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Oil Changes and Fluids

The importance of oil changes and other fluids

One of the simplest, most effective and inexpensive ways to help protect the life of your vehicle’s engine is to regularly change the oil and oil filter. Oil lubricates engine parts reduces friction, lessens wear and helps cool the engine.
Without the cleaning action of new oil, particles of carbon and varnish would be toxic to the engine. The regular replacement of the engine oil and the oil filter is recommended.

About the oil classification system

Engine oil comes with a classification indicating its viscosity (thickness). In multi-grade oil, the first number indicates how the oil will flow when it is cold. The lower the number, the lighter the oil and the easier and quicker it will flow at lower temperatures. Look for a number around 5.

The second number indicates the thickness of the same oil at high temperatures. For example, 5W-30 oil will flow as a 5-weight oil at low temperatures and as a 30-weight oil at warm temperatures. Look for a number around 20 or 30.

Why viscosity is a concern

During cold starting, only a small amount of oil is present in the upper parts of the engine. A lower viscosity (easier flowing) allows the oil to reach the components more quickly after start up. High viscosity means the fluid is thick and flows slowly.

Synthetic oils

Not all motor engine oils are 100% petroleum. Synthetic oils, which are chemically compounded lubricants, are also available.

These Synthetic oils can provide:

  • Higher viscosity over a wider temperature range, i.e. the oil does not get too thick or too thin
  • Reduced wear and increased load-carrying ability.

Which oil is right for your vehicle?

The simplest and safest way to find out is to check your owner’s manual or talk to an expert at your nearest AutoZone store.

Fluids

Your vehicle relies on a variety of fluids to operate its brake, steering, transmission, engine cooling and other systems. When these fluids become degraded or at low levels, damage to other components can occur. So always follow the manufacturer-recommended service schedule or speak to a specialist at your nearest AutoZone store.

Brake fluid

This is the fluid used to apply hydraulic pressure when applying the brakes. This is not to be confused with hydraulic fluid as these two have different actions and properties. Brake fluid needs to be checked regularly, and is situated in the engine area.

Coolant/antifreeze

This is a mixture of water and antifreeze that is used in the engine cooling system to make the freezing point lower and the boiling point higher. It maintains the engine’s temperature throughout its operating range.

Starting and Charging

A battery starts your car and powers the electrical components. A weakened battery causes stress on alternators and starters, especially during extreme temperatures.

Oil Filters

Oil filters can increase engine performance, boost fuel efficiency and reduce engine wear by filtering debris in the engine oil and thereby preventing damage.

Cabin Filters

The job of the vehicle’s cabin air filter is to filter polluted air flowing into the vehicle, giving cleaner air for the driver and passengers. When driving behind a vehicle that is emitting excessive smoke, the air filter absorbs smoke particles. The air filter also improves the heating and cooling efficiency.