5 Common and Potentially Costly Oil Change Mistakes
As a car owner in North Carolina, you probably already recognize the significance of changing your oil on time. This critical maintenance item can dramatically impact engine performance and longevity. When servicing is needed, it’s always a good idea to take your vehicle to a certified professional. Here are five common and potentially costly oil change mistakes.
Using the Wrong Type of Motor Oil
When performing an oil change, it’s critical to always use the correct type of motor oil for your specific engine. Unfortunately, far too many quick-lube service centers fail to do so. This can lead to a number of problems in the long run.
If the oil is too thin, this can cause the engine to experience premature wear. Leaks are also far more likely to develop. On the other hand, excessively thick oil may not flow well during cold weather. As your engine ages, it may actually do better using a different oil viscosity than when new. An experienced mechanic can determine which grade is best.
Improper Drain Plug Installation
Your oil pan’s drain plug needs to be properly torqued. Overtightening this bolt can result in slow leaks. Too much force may also damage the plug’s threads.
If the drain plug’s gasket is made of copper or cheap plastic, it needs to be replaced at every oil change. Fortunately, this part typically costs only a dollar or two. When the gasket becomes deformed, it’s unable to properly seal. It’s only a matter of time before a leak arises.
Not Adding the Right Amount of Oil
It’s important to add the proper amount of motor oil. Overfilling when performing an oil change tends to be the biggest problem. This floods the crankshaft, thus causing the oil to be whipped into a foam. The end result is an inequality lubricated engine. Oil pressure can reach dangerously low levels.
There are a few telltale signs the oil level is too high. For starters, you may notice the smell of burning motor oil. Blue exhaust smoke is yet another big symptom. Keep in mind that overflowing oil can also find its way into spark plugs, which ultimately impacts performance. At this point, you’ll likely have trouble even cranking the engine.
Forgetting to Reset the Oil Change Light
Many modern vehicles are designed with an oil life monitoring system. It uses special sensors to collect important data. Engine temperature, trip durations, and driving habits are just a few of the key factors that are taken into account. When an oil change is deemed necessary, the system will trigger a warning light.
Unfortunately, some shops forget to reset the oil change light after servicing the vehicle. This is a major inconvenience.
Forgot to Put the Engine Oil Fill Cap Back On
When rushing to finish an oil change, neglectful technicians may forget to reinstall the engine oil fill cap. This is a big problem, to say the least. The entire engine bay and hood could be covered in oil.
Even worse, dust and debris have an opportunity to enter the engine. These particles can grind between the cylinder walls and pistons, thus causing the parts to prematurely degrade over time.