The price of an oil change can be influenced by several factors, including the vehicle's make, the grade of oil chosen, and locale-specific aspects like geographical location, labor expenses, and additional circumstances. On average, conventional oil changes are generally the most cost-effective type of oil change. For detailed pricing, estimates, and specific figures, we recommend reaching out to your local auto shop professionals.
Motor oil serves as the essential lubricant for your vehicle's engine. Therefore, keeping it well-maintained is essential for the health and longevity of your car. With state-of-the-art digital diagnostics and recent technological advancements, regular vehicle maintenance, including oil changes, has become a more streamlined process.
Most modern cars come with a built-in dashboard warning light that alerts you when it needs an oil change. Some vehicles even notify the driver when their oil levels drop. Regular oil maintenance not only ensures optimal engine performance but also allows fluid levels and various other components of your engine to be checked before they can escalate into bigger, costly major repairs or replacements.
Signs Your Car is Overdue for an Oil Change
- Consistent and noticeable decreases in fuel efficiency, resulting in fewer miles per gallon
- Dark exhaust fumes and emissions, which can stem from contaminated oil or internal engine problems
- Deteriorating oil conditions, such as a dark, murky, or milky appearance
- Low or insufficient oil levels
- An overheating engine
- Frequent engine stalling
- Strong odors, notably of burning oil
- Your oil pressure light coming on
Understanding the Difference Between Oil Change and Oil Change Service
While they might sound similar, a basic oil change and an oil change service are not identical services. Many auto service centers differentiate the two as separate packages: an oil change usually consists of a single service with a straightforward process, whereas an oil change service includes a comprehensive safety assessment. The latter includes inspecting other components, such as the oil filter, cabin filters, brake pads, tires, and other fluids. Given the in-depth evaluations and attention to detail, oil service packages typically come at a higher price point than most basic oil changes.
If you're in a rush, a quick oil change might be suitable for the time being. However, for long-term vehicle health, a comprehensive oil service package is generally more advisable.
Types of Oil Changes
There are multiple categories of engine oils, such as traditional, synthetic, and more. The oil's viscosity determines its flow rate in the engine, and the oil change frequency depends on the kind of oil your car requires. At TOS Auto Repair, our professionals can help you choose the right oil for your vehicle:
- Standard motor or engine oil
- More affordable than synthetic oils but often requires more changes
- Produced from crude oil with additives to enhance its lubrication properties
- Ideal for light-duty vehicles or newer vehicles with low mileage and simple engine designs
Full Synthetic Oil
- Engineered with specific chemical properties
- Provides consistent viscosity in varying temperatures and conditions
- Offers better defense against engine residue or harmful, unwanted deposits
- Lasts longer than traditional oils
- Although pricier, it can offer enhanced engine durability, efficiency, and performance
Synthetic Blend Oil
- Combination of conventional and synthetic oils
- Provides better efficiency than traditional oil but not as effective as pure synthetics
- Generally less costly than full synthetic oils
- Suitable for vehicles carrying moderate loads or operating at moderately high temperatures
- Tailored for vehicles exceeding 75,000 miles
- Includes additives to minimize oil evaporation, enhance seal conditions, and prevent leaks
- Aids in preserving older engines and lengthening their use
Always refer to the vehicle owner's manual or seek advice from a reliable local mechanic to ensure you choose the right type of oil for your car.
Oil Filter Change
The first step is to locate and remove the old oil filter, which can be on either side of the engine. A mechanic will carefully remove the filter, using a containment tray or catch basin to collect any leaking oil.
Next, the mechanic will prepare the new filter. A thin layer of fresh oil will be applied to the filter's sealing ring to ensure a proper seal. The new filter will then be securely fitted.
Oil Temperature Sensor
The oil temperature sensor, an advanced electronic component embedded in your car's engine, is responsible for monitoring the engine oil temperature. For vehicles that are equipped with an oil temperature gauge, this data should be displayed whenever your car is operational.
Excessively hot engine oil has the potential to cause significant damage to your vehicle and can even result in engine failure. Ensuring regular oil changes is crucial to prevent your vehicle's oil from overheating. While oil temperature sensors are designed for durability, their location within the high-temperature environment of the engine means they can degrade over time.
Here are some indicators that suggest your oil temperature sensor may require an inspection:
- Inaccurate oil temperature gauge readings: A sudden change from a cool to hot reading on your oil temperature gauge may indicate a malfunctioning oil temperature sensor. It typically takes a few minutes for engine oil to warm up after starting the vehicle, and this should be reflected on your oil temperature gauge.
- Elevated oil temperature: If the engine oil is excessively hot while the coolant temperature remains stable, this could be a sign of a problem with the oil temperature sensor. However, it is important to note that there are other possible causes of elevated oil temperature, such as low oil levels, a dirty oil filter, or a mechanical problem with the engine.
- Stationary oil temperature gauge: If the oil temperature gauge remains static, this could mean that the oil temperature sensor is defective or that the gauge itself is malfunctioning.
- Flashing oil pressure light: If the oil pressure light comes on while the vehicle's oil levels are normal, this is likely a problem with the oil temperature sensor. The oil temperature sensor can sometimes send a false signal to the engine computer, which can cause the oil pressure light to activate.
- Check engine light: The check engine light can come on for a variety of reasons, but it can also indicate a problem with the oil temperature sensor.
L.O.F.—Lube, Oil, Filter
L.O.F. is a common terminology in the automotive industry, often referring to an important service package that encompasses lube, oil, and filters. Though often overlooked, these services are vital to preserving your car engine's efficiency.
- Lube: Ensures the smooth operation of vehicle parts, reducing wear and tear.
- Oil: Old engine oil is removed and replaced with new oil to ensure proper lubrication and cooling of engine components.
- Filter: Replacing the old oil filter with a new one ensures that the new oil remains uncontaminated, further enhancing engine longevity.
We Specialize in Oil Changes for Japanese and Korean Cars
Frequently Asked Questions
The best type of oil for your car depends on a number of factors, including the make and model of your vehicle, the type of engine, and your driving habits. However, synthetic oils are generally considered to be the best type of oil for most modern cars. On average, synthetic oils last longer than their conventional oil counterparts and usually provide better protection against wear and tear.
How often you need to change your oil depends on several factors, including your vehicle's make and model, the type of oil used, and your driving habits. For vehicles using traditional engine oil, the general recommendation is to change your oil every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. If your vehicle uses synthetic oil, you may be able to go up to 7,500 to 10,000 miles or even longer between changes.
In spite of these general guidelines, it's important to consult your vehicle's manual. Manufacturers may have specific oil change intervals and recommendations for particular models. Additionally, factors specific to Northern California, such as climate, driving conditions (city versus highway driving), and local regulations, may also influence how often you should get your oil changed.