Here at All Tune & Lube, we have changed thousands of vehicle owners’ oil and have seen almost everything under the hood. Every driver comes in with their own thoughts on getting their oil changed, and those beliefs usually come from what family members have told them or what they’ve read on the internet. However, there is a lot of misinformation out there that can lead to major problems with your car, truck, or SUV. We’ve compiled a list of common myths about oil changes that we often hear at our auto repair shop in Cedar Rapids. We hope this helps you understand the best way to take care of your vehicle.
OIL CHANGE MYTH #1
CHANGE YOUR OIL EVERY 3,000 MILES OR 3 MONTHS
This is the most common myth you will hear about oil changes, and many people still follow it to a tee. However, oils and engines have changed a lot over the decades. When this saying came into popularity, this guideline was the rule for those engines at that time.
Nowadays, the type of oil dictates the oil change intervals. For example, synthetic blends can only go about 3,000 miles before needing to be changed. These blends don’t have the additives that clean the engine or stabilize the oil like full synthetic oil, which can last about 6,000 miles. Premium brands like Schaeffer’s Oil have additives as well as magnetic particles called mollies that further help lubricate the engine by clinging to metals. The mollies build up layers, creating a nearly frictionless environment in your engine over time.
Full synthetic oil also provides the best cold start protection for vehicles in cold weather environments like we have in Iowa, because it doesn’t allow for a cold start. It clings to the metal, which keeps components lubricated all of the time, regardless of temperature.
So, what do you do about the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended oil change interval? While today’s vehicles can go a lot longer between oil changes, it doesn’t mean you should go that long. Check your owner’s manual to see what the manufacturer recommends for an oil change interval, and then look at the oil you’re using. Whichever interval is shorter will provide the best results. For example, some brand-new vehicles using full synthetic oils—including the popular Toyota line—recommend 10,000-mile oil change intervals. However, based on our expertise and what we see day after day, we recommend you get your oil changed every 5,000-6,000 miles, which aligns with Schaeffer’s Oil guidelines. This also provides a good time to have a mechanic check your vehicle over to maintain fluid levels, brakes, tires, and other critical systems.
OIL CHANGE MYTH #2
IF YOU USE SYNTHETIC OIL, YOU HAVE TO KEEP USING IT
There is a myth floating around that if you use synthetic oil, you can’t go back to using conventional motor oil. This is not the case. While full synthetic oil is an option, a lot of synthetic oil is actually a blend of traditional and synthetic oils. If you are using the correct weight of oil called for by the vehicle manufacturer, such as 5W-30, your vehicle will be fine. So, if you’re in a pinch, you can choose a traditional oil or a synthetic blend oil, even if you have used full synthetic oil in the past. Keep in mind that you may notice less efficient gas mileage as a result of downgrading your oil.
OIL CHANGE MYTH #3
CHANGING YOUR OWN OIL IS CHEAPER
While that may be true for some people, it won’t be true for everyone. If you don’t know what you are doing, you could make an error that makes a big mess or wastes oil. Also, consider the time it takes to do something new and different. Time is money, and changing your own oil can take a considerable amount of time just to prepare and clean up. And speaking of cleanup, do you have a place to take your expired oil? It must be disposed of properly.
The benefits of getting an oil change at a shop like All Tune & Lube are numerous. You get a quick oil change that saves you a ton of time and keeps your hands and garage floor clean. Plus, we will perform a full vehicle inspection by a qualified mechanic, all while you can look online for your next road trip destination.
OIL CHANGE MYTH #4
“TOPPING IT OFF” WITH OIL IS AN ACCEPTABLE SUBSTITUTE FOR THE COMPLETE OIL, LUBE, AND FILTER SERVICE
This may be one of the most dangerous oil change misconceptions because if your vehicle is losing oil, there’s a reason. Plus, oil gets dirty and reduces the efficiency of your engine.
If your oil is low, it’s either leaking or the engine is consuming oil. In either case, a mechanic can help determine the cause. So, yes, top off your oil if your levels are low, but your car still needs regular oil changes. Here’s why: Oil changes remove oil that has become dirty with debris and dirt and replace it with clean oil. They also replace the oil filter. The clean oil and oil filter helps your engine run faster, smoother, and cooler.
The simple fact remains that oil changes provide one of the most cost-effective ways to keep your car or truck running well for all the trips you want to take. Protect your investment through regular oil changes. You won’t regret it.
OIL CHANGE MYTH #5
YOU HAVE TO GET YOUR OIL CHANGED AT THE DEALERSHIP
Many people think that their new vehicle has to be maintained at the dealership in order to keep the warranty intact. However, the Magnuson Moss Act states that you do not have to have your oil changes—or any recommended maintenance—performed by the dealer. As long as you follow the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule, your vehicle warranty will remain valid. So, if you aren’t fond of the service you receive at the dealership, consider bringing your vehicle to All Tune & Lube. We’ll take care of your vehicle per manufacturer recommendations, using premium oil to keep your car or truck running efficiently.
So, consider these five oil change myths busted, Cedar Rapids! What questions do you have about oil changes or car care? Ask us! Our goal is to serve you the best we can, so give us a call with any of your vehicle maintenance or auto repair questions. We have car care answers and solutions.