Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Time For a Change, Oil Change That Is

Time For a Change, Oil Change That IsOil is an extremely complex fluid. Did you know that automotive engine oil contains well over 100 different elements and compounds? Whether synthetic or mineral, engine oil contains "base" oil. Additive packages are mixed in to that base oil produce the characteristics that auto manufacturers need.

Some additives increase the viscosity range of the oil, producing multi-viscosity oils like 5w-20, 0w-30, etc. Other additives reduce internal engine friction while still others clean up sludge and varnish. The additives and the base oils act in concert to keep your engine clean and well lubricated. If the oil in your car is left in too long it can begin to lose its ability to lubricate properly and excessive engine wear begins to occur. Engine oil is literally the life blood of your car.

How long is too long? It varies by type of engine, climate and usage of your vehicle. Turbochargers are cooled and lubricated with engine oil and turbos run very hot. This extra heat shortens the life of your oil. High revving performance engines put added strain on the oil and affect the oil's life. If you live in a hot climate your engine runs hotter and the oil does too, again shortening its life expectancy. If you tow with your vehicle or drive a lot in stop and go traffic, your oil is being stressed harder.

Whether you use synthetic or mineral oil is the most important factor. Mineral oil is cheaper than synthetic oil, but it begins to break down at a much lower temperature than synthetics do and is much more prone to leaving sludge and varnish behind in your engine.

A good rule of thumb is never go over 3,000 miles with mineral oil and follow your manufacturer's recommendation for synthetic oil change interval. But check to see if your manufacturer has two different recommendations. They often have one for "Normal" use and a different, more frequent schedule for "Severe" use. Severe means any of the conditions discussed in the paragraph above.

My wife recently picked up a new car, an Infinity G37 that she absolutely loves. I like it too for that matter. The dealer told us about their Infinity Express Service that they offer when an oil change is needed so we decided to try it out for the first oil change.

Wow, the world has come a long way from when I was a kid and my dad would get the oil changed at the gas station on the corner. We were greeted at the Infinity dealer's service drive right away. The car was whisked off for service while we went to a very modern customer lounge. Free coffee and tea, a big plasma TV on the wall, everything was very clean with not a hint of grease or dirt. There was free WiFi and comfortable chairs and a sofa.

While I surfed the net on my iPad and my wife watched a news show on the TV, factory-trained, certified Infiniti technicians conducted a full multi-point inspection of our car. This included tire pressures and treads depth, visual inspection under the hood and under the car, all exterior lights, the brakes were inspected and they even tested the battery condition with a computerized tool. They then changed the oil putting in the original factory recommended synthetic oil and replaced the oil filter with a genuine Infiniti filter.

When the car was done with its service, they even washed the car for us! In less than an hour after our arrival, we were ready to go with a fully inspected, serviced and freshly washed car. And you know what? The cost was low, my dad wouldn't have flinched at the bill if he'd been there. Infiniti Express Service is competitive with any oil change place you may know.