Car maintenance diy 2: Oil facts to ensure smooth running of your vehicle

Lets talk about oil grades and types of oil for different cars.
Car diy 2: Know all about the right types of oils to use for the smooth running of your vehicle


In the last post, we talked about how to avoid burst tyres with our car doctor. 
This morning, I'm only here to ask a question:
"How long does your engine oil last in your engine and what determines when you change it"?
Do you calculate in distance or you calculate by calendar or you change when you have the extra cash on you even if it took a year to make that provision?

Using the right type of car oil will ;

1. Help you save costs
2. Prolong the life of your car 
3. Aid the smooth operation of your ca's engine.
4. Prevent scams by ignorant car mmechanicsor oil sellers
and 
5.  Avoid  incurring unnecessary repair expenses.

Below are 2 of  the responses by car users when asked about the oil usage and frequency of oil change in their vehicles;

"The last time I changed my car oil was sometime last year. It's very very dark now and watery. But I always try to top it up with one liter of oil whenever I noticed that it is short. The economy hasn't been too good"

‬" I think changing of car engine oil is based on a covered mileage. For me I change my car oil any time I travel to Lagos twice some times in a month I change my car oil three times"

How to know when to change oil and your car is  due for service

The fact that the oil is  short is a very bad sign. Oil are meant to lubricate the engine and can only do that for a given period of time considering the usage. If oil is very black, its not a very good sign. If its watery, it means it has lost viscosity (ability to lubricate) and once the oil is no longer lubricating the engine begins to wear and I bet you don't want to start saving for another engine!
Toping oil is another bad thing to do. You have a mineral oil that is worn and then you go ahead and add a new one to it, the chemical composition will not be the same and the result is often fatal.
You need to plan towards changing your engine oil. A keg of 4litres for a mineral oil is about 3,000 and the oil filter is about 1-2k if you drive a 1997 sienna. Changing your engine oil should cost about 6k and if you are scared your mechanic will charge you so much for just draining oil, you can go to a fuel station and they will do it for you for just 500naira (Change of oil and filter). I'm sure you don't want to know how much your engine cost! Its a v6 engine, 3.0. It won't be so much fun changing it o.
The economy is not as we would have desired it but being penny wise and pound foolish isn't a good mode of operation. Plan towards it, put 2k monthly aside for it and in 3months you have about enough to change the oil.
For less frequent mobile users, once in three months is enough to change oil. Why change oil 3times in a month,except  you work in a lubricant manufacturing firm?
The truth is that There is no standard to how often you change your oil, Some use timing, some use distance  coverage. Many times the manufacturer recommends you change your oil after about 4-5 thousand kilometres depending on your drive terrain. This manufacturer recommended service distance is also subject to you using the recommended oil grade.
If you drive more on the highway, you will service sooner than someone that drives within town but how do you factor in idling time?
Idling time is the time the engine is working but you are not moving like being in traffic or waiting for a friend while the engine is running. Some of us get stuck in the Lagos Ibadan traffic sometimes and spend 6 hours there meanwhile the odometer will still end up reading 130km despite the engine running for 6hours.
If you want to use odometer to do your servicing... I suggest you do three quarter of the recommended distance. Like doing it at 2,500 or there about. This requires a bit of record keeping as you have to always note down the last reading on the odometer so you can know when its time.
But don't get carried away, 2,500km is not a very far distance, I can cover that in two and half month driving within Ibadan traffic...
The other method is to use time. If you use mineral oil (the regular oil that is more common) its good you do your servicing 3-4times a year, depending on your route...
If you use synthetic oil, it might take a longer time for the engine to require a change. You can stretch it to twice a year as synthetic oils are designed to be more durable and can withstand higher engine temperature and stress...
The oil is not meant to only lubricate your engine, it also cleans it. So leaving your oil in it for too long is like putting your cloth in dirty water and expect it to come up clean. Leaving the oil for too long, the dirt in it will begin to form together and become what is called sludge. Sludge will not allow the engine to move freely and can end up damaging your engine. When you have kept your engine oil too long in the engine, ensure the engine is flushed well before you put in the new oil.
Your engine (depending on the size and design) has over 2,000 moving parts and the oil is the secret to their smooth movement. In buying your synthetic oil, don't just pick, still check the grade.
There are a lot of synthetic oil manufacturer these days...you can find good price.
And for  those who don't do so much of driving. Timing is not the best approach to changing your oil. You either sure the odometer or you open your hood more often and bring out the dipstick to check the colour of the oil. Once it becomes very black and the feel on your palm is not very oil...it's due for a replacement.
If your driving is just from Mokola to UCH and back or from Alausa to Agidingbi, timing might just be a waste of money. That distance is half a kilometer and it might take you six months or even more to hit a 2,500 kilometre mark.
So its better one uses odometer or check the oil quality by using the dipstick
Whatever you do try to find out your car engine type and the oil right for it, 20W40, 20W50 etc as Engine oils have different viscosities, grades and quality
Also use the right hydraulic oils...some can actually damage the clutch kits and the kits in the savo compartment...this controls the hydraulic system of the brakes...

Finally we have been able to conclude that changing of oil is dependent on
  • Distance coverage
  • Frequency of car use
  • Length of periods between two consecutive oil change


To check for oil levels, one should use Odometer or dip stick for accurate measurement.

That's the essence actually. Giving good advice so you don't take wrong decisions

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