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How Regular Oil Change Services Save You Money in the Long Run

BY: Andrew Giorgi
Auto technician checking the engine oil in a car

No matter what kind of vehicle you own, staying on top of its care and maintenance should always be a top priority. Cars that are well taken care of and get all their scheduled maintenance on time will give you many more years of service and much less trouble on the road.

They will also be much less likely to break down or develop serious issues that can rack up mechanic bills and cost a fortune. Oil changes are perhaps the most important of all the vehicle maintenance procedures you should be doing regularly.

Regular oil changes are one of your best defenses against engine problems and costly mechanical problems. Staying on top of your oil changes can keep your vehicle running for many years and save you a lot of money in the long run. Knowing how your vehicle’s engine oil affects the whole car and why it is important to get your factory-scheduled oil changes will help you make them a key part of your car maintenance regimen.

Role of Engine Oil in Vehicle Health

Engine oil is the lifeblood of your vehicle and must always be fresh and clean. Oil lubricates all the moving parts inside the engine compartment and ensures that the pistons move freely and that the camshaft can spin without any friction. Without oil, these moving parts will scrape against one another and their casings, which can quickly wear them out. Old oil or an oil level that is too low can create problems that will turn into incredibly expensive auto repairs or total engine failure.

Oil not only lubricates the moving parts inside your engine, it also helps keep them cool. If friction is created inside the engine, it will quickly heat up to dangerous temperatures. Since these internal areas are not cooled by the vehicle’s dedicated cooling system, this could result in overheating and even warping, which will completely destroy the engine. Clean oil that is filled to the proper level will keep these temperatures down and ensure that everything runs smoothly for a long time.

Dangers of Prolonged Old Oil Use

The reason why regular oil changes are so important is the fact that old engine oil will eventually start to thicken up. When this happens, it will not lubricate the intended components and will instead make them sticky as the oil solidifies. This will create more friction in the engine and decrease efficiency since moving the parts will take more energy than it should. Getting regularly scheduled oil changes ensures that the oil in your engine is of the right consistency at all times.

As engine oil thickens, it can also cause blockages in the passageways that deliver oil to the components inside the engine. These blockages are incredibly difficult to remove, so even if you eventually replace the oil, these essential parts may not get the lubrication they need. Changing the oil on a regular basis keeps these passages clear and helps your engine distribute new oil to the right places without any issues or interruptions.

3 Benefits of Regular Oil Changes

Every vehicle will have its own oil change schedule in the owner’s manual. Abiding by this schedule is your best bet for keeping your engine in good condition for as long as possible. On top of the preventive benefits, regular oil changes can also improve efficiency and general engine performance, saving you a lot of money in the long run. Understanding some of these benefits is a great motivator for staying on top of your oil change services and keeping your engine in top shape.

1. Engine Longevity

Perhaps the biggest benefit of regular oil changes is increased engine longevity. Usually, the lifespan of a car is directly dependent on the lifespan of the engine. An engine failure is the most expensive issue you can run into as a car owner, and most of the time, it will be cheaper to simply replace the car. Getting your oil changed on a proper schedule prevents early engine failure and promotes longevity for all of the most critical components of the powertrain. The better you care for your engine, the longer it will last, and the less likely it will be that you will have to buy a new car.

2. Better Fuel Efficiency

Since old oil can gum up the moving parts inside your vehicle’s engine, a failure to get regular oil changes can drastically affect the car’s fuel efficiency. Any time it takes more energy to move a component in the engine, more fuel will have to be burned than usual. With gas prices always in flux, anything you can do to increase your vehicle’s fuel economy (aka gas mileage) will be a smart financial decision.

3. Avoidance of Costly Car Repairs

Regular oil changes should be a top priority if you want to save money on your vehicle expenses in the long run. Any kind of repair concerning your car’s engine and internal workings will be incredibly expensive. A full engine replacement will be even more costly, with an average engine replacement at the dealership costing upwards of $7,800. If you stay on top of your vehicle’s oil changes, you can prevent these pricey repairs and save yourself thousands of dollars.

Short-Term Cost vs. Long-Term Savings

One of the main reasons why people tend to skip oil changes is the short-term cost of taking their vehicle to the shop. Most oil changes cost between $35 and $75 each, depending on the type of oil your vehicle takes and the kind of car you have. It is recommended that most vehicles get an oil change every 3,000 miles or every six months. The economic benefit of getting regular oil changes is incredibly apparent when you compare $150 per year to a repair that can potentially cost thousands of dollars.

When Does Your Car Need an Oil Change?

Outside of the factory-recommended schedule for oil changes, there are some tell-tale signs that your vehicle will exhibit if your oil level is low or if the oil is starting to solidify. One of the most common signs that your car’s oil level is low is gray or blue smoke coming from the exhaust pipe.

This smoke comes from the engine heating up due to friction in the unlubricated pistons. As these engine components generate friction, they will burn off the small amount of excess oil, and you may notice smoke, a burned oil smell in the vehicle’s cabin, or an increase in engine noise.

A decrease in fuel efficiency is another sign that you should get your oil changed as soon as possible. Changing your oil could solve the issue if you notice that you have to head to the gas station more often than usual, combined with warning lights on the dashboard, including the check engine or oil light. The shop you take your vehicle to may suggest a thorough inspection before they change the oil to ensure that all the passages are free of clogs and that the new oil can get into the engine itself.

Choosing the Right Oil and Service

When getting your oil changed, it is essential that you find the right shop to do it and that they use the ideal oil type for your particular vehicle. Motor oil comes in a variety of different viscosities, which are represented by weight, such as 10W-30 or 10W-40. Heavier oil will hold its thickness as the vehicle heats up, which may or may not be right for your car.

Your owner’s manual should outline what weight your oil needs to be and whether you need synthetic or conventional oil. Most shops will have a database of vehicles that they will look at before they do an oil change.

You should also go to a shop with a good reputation for oil changes and takes all the proper steps when going through the procedure. For example, they should check the level of the oil before they change it as well as after, which will tell them whether or not the vehicle is burning oil at a high rate.

This way, you can catch any issues your vehicle might have before they become serious, expensive problems. While it may cost a little more to go to a reputable shop, it will be well worth knowing that your car is taken care of in the long run.

Endurance Coverage

If you are concerned about the price of oil changes and other maintenance, an extended warranty is a great option. Extended warranties, also called vehicle service contracts (VSCs), can include maintenance coverage on top of the repair coverage for which these plans are known. Not all VSC providers include maintenance coverage in their plans, but if you can find one that will help you pay for oil changes and other upkeep, it is a good investment in your used car’s future.

Endurance is the premier VSC provider in the United States and is known for complete coverage and top-notch customer service. Endurance’s Advantage plan comes with up to $3,500 in regular maintenance coverage, which includes vital services such as up to three oil and filter changes, engine diagnostic exams, tire rotations, and more.

On top of that, the Advantage plan is also Endurance’s most comprehensive coverage option and is as close as you can get to the bumper-to-bumper coverage that was provided by your vehicle’s manufacturer when it was new off the lot.

Keep Your Engine in Great Condition with Endurance

Staying on top of your car’s maintenance is the most financially responsible thing you can do as a vehicle owner. Prevention is a huge money saver, and regular oil changes will go a long way to keep your vehicle’s engine running smoothly for a long time.

If you want the best protection for your vehicle, Endurance has a plan for you. With coverage customizable options starting at just $99 per month, there is a plan for almost every car and every budget.

Whether you want base powertrain coverage for a high-mileage vehicle or protection for your high-end luxury car, Endurance will create a customized plan to give you confidence whenever you are behind the wheel. Plus, Endurance covers vehicles other providers won’t, such as Canadian Gray Market vehicles, cars with a rebuilt or salvage title, or vehicles used for commercial purposes like rideshare or delivery.

On top of this comprehensive coverage, every Endurance plan also comes with standard benefits like 24/7 roadside assistance, towing, trip interruption costs, and rental car reimbursement. For a small activation fee, Endurance customers also get access to the Elite benefits package, which adds on tire repair and replacement, key fob replacement, total loss coverage, and much more.

To learn which Endurance extended warranty plan may be right for you, call our customer service team at (800) 253-8203 to request a FREE quote. You can also shop online to preview your pricing and options now.

Read more about all things automotive, like DIY articles, mechanic tips, and more on the Endurance blog.

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