Rick's Free Auto Repair Advice

Why check your oil level?

Why check your oil level?

All engines, even new engines burn some amount of motor oil. That’s why carmakers recommend checking your oil on a regular basis and topping off the oil when it’s about 1/2 quart below the full mark on the dipstick.

3 reasons why is checking your oil level so important?

1) Driving when you’re low on oil degrades the remaining oil

The oil life monitor in your vehicle assumes you’ve used the recommended oil AND that you’ve checked the oil on a regular basis and topped off the oil level when needed. If you don’t and you run your engine when it’s a quart low, you decrease the life of the remaining oil by at least 25%.

Driving when you’re low on oil cases the remaining oil to overheat and oxidize. The viscosity improvers shear, the remaining anti-wear, detergent, and suspension additives degrade at a much faster rate resulting in more sludge buildup

2) Driving when you’re low on oil throws off the oil life monitoring system

Let’s say your oil life monitor is calibrated to alert you when you’re due for an oil change at 6,000 miles. But at around 2,000 miles, the engine has burned or leaked a full quart. The remaining oil, which should have been good for another 4,000 miles is now degraded and is only good for a maximum of 3,000 miles. By the time the oil change reminder comes up. you’re already way overdue.

3) Driving when you’re low on oil causes extra engine wear

Motor oil has three jobs: 1) Pressurize the clearances between moving parts to keep them separated, 2) Lubricate moving parts, and 3) Carry away the heat of friction.

If you drive when you’re low on oil, the remaining oil runs hotter and can’t carry away the heat of friction as well. That causes extra engine wear.

See this post on how to check your oil and how to read a dipstick

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Posted on by Rick Muscoplat

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