Fluid Changes – Why and How Often

Engine Oil: Your engine oil is the life blood of your car’s engine – it keeps it lubricated so the pistons move smoothly up and down in the cylinders. Over time the oil breaks down and loses its lubricating properties. Although some manufactures say you can go up to 7500 miles between oil changes, most experienced technicians still highly recommend the 3000 mile/3month interval for oil changes.

Why? All motor oils’, even the most expensive synthetic blends, lubricating capabilities are rated on a scale of 100% (new in the engine) to 0% (no lubricating capabilities left in the oil). The 7500 mile interval takes the oil down to, or very close to, the 0% end of the scales. By that time there is a significant chance of the pistons sticking in the cylinders causing wear and damage to the internal engine. This will result in very expensive engine repair, or worse, engine replacement.

Timely oil changes are imperative to avoiding these costly repairs.

Regular oil changes at this shorter interval also gives your technician the chance to inspect the rest of your vehicle and give you a heads up to other regularly scheduled maintenance that will be coming up soon or repairs that should be considered at some point to keep you rolling down the road safely and smoothly.

Transmission Fluid: What engine oil is to your engine, transmission fluid is to your transmission. It keeps the internal parts of the transmission working (shifting) smoothly. As the transmission fluid ages it also loses its lubricating capabilities. Dirty (dark) transmission fluid indicates that it is dirty or has been heated too many times and needs to be changed. Many manufactures today will tell you that you don’t ever need to replace your transmission fluid, but most experienced technicians will tell you that they have seen too many costly transmission repairs/replacements to agree with that theory. Every fluid with lubricating properties breaks down over time. How often does this need to be done? That is dependent on the make/model of the vehicle and the driving habits of the owner. My best advice to you is to have your technician check the transmission fluid at every oil change. It is always a part of our regular courtesy inspection at every oil change. Red means ‘good to go’, starting to turn brown or looking dirty means ‘you should think about doing it at your next oil change’, brown/black means DO IT NOW! Transmission service is much cheaper than transmission repair or replacement.

Any questions? Feel free to give us a call at 262-339-7500 to stop by and discuss your vehicle. We’d be happy to help.