Why getting a regular oil change is so important

Getting an oil change might seem like a task that can be put off, but it's actually vital to the function of your vehicle. Here are some reasons why it's important to get your oil changed regularly.

Did you know that a healthy car makes for a safer and less stressful driving experience? One of the best ways to make sure that your car - and specifically your engine - stays healthy is by getting a regular oil change.

Just as the human body needs to stay hydrated to maintain a healthy state, vehicles need oil to function properly. Much like blood in the body, oil helps to move debris and waste out while keeping essential parts lubricated, making regular oil changes a significant player in the overall function and longevity of a vehicle.

Here's why you should prioritize getting regular oil changes:

Oil deteriorates

If oil is good for your car, why does it need to be changed? This is a good question to ask, and to know the answer to.

While oil plays many important roles in a vehicle's engine, it will become thicker and degrade over time. What once was a high-quality oil will eventually lose its additives and take on debris-like qualities. Old oil thickens into a harmful sludge that can damage your engine if left sitting for too long. It's for this reason that oil change lights and other signs of oil-degrading shouldn't be ignored.

The owner's manual says so

What constitutes a "regular" oil change? Should you get your oil changed annually? Semiannually? Or just when things start to sound funny?

The main rule of thumb is to get an oil change every three months, or every 3,000 miles that's put on your vehicle - whichever comes first. However, that rule is just a starting point, since the need for an oil change can vary by car. It's for this reason that Consumer Reports suggests checking your vehicle's owner's manual and paying attention to any alerts your car gives for an oil change. Depending on how often and how hard your vehicle drives, you may need more or less frequent oil changes. Keep this in mind if, for example, you plan on going on a road trip in the near future.

Old oil causes problems

There are several things that can - and will - happen to your vehicle if you neglect to change the oil at regular intervals. Perhaps one of the worst things that can happen is a lack of lubrication in the engine. As the mechanisms in your engine move constantly and quickly, heat can build up and increase engine wear. The presence of clean and newer oil provides the needed lubrication (and decrease in friction) that your engine needs.

Another reason to change your oil is that it keeps the engine clean. The cleaner your engine is over time, the longer it will last. Dirt particles build up when oil changes are neglected, along with the dreaded sludge that occurs when oil becomes old and overused. Keeping your engine free of dirt and sludge will increase its longevity.

Regular oil changes save money

Out of all the different types of vehicle maintenance, oil changes tend to be one of the least costly. Getting your oil changed doesn't take too much time, either, which is also a big bonus. Perhaps the best reason to get regular oil changes, however, is that it saves you money in both the short and long term. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, getting regular oil changes with the manual-recommended grade of motor oil can increase your gas mileage by 1 to 2 percent. Although this may seem small, larger savings come in the form of a healthy car that lasts longer and has fewer problems over time when regular oil changes occur.

If you feel like your car could use a little more attention when it comes to regular oil changes, consider the benefits and schedule an oil change at your local provider today.