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Should You Change Oil When It’s Dirty?

How Dirty Is Too Dirty?

Do you know when to change your car’s motor oil? Some people say to change the oil whenever it gets dirty, but how dirty is too dirty? West Automotive Group in El Cajon, California has the answers to all of your motor oil-related questions.

Why Does Motor Oil Get Dirty?

If you want to know when to change your car’s oil, you first have to understand what it does for your vehicle. Motor oil lubricates engine parts and prevents build ups that harm performance. It collects any contaminants so that they don’t accumulate on important parts. The dirt, dust, and grime that enter the engine collect in the motor oil, changing it from it’s golden color to a gross dark brown or black. Some people would tell you that dirty oil that has changed colors needs to be changed, but that might not be the case for all vehicles.

Is Dirty Oil Bad?

There’s a difference between motor oil that’s dirty and motor oil that’s at the end of its life. In some vehicles, motor oil quickly catches all the contaminants and changes to a dark color. That simply means it’s doing its job! The oil will still have plenty of life to give with its additives designed to continue flowing and lubricating. It’s only when it stops doing its job that you need to get it changed. Generally, motor oil should last a few months or a few thousand miles before it wears out. You don’t need to panic if you check your oil after a recent service and find that it has already darkened in color.

When to Change It

Everyone drives differently. You won’t cover the same distance in the same amount of time as another person in the same vehicle. That’s why it can be hard to pinpoint an exact maintenance schedule for oil changes. A good place to start is with the owner’s manual. That’s where you’ll find the manufacturer’s recommended oil change interval. Using this and your technician’s recommended service time frame, you’ll have a strong maintenance schedule to prevent running on bad engine oil!

If you need help with an oil change, contact the experts at West Automotive Group in El Cajon, California.

Written by West Automotive Group