Consider an oil change just like a check up for your car. You take care of your body by making sure that you get the appropriate amount of food, sleep and other things, but you also go into the doctor for check ups when need be. This routine maintenance is exactly like that for your vehicle. During this regular “check up”, you will not only be getting the lubricants changed out but also, typically having other basic elements checked and taken care of. Getting an oil change is important because it prevents a number of issues from occurring in your vehicle. On the very basic note, it keeps the lubricant from becoming gummy with debris, contaminants and other things that may cause it to not flow freely. When that happens, there are many issues with performance and fuel economy. Maintaining your car on a frequent basis keeps your engine running as smoothly as it can, but it also helps your car to make the most of the gasoline that it uses. On a more serious note, if you are regularly letting your lubricants go low, or even just not changing them regularly, wear on your engine and other parts can cause very expensive repairs to be needed. Whenever you get gas, it’s a good idea to go ahead and check the dipstick in your car, as well. There are a few things you will be checking for when you do this. First, the level will let you know if it is time for an oil change. If it is low, it’s important to get it to a qualified technician fairly quickly, even if you do tend to top it off. This is because getting rid of the old lubricant is necessary to keep things contaminant free. Older vehicles may go through it much quicker than newer ones, so pay attention to this as you go along. Another thing to look for is the color of the lubricant itself. Whenever you check the dipstick, it should be a light color. When lubricants become older, they begin to get darker and thicker. This means that the fluids have cycled through so much debris that it has collected quite a bit and when this happens, it loses quite a bit of its effectiveness and should be replaced. Thicker lubricant cannot do what it needs to, and may in fact deposit more debris than it carries away. You should also note the way that your car runs. If it does seem to be overheating quite a bit, you may have a problem with your lubricants that needs to be checked out. If whenever you check the dipstick it almost always seems low, even when you’ve just gotten things taken care of, you might have a leak somewhere that needs to be addressed. Some vehicles have warning lights that will tell you when there is a need for a tune up, some may not, and paying attention to these cues can help you to know when it is time to take it in.
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