Guest Post by Alice Stevens of BestCompany.com

You turn on your car, and a light comes on. It’s time for an oil change. Or, maybe the light is still on from several months ago because it’s been ignored.

We’ve all been told to have regular oil changes every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, but ignoring that service light is too easy. When you have a busy schedule, it easily falls to the bottom of the to-do list.

Regular oil changes can stretch budgets and may not be a top priority. How important is an oil change anyway?

As it turns out, oil plays a vital role in the basic functioning of your car. Regular oil changes should be a priority because they have a direct impact on three things:

  • Engine function and durability
  • Fuel economy
  • Car warranty

Engine Function and Durability

When your car’s engine is running, multiple mini-explosions generate energy to get your car going. Fuel enters the engine cylinders where pistons move up and down to release the energy from the internal explosions. Engine oil keeps these pieces moving smoothly and prevents wear and tear on these engine parts. Keeping the engine in good condition will keep it functioning well and make it last longer.

In addition to generating energy to move your car, the explosions in the engine release heat. If the engine gets too hot, it can get overheated and stop working until it cools down. Oil helps keep the engine from overheating.

As the oil runs through the engine, it thickens into a sludge. When the oil is thick, it no longer helps the engine’s moving parts move quickly and smoothly, which results in engine wear and tear. The build-up of sludge can corrode the engine.

If your car goes too long without an oil change, you may have to have your engine cleaned or replaced. Costs for cleaning an engine and replacing it are much more expensive than the cost of an oil change. The effects of oil on the engine are the biggest reasons why it is important to get your car’s oil changed regularly.

Fuel Economy

Rising fuel costs and environmental concerns have led to the popularity of electric cars, alternative fuel, and fuel efficiency. Whatever fuel your car uses, it’s important for your engine to function well.

If your engine is not functioning properly, it uses more gas or diesel to generate the energy needed to move. Considering the high cost of fuel, having regular oil changes may even save you some money. Keeping your car’s fuel efficiency as high as it can be is also good for the environment.

Car Warranty

Most car warranties are no longer valid if you fail to properly maintain your vehicle. Proper vehicle maintenance includes regular oil changes. These are especially important if your car warranty includes coverage for the engine. Be consistent and on time with your car’s oil changes. It’s also a good idea to keep your receipts for the vehicle’s service record just in case.

You’re already paying a monthly premium for the warranty, so don’t throw all that money away just because you didn’t want to pay for an oil change. Keeping your car warranty valid with an oil change is much cheaper than having to pay for expensive mechanical breakdown repairs on your own.

Getting an oil change may feel like a hassle, but it’s a worthwhile investment in your car. Oil changes will help prevent engine damage and make your car last longer. They will also save you money by maintaining your car’s fuel efficiency and preventing expensive repairs.

If you have a car warranty, regular oil changes will ensure the validity of the warranty. That way, if your car experiences a mechanical breakdown, the warranty will be in effect and you don’t have to pay for all the repairs yourself.

Oil changes should be a priority — don’t let them fall to the bottom of your to-do list. After all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.