Much knowledge and experience is required to understand the mechanics behind how your car works, and to be honest, many people in the newer generations are not car savvy. However, everyone should have a good understanding of motor oil standards, and how often you should change your oil. Learning about motor oil standards is incredibly important as motor oil performs many functions, such as helping your engine start easily, lubricating engine parts, reducing friction, protecting against rust and corrosion, keep engine parts clean, minimize combustion chamber deposits, cooling engine parts, and much more.
All drivers should become familiar with the process of checking your oil levels using a dipstick. A dipstick is a tool used to measure the quantity of liquid in a space that is inaccessible. By inserting and removing the dipstick, and then checking to see how much of the stick came into contact with the oil, shows how much oil is in your engine. Typically, the dipstick has measuring units engraved on the stick, showing which level is too much oil, and which level is too little oil. Using too little oil in your engine can lead to excessively high oil temperatures, since heat from the engine is more concentrated. Comparatively, putting too much oil into the engine of your car can cause parts of the crankshaft to dip into the oil, which churns air into the oil and causes foaming, as well as fluctuations in oil pressure.
Another important understanding involves knowing which of the motor oil standards is right for the engine of your car. There are many different types of motor oil, varying in viscosity grades for all types of engines and performance. Some viscosity grades, including 0, 5, 10, 15 and 25, are suffixed with the letter W, designating for “winter” or cold-start (lower-temperature) viscosity. Many people mistakenly think that the “W” stands for “weight.” Reading your owners manual to see which viscosity grade, and performance level is the best motor oil for your car will ensure you are filling your engine with the proper oil.
Finally, a very important process to understand when learning about motor oil, is knowing how often you need to change your oil. For the best results in the protection and performance of your engine, most motor oil manufacturers recommend changing your motor oil every 3-5 thousand miles, regardless of what type of driving you do. Not changing your motor oil for long periods of time leads to the degrading of the oil, and a build-up of sludge in the crankcase, causing wear and poor performance with the engine.
If you do not feel comfortable changing your motor oil, many professional auto repair, car detailing, and gas station locations will can do it for you. Having a professional change your oil is also helpful to the environment. It takes roughly 42 gallons of crude oil to produce 2.5 quarts of new, high-quality lubricating oil, but recycling just one gallon of used oil produces the same amount. If motor oil is dumped improperly, it can form a scum on the top of bodies of water that stops sunlight and oxygen from entering the water. This can kill fish, frogs, plants and other forms of life.