auto mechanic pouring engine oil during an oil change service

It’s a fact of life: Motor oil breaks down over time, and you’ll occasionally need to replace this fluid as a result. The good news is that prioritizing oil changes can improve your vehicle’s performance, help you spend less on fuel, and even extend your engine’s life span.

Even so, you might not have spent much time thinking about why oil changes are necessary in the first place. With that in mind, let’s take a scientific look at the reasons why drivers sometimes need an oil change in Hays County, TX — and where to go when you need an oil change service.

Why Does Motor Oil Deteriorate?

There’s no single cause behind motor oil failure; instead, this fluid gradually degrades for several reasons. Some factors that can lower the effectiveness of your car’s oil include:

Extreme Temperatures

Modern engines aren’t just extremely powerful — they’re also extremely hot. That level of heat can cause motor oil (and conventional oil, in particular) to oxidize and break down, reducing its ability to do its various jobs. Hot weather can worsen this issue, and Hays County is certainly well-acquainted with intense heat during the summer months.

Of course, extreme cold can also make life harder for your motor oil. In these conditions, your oil will get significantly thicker (and may be temporarily unable to flow). Hays County doesn’t usually see severely cold weather, but it’s wise to get oil formulated with this weather in mind if you plan to drive elsewhere during the winter months.

Foreign Contaminants

When motor oil gets dirty, it won’t be able to function as intended. Unfortunately, there are many different contaminants your oil will have to contend with:

  • Airborne dirt and dust can get into your engine from malfunctioning air cleaners, crankcase ventilation systems, and some oil fill caps.
  • Tiny metal particles are often created by standard engine wear.
  • Larger metal particles can arise from wear caused by dust and dirt.
  • Sludge and other combustion byproducts may also affect your engine’s inner workings.

Since some oil contaminants can directly cause the formation of others, this situation will only worsen over time. A clean oil filter can help, but these filters will eventually get clogged. At that point, your oil will have no line of defense against foreign materials.

Internal Pressure

The intense pressure created by an engine while it operates can spell trouble for the oil film responsible for lubricating your engine’s moving parts. Movement inside your engine can agitate your oil, trapping air and causing bubble formation.

Since air can be compressed, your oil film will be less effective at preventing contact between moving parts if it contains bubbles. Meanwhile, the oxygen inside these bubbles will accelerate the oil oxidation process.

Oil Additives: A Closer Look

These days, no motor oil is sold “as-is.” Instead, just about any type of oil you buy today comes with carefully chosen additives — that is, chemicals specifically designed to help your oil overcome the problems it deals with daily. Some types of additives commonly found in motor oil include:

  • Corrosion/rust inhibitors
  • Dispersants
  • Detergents
  • Oxidation inhibitors
  • Antifoaming agents
  • Viscosity index improvers
  • Extreme pressure additives

engine oil pouring out of a bottleAlthough additives can go a long way toward enhancing the longevity and performance of your motor oil, these components aren’t exactly free of limitations. Your oil’s additives will ultimately have to handle heat, pressure, and other intense conditions; just like your oil, the additives will eventually break down because of those factors. Thus, even the best additives on the market can’t eliminate your need for an oil change service.

Finding Scientifically Advanced Motor Oil

While many different types of motor oil are available for purchase today, some of these products are more advanced than others when it comes to lubrication, engine protection, and longevity. Here are a few oil options you should think about before your next oil change appointment arrives:

Conventional Oil

Conventional oil is the most common oil type out there, primarily due to its low pricing. This oil type begins life as a naturally occurring form of crude mineral oil, but it isn’t quite as simple as you might think. Instead, it’s partially refined to enhance its viscosity and protective qualities.

Still, the popularity of conventional oil doesn’t have anything to do with its performance. Conventional oil can’t protect engines as effectively as synthetic options can, making this a poor choice for people with severe driving habits and those who drive older vehicles. Beyond that, conventional oil has a much shorter life span than synthetic oil.

Full Synthetic Oil

Though it provides the same basic functionality as conventional oil, full synthetic oil exists in a league of its own. Unlike conventional oil, full synthetic oil goes through a much more demanding manufacturing process and is formulated to meet demanding performance standards. As a result, it can protect engines more effectively than any other oil type.

In addition, full synthetic oil has an extremely long life span. While this oil’s advantages come with a higher price tag, you won’t need to schedule synthetic oil changes nearly as often as you would with conventional oil.

Synthetic Blend Oil

Sometimes, Hays County drivers can find it hard to choose between conventional or full synthetic oil. If that’s the case for you, you might want to look into synthetic blend oil — as its name implies, this is a mixture of the two leading oil types.

Since it contains a decent amount of full synthetic oil, synthetic blend oil does a much better job of protecting engines than conventional oil can on its own. At the same time, this product costs less than full synthetic oil and offers a service life that falls somewhere between the life spans of conventional and full synthetic oil.

High-Mileage Oil

How long has your vehicle been on the road in and around Hays County? Switching to high-mileage oil may be a good idea if your car has been around for a while. This oil type is on par with full synthetic oil in terms of performance, but it’s made especially for vehicles driven for at least 75,000 miles.

High-mileage oil is different from other oil types due to the anti-corrosion agents, seal conditioners, cleansers, and viscosity modifiers it contains. Because of that, it can handle corrosion, oil burn-off, and other problems commonly seen in older vehicles with ease.

Schedule An Oil Change Service

How To Schedule Oil Changes in Hays County

Now that you’ve found an advanced oil type that fits your needs, you’re ready to take the next step by creating an oil change schedule. Though there’s quite a bit of advice out there about standard oil change scheduling, most drivers shouldn’t follow these tips to the letter. Instead, you’ll want to create a schedule that accounts for your car’s specific needs.

The best place to start when building an oil change schedule is your car’s manual, which should contain recommendations on when to get an oil change service. Additionally, your oil type of choice can help determine when you’ll need changes:

  • If your car uses conventional oil, it will likely need oil changes every 3,000 miles.
  • Synthetic blend oil can last considerably longer than that — 5,000 miles or so.
  • Finally, full synthetic oil can be changed every 5,000-7,000 miles.

This, too, is just a broad starting point for your oil change schedule — if you drive an older vehicle or have severe driving habits, you’ll probably need oil changes more often than you’d expect. Between that and the hot summer weather seen in Hays County, most local drivers should wait no longer than 3,000 miles or three months between oil changes.

Get the Best Oil Change in Hays County, TX

An oil change service certainly isn’t as complex as other forms of auto maintenance and repair, but you’ll need to do more than choose a sophisticated oil type to guarantee that this service goes smoothly. Instead, you should only get oil changes from an auto shop you can genuinely trust. However, due to the level of competition in the industry today, selecting a single business to work on your vehicle is more challenging than ever before.

When you’re overdue for an oil change in Hays County, TX, make a point of working with shops that provide:

mechanic pouring engine oil into funnel during a service

ASE-Certified Mechanics

No matter how elaborate or straightforward a car repair or maintenance job is, it must be handled by qualified professionals. If the wrong people take care of this work for you, they could end up accidentally causing an oil leak or overlooking problems that a more professional technician would have noticed.

To avoid these issues, try to find an auto shop in Hays County that hires ASE-certified mechanics. Since these technicians are more qualified than anyone else in the industry, they can easily work on anything from oil changes to in-depth repairs.

Additional Car Repair and Maintenance Services

If your car only needs an oil change right now, you’re probably not too concerned about what other services your auto shop can provide. But since there’s no way of predicting when your car will need emergency repair or maintenance work next, it’s wise to find a shop that can do it all — if you do, you’ll know where to go in a worst-case scenario.

Some services your shop of choice should be capable of providing include:

Valuable Auto Service Coupons

The average oil change shouldn’t break the bank, but this service does come at a cost. As a result, it’s easy to see why Hays County drivers want to keep these expenses as low as possible.

While you might be tempted to choose whatever shop in the area advertises the lowest oil change rates, that’s not usually a wise decision. After all, cutthroat pricing doesn’t usually indicate industry-best workmanship. Instead, your best move is to look for an auto repair shop that offers reasonably priced oil changes and additional saving opportunities in the form of online coupons.

Locations Around the Hays County Area

Your oil change should be as convenient as possible, and that means you shouldn’t have to drive out of your way to take care of this service. While some auto shops maintain a single location, the best local shops make life easier for their customers by also offering locations in Buda, Kyle, and San Marcos, TX.

To get all these benefits and more during your next synthetic oil change, contact the team at Reliable Automotive! For the past decade, we’ve been Hays County’s most trusted shop for oil changes and all other types of auto maintenance and repair work.

Getting started is as simple as scheduling your appointment online today!

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