When contaminants are present, they can stick to parts of the engine and act as abrasives, causing it to perform less efficiently. The oil lubricates poorly and is less effective at cushioning the moving parts of the engine, which can increase friction. Ultimately, an engine that is not properly lubricated will wear prematurely and could seize up due to the friction and heat.
Regular oil changes, as noted in the owner's manual, improve efficiency, fuel economy and dependability, and protect the engine. Automotive technicians agree. In a study of ASE-certified technicians, 84 percent of technicians surveyed said that not getting a regular oil change could cause the most problems for a vehicle, compared to other maintenance issues. The Council reminds those who change their own oil to dispose of it properly.
The council recommends that drivers follow the owner's manual for viscosity and grade of motor oil. Viscosity, which refers to the thickness or thinness of the oil, changes with temperature. Oil thins when heated and thickens when cooled, so, having the proper viscosity grade for the climate and temperatures of your geographic location is very important. Oil that does not flow well in cold temperatures will leave parts of the engine with no protection, while oil that becomes too fluid at high temperatures will also leave parts of the engine unprotected.
The Car Care Council is the source of information for the "Be Car Care Aware" consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. For more information, visit www.carcare.org