oil.
This answer is similar to the question of how often to change your oil. Use the type and weight oil recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.
Motor oil comes in basically three different forms: conventional, synthetic, and semi-synthetic (or synthetic blend). Conventional oil is derived and distilled from crude oil. It is what many people consider “regular” oil. Because of its origins, conventional oil is made of molecules that are inconsistent in size and shape. And it contains impurities that occur naturally. It is relatively inexpensive, but it does not last as long as other forms.
Synthetic oil is created artificially in a lab. It begins its life as a highly refined base oil stock from which engineers carefully craft a product that is composed of molecules that are extremely uniform. To that, special high-performance additives are included. Synthetic motor oil (such as industry leading Mobil 1 full synthetic motor oil) is known for its ability to lubricate, clean, and protect an engine better than conventional oil. But the technology comes with a higher price tag.
Semi-synthetic oil, or synthetic blend, is a combination of both conventional and synthetic oils.It is a kind of middle ground to bring down the cost while providing some of the benefits of synthetic oil.
What is right for your car? Well, if the manufacturer included synthetic oil from the factory, you must stick with synthetic. If they used conventional, you have an option whether to use conventional or synthetic oil.
Motor oil also comes in different “weights” or “grades”. The weight describes the oil’s viscosity, how thick the oil is, and is expressed in a number: 5, 10, 20, 30, and so on. The higher the number, the thicker the oil (higher viscosity). The lower the number, the thinner. If your car calls for a multi-weight oil of, say, 5W-20 – where 5 is the viscosity when cold (“W” is for Winter) and 20 the viscosity when hot – you should use that grade. Your owner’s manual might allow for a slight variation from that number, but you need to stick with their recommendation so that the oil will lubricate as it should.
The simple answer is yes. Years ago, many motorists believed that once you switched to synthetic, you could never go back. That is not true. Oil manufacturers create synthetic blends that mix the two. They are not incompatible. If you choose to use synthetic oil and decide later that you want to return to conventional oil, you are free to do so.
Another common misconception is that synthetic oil will ruin your engine and cause leaks. This is borne out of a condition with some older engines where, over time, oil caked up and filled gaps in areas where engine seals had begun to leak. If an old engine has leaks that were stopped up by oil residue, the advanced cleaning power of synthetic oil can clean out the gaps and “cause” (reveal) a leak. But synthetic oil will not create a leak where one did not already exist.
When you come in for an oil change service, someone will collect information about your vehicle, the year, make, model, and more. This ensures that the correct oil and filter are used for your car, truck, or SUV. A technician will access the underside of your engine, either by way of a pit over which you drive, or by putting your car up on a hoist.
The old oil is drained from the oil pan underneath your vehicle and collected for recycling. The oil filter is removed and replaced with a new one and the engine is refilled with fresh oil in the type and viscosity recommended by the manufacturer.
As part of your oil change and Courtesy Check, nearly two dozen components and systems are inspected. Any tires that are low on air will be filled, and any fluids that are low will be topped off. If any other service items need attention, you will be notified. Sometimes, minor repairs and procedures can be handled at the time of your oil change visit.