5 Common Mistakes You Might Be Making When You Change Your Engine Oil

Published by on . Updated on 18 May 2020

1200px Motor Oil Refill With Funnel car(Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Engine oil is essential to the smooth running of your car—it lubricates engine parts and keeps them cool and clean so that the car doesn't overheat.

Without good oil, your engine may suffer damage, or even break down, forcing you to spend up to $2,000 for repairs! That's why it's so important to change your oil properly. But many drivers make mistakes with their motor oil change that cost them unnecessarily and put their vehicle at risk. Could you be making some of these mistakes?

1. Changing the Oil Too Often

Car 773360 1920 speedometer(Photo Credit: Pixabay)

A common myth believed by drivers is that motor oil needs to be changed every 3,000 miles (4,824km). In older days, this was a good guideline, but nowadays, changing oil that often is a waste of money. With developments in oil technology improving the motor oil we use, oil can last up to as long as 10,000 miles (16,903km) before needing a change! To be safe, you can use your vehicle manufacturer's recommendation as a guideline—you'll probably find that your oil lasts much longer than you think. Changing your oil less often can save you up to $50 each time—in the long run, that's hundreds of dollars!

2. Using Oil Additives

Chemicals In Flasks car oil(Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

There are many oil additives out there that claim to improve your engine performance or provide other additional benefits. Most of the time, this is not true! The oil that you purchase from your manufacturer already has all the chemicals you need, developed to give you the best performance. Many external additives, at best, will do nothing and be a waste of money.

At worst, they might dilute your oil and damage its performance, maybe even causing motor problems with extended use. If you're not satisfied with your oil's normal performance, you might want to get additives tested and approved by your manufacturers, who understand the chemical balance of their oil, rather than take risks with other additives which may not be compatible.

3. Changing Oil Only Partially

1200px Oil Change Oil Pan 2005 Gmc Suv 1 car(Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Oil isn't like fuel—it not only needs topping up, it needs to be completely changed. Oil doesn't just lubricate your engine parts, but also keep them clean by carrying dirt away from them. But over time, the oil fills up with dirt, and leaving old oil in the engine for too long will cause the dirt to transfer back to your engine parts. This creates additional friction and damages performance. So when you change your oil, make sure you don't only put in new oil, but remove the old oil as well!

4. Using the Wrong Oil

2876119720 21982e61ab B jerry cans car oil(Photo Credit: Flickr)

It's important to pick the right motor oil for your vehicle in terms of thickness and weight. Not all motor oils will perform the same—it depends on your engine age and the kind of oil you've been using on it so far. For example, if you've been using single-weight oil for most of your vehicle's life, switching to multi-weight oil might be bad for your engine, because it's less thick than single-weight, and will not lubricate your engine the same way. It's best to consult a professional before making sudden oil changes, and try not to switch oil types without reason.

5. Not Changing the Oil Filter

Filter 2337802 1920 oil(Photo Credit: Pixabay)

Oil filters collect dirt from your motor oil, which means that they also need to be changed regularly for a smoothly running engine. Not changing your oil filter leads to dirty oil which deposits dirt on your engine parts, increasing friction and making it more likely to overheat.

There are several opinions on how often you should change your oil filter—some believe it should be every time you change your oil, while others say every other time. Since oil filters are not expensive, it might be safer to change them more often, but it's up to you, as long as you do change them on a regular basis.

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Read more: How to Check the Engine Oil in Your Car

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