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An oil change is one of the most important when it comes to the routine maintenance of your car. While you can easily do it on your own, for convenience, some people opt to bring it to their local mechanic, leaving the job to the pros who definitely know better.
If you plan to bring your vehicle to a local repair shop, you are most probably curious about how long does an oil change take? I have the answer in the rest of this post. Plus, I will also share with you why it is necessary to change oil and how the process happens. This way, you will have a better understanding of why oil is considered as the lifeblood of the engine.
Why is Regular Oil Change Important?
You should not think of an oil change as an unnecessary expense. It is important in more ways than one, such as through the following:
Lubricates Car: One of the main reasons why you have to change oil is because it provides the lubrication that is needed by the engine. This leads to a reduction of friction, which can offer other benefits, such as reduction of heat.
Prevents Overheating: If you frequently experience overheating, chances are, you have a problem with your oil and it needs to be changed. With the new oil, engine components will be cooled.
Removes Impurities: Sludge and dirt can be removed with the help of a clean oil. This will minimize the possibility of having sludge that can speed up corrosion and other problems that can make the engine prone to wear.
Prevents Excessive Engine Noise: When there is too much friction as a result of not having the right amount of oil, the engine can be noisier than the usual, which will have a negative impact in your driving experience.
Improves Gas Mileage: If you want to enjoy significant fuel savings in the long run, regular oil change is necessary. It lessens the effort needed by the engine to work, and hence, it makes it consume lesser gas.
How Long Does an Oil Change Take?
If we are leaving in a perfect world, I would say that an oil change will take less than 20 minutes, especially if it is done by someone who can be considered as an expert in the job. However, since we are not in a perfect world, on average, an oil change would take 30 to 60 minutes. This will depend on a number of factors, such as when was the last time you had your oil changed.
Oil change is not as easy as draining the oil and refilling it with a new one. More of this process will be discussed later on. Because of the other steps involved, such as replacing the filter and stripping oil drain bolt, it can take longer.
How Much Does an Oil Change Cost?
It is impossible for me to provide you with an accurate answer when it comes to the costs that are involved in having an oil change. Different factors will come into play, such as the extent of the job that needs to be done and the rate of the mechanic who will be doing the work.
If you want to save money, the best thing that you can do is to change the oil on your own. You just have to purchase new oil and filters. You do not have to pay anyone to do it for you. Luckily, the steps involved are quite straightforward and nothing that a novice won’t be able to handle.
On average, an oil change would cost anywhere from $25 to $50. The more expensive your vehicle is, the higher is the cost of the oil change. The type of the filter and the oil to be used as a replacement will also be important considerations as it will have an impact on the price.
How Often Should You Change your Oil?
There is no universal answer to this question. There are different things that will have an impact on when an oil change is needed. The car that you drive, the driving environment, and the way you drive, among other things, need to be evaluated.
The first thing that you have to do is to consult with the manual from the car’s manufacturer to know the frequency of an oil change. For older vehicles, changing oil is recommended after every 3,000 miles. For the newer engines, on the other hand, changing oil can be done after 5,000 to 7,500 miles. If you are using full-synthetic motor oil, you can change oil after 15,000 miles.
The driving conditions and environment will also be critical considerations when it comes to the right time for an oil change. If you drive under normal conditions, change oil is recommended after 5,000 miles.
On the other hand, in the case of extreme driving environment and conditions, you will have to change oil after 3,000 miles. What exactly qualifies as a severe driving condition? Here are some of these situations:
- When you make frequent short trips, usually ten miles in cold environments and five miles when it is hot
- When you are driving in a city with stop-and-go traffic
- When you have a turbo-charged or diesel engine
- When your vehicle is used for towing heavy loads
- When you drive in a road that is dusty or bumpy
Oil Change Process
Changing oil is pretty much a straightforward process, which is why you can complete it even on your own. Generally speaking, here is the process of an oil change:
- Lift the car using a hydraulic jack or a car ramp. This is important so that you can have easy access to the oil canister. See to it that the car is parked on an even surface to prioritize your safety.
- Now that your car is lifted, open the oil drain plug to get started. You will need a screw to do this.
- Allow the oil to drain once the plug is opened. Be sure to place a drain pan below to catch the oil drippings. The duration of this step will depend on the amount of oil that your car has.
- Now that the oil is drained, the next thing that needs to be done is to change the filters. The filters are important because they get rid of the impurities and contaminants that are potentially damaging to the engine.
- Replace the oil that you have earlier drained. Be sure to choose the type of oil that is right for your car.
Oil Change Tips
Aside from the things that have been mentioned above, below are other important tips that you have to know about oil change:
When you change the oil, you should also take time to rotate the tires of the car. This may be a tedious task, but this is necessary to make them last longer and to have a safer driving experience.
As you put the drain plug or filter in its place, avoid overtightening. Doing the latter will make it harder for you to have them removed.
Choose the right type of oil for your vehicle. Using the wrong oil can pose serious risks, especially for the engine.
Do not choose an oil solely on the basis of price. Quality should be the most important consideration. Nonetheless, this does not automatically mean that the most expensive oil is the best choice.
Do not use an oil additive. Some people might recommend them, but stay away from such products as they can do more harm than good to your vehicle.
Check the level of oil regularly. You can easily do this with a dipstick. By doing this, you will see if the oil is beyond the recommended level and if there is already a need to have it changed.
After replacing the oil, sealing the gasket is an important part of the process. This will prevent the possibility of leaking.
So, how long does an oil change take? As discussed above, it can take roughly 20 minutes to one hour. It will be quicker if it is done by the pros who have the expertise on the job. Nonetheless, as shown in the process earlier, it is pretty much a straightforward task, and hence, this is something that you can also do on your own.