You can’t run your car without oil as it keeps the parts of your engine working smoothly. You need to change the oil regularly to make sure it is clean and there is enough in the engine to keep it maintained and working properly. Don’t wait until the engine light comes on because, if you do, you can do significant damage to your vehicle.
Oil changes are one of the least intrusive maintenance items. It doesn’t take long and it is also inexpensive compared to some of the other maintenance or repair work you may need. But you do need to set some time aside to do it three to four times a year.
The Necessity of Changing Your Car’s Oil
Skip to the good stuff:
The oil used in your vehicle is a lubricant. Every engine creates heat, friction, and stress when the parts are in action. Oil makes sure these parts are moving well, smoothly, and as efficiently as possible.
Making sure your car has clean oil means you get peak fuel efficiency, less engine heat, and better filtration of any dirt and particles that shouldn’t be there. If an engine doesn’t have to work as hard then it will be more efficient and cost-effective.
This is especially important when it comes to older vehicles as their yearly maintenance costs are more than cars under five years old. To reduce these costs, make sure you do regular oil changes.
When oil is in a vehicle for too long, it gets used, broken down, dirty, and less efficient which can easily lead to engine damage. Parts can become warped if there are less oil and lubrication than needed as the heat increases and more friction occurs. You need more frequent oil changes in older cars or if you do a lot of city driving or live in an area with extreme temperatures.
No matter how old your vehicle is, changing the oil regularly is critical as it staves off significant damage to the engine and other car parts. This saves you both time and money. While you have to set time aside to do it, changing the oil yourself adds up to a lot of savings for you in the long run.
Length of Oil Change
Some factors affect the length of time needed between oil changes. If its an average job, it should take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour. Here are some things that may affect the length of time needed:
1. Are you doing it yourself or is a professional doing it?
An oil change by a shop will be much quicker than doing it on your own but you are bound by their timing and business hours. If you go at a busy time of day, you may be there longer than you would if you did the job yourself at your own place. If they get held up working on another car, that could hold you up as well. Try to find a time when the shop is less busy or maybe go to one that specializes in oil changes to reduce the wait time.
Going to a shop that specializes in oil changes or if you have your own expertise makes the oil change faster. If the job is being done by someone who does it multiple times a day, they will be much more efficient than those who don’t. Even if you know what you are doing, changing the oil three to four times a year is not as much experience as doing it multiple times a day or even an hour in some shops. Experts are faster so if its speed you want then the professionals are the way to go.
2. Don’t go to a major dealership or mechanic.
Go to a place that specializes in oil changes. Some regular garages or dealerships put your oil change as a low priority over high priced repairs and full-service work. Oil change specialists get you in and out. Make an appointment even at these places so you don’t get bumped by a drop-in job for something more time consuming that can set back your schedule.
3. Size matters
The bigger the car, the longer the oil change is going to take. Draining the oil takes longer with a big car than a small one so the wait is a bit longer. Ford says that their small or average size car takes approximately 15 minutes to drain but a larger pickup truck can take up to 30 minutes.
4. Make and model of your vehicle.
A few make access to the oil drain and filter difficult. Your owner’s manual can help you figure out if your vehicle parts are difficult to access. You may need more specialized tools to unscrew the filter or the plug. A second issue is the aerodynamics of the vehicle. If you have panels underneath for better airflow, they may impede access to the oil pan and have to be moved.
5. Oil Thickness
If you leave the oil in your car too long, it adds time to the actual oil change itself. This is especially true with the draining process. Oil gets thicker over time as it collects dirt and particles. The thicker it is, the longer it takes to drain.
So how long does an oil change take? Not long. Oil changes aren’t complex for the most part and should take up to an hour at most. That said, if you want to reduce the time spent on this chore then choose a good shop and the best person for the job. If you’re doing it yourself, make sure you have the right tools. There are various options to make this job go faster but no matter how you choose to do it, get it done to keep your vehicle in top-notch running order.