If $10,000 sounds like a lot to pay for an oil change it is, but that is the potential cost of replacing the engine in some new cars. That is also what could happen if you do not change your engine oil at the specified intervals.

The engine is one of the most stressed components in your automobile and is subjected to incredibly harsh operating conditions.  Engines operate in 3000 plus degree conditions, at speeds of up to 4000 revolutions per minute. All this while pulling over a ton and a half pounds of weight in all conditions from freezing snow and ice to scorching 90 degree summer days. When manufacturers say that regular oil changes are important,  that is a real fact and ignoring it can be expensive.


You would never think of running your car with no oil in the engine, but waiting too long between oil changes can be almost as bad. Engine oil not only lubricates, it also helps dissipate heat. When oil is new, it is a golden brownish color but  as time goes by,  dirt and contaminants accumulate. This can cause premature wear. Even the oil filter cannot catch all the dirt and combustion by products that are in the oil.  As heat starts to break down the oil it further loses its ability to lubricate and protect the engine. Water condensation and combustion gases  just add to the problem and also cause sludge to build up.

You should check your oil when you fill up with gas or ask the attendant if they can check it for you. When you check your oil, besides the oil level check the color. If the oil is black or thick looking you are probably ready for a change.


The standard interval for oil changes used to be every 3,000 miles or three months. This been modified in recent years by some manufacturers to  5,000 - 7,000 miles or more. The  new synthetic oils claim longer change intervals as well with some makers claiming that 10,000 miles is acceptable. If you read the fine print in your owners manual or on product labels, there is usually a precaution regarding "heavy use". This includes towing, driving in mountains, extreme cold or hot operating conditions and other factors. All of these conditions make more frequent oil changes necessary. Trucks used in heavy dust conditions or  diesel powered vehicles need extra attention and strict adherence to manufacturers specifications is mandatory. If you have any doubts about when to change your oil see your dealer or mechanic.  Err on the side of caution if you have doubts as frequent oil changes will never do harm.


Where is the best place to get oil change service done? The dealer you purchased your car from is a good choice, as are local garages and express oil change shops. There is also the option of doing this service yourself, but remember that you have to dispose of the old oil. Many shops and dealers also perform bumper to bumper checks along with the oil change service. This can include tires, hoses and belts, fluid levels and in some cases brakes and tire rotations. These are all valuable services  and most dealerships and independent garages will perform these checks when you have the oil changed.


If you already have a mechanic that does tune ups, tire work, engine repairs ,AC, brakes exhaust or any of the other services you may need then this is a good choice for your oil changes as well.


If you do not already have a repair shop, finding one  is a simple process and worth the effort. Visit a local shop and talk to the manager. He or she should be willing to discuss your needs, and any warranties that their shop offers on repair work. Look for a clean well-maintained shop as how they keep their shop is a good indicator of how they will treat your car.


Things to ask when you go for an oil change:

- Do they use the type and quality of oil the manufacturer recommends?

- Are the filters name brand filters or equivalent in quality to the major brands?

Best advice is to go to a reputable shop you can trust whenever you have your car serviced.


Making an appointment with a local garage is easy. An excellent shop in the Hastings , Minnesota area is AA AutoTechnicians Inc. This is a full service repair facility that can handle everything from regular maintenance to major repair work including brakes, tune ups, tires, and exhaust. They can also perform engine and transmission replacement on all makes, both domestic and foreign.

Visit their website at http://www.aaautotech.com/ or call (651) 437-2218. They are located at 1318 Frontage Road, Hastings MN.


Take care of your car and it will take good care of you!