207-622-4747316 State St.
Augusta, ME 04330
Mon - Fri: 7:30am- 5:30pm
Select Page

It is a well-known fact that engine oil is the life’s blood of your automobile and to keep your vehicle running at its best the engine oil and filter need to be serviced at regular intervals by a well-trained automotive mechanic. That is why when people think of oil changes in Augusta, Me; they think of Al’s Certified Auto Repair. The technicians at Al’s Certified Auto Repair are AAA approved and ASE certified and fully understand the importance of regular oil changes in the maintenance of your vehicle.

How often should I change my oil?
This is a great question that deserves a great answer; however, the great answer comes with a little work on your part. First answer the question of normal or severe driving conditions. Then Synthetic, Conventional or a synthetic blend oil. Finally what type of filter am I going to use…Cheap or top quality? Now the intervals will fall into the following categories:

WHEN SHOULD I CHANGE MY OIL*

CONVENTIONAL OIL

NORMAL CONDITIONS

SEVERE CONDITIONS

CHEAP FILTER

MID RANGE FILTER

BEST FILTER

CHEAP FILTER

MID RANGE FILTER

BEST FILTER

3000 MILES

3500 MILES

4500 MILES

3000 MILES

3000 MILES

3750 MILES

SYNTHETIC BLEND OIL

SYNTHETIC OIL CHANGE

NORMAL CONDITIONS

SEVERE CONDITIONS

NORMAL CONDITIONS

SEVERE CONDITIONS

CHEAP FILTER

MID RANGE FILTER

BEST FILTER

CHEAP FILTER

MID RANGE FILTER

BEST FILTER

CHEAP FILTER

MID RANGE FILTER

BEST FILTER

CHEAP FILTER

MID RANGE FILTER

BEST FILTER

4000 MILES

4000 MILES

7500 MILES

3750 MILES

4000 MILES

5000
MILES

5000 MILES

5000 MILES

7500 MILES

4500 MILES

4500 MILES

7500 MILES

* This chart is a guide based on our experience over the last 35 years

Are my driving conditions Normal or Severe?
Well that depends on several factors, let’s start first with how you drive. Your owner’s manual will mention severe and normal driving conditions; what does that mean?
Normal conditions are what we would call ideal circumstances; long trips on the highway, very little in town stop and go driving, No temperature extremes ( hot or cold). I would estimate that less than 20% of vehicles meet this standard.
Severe conditions are what I believe most of us drive. Trips less than 5 miles, especially in cold winter weather. Frequent idling, you know while you’re waiting for the kids to come out from practice, or sitting in heavy traffic (route 1 in the summer time), long highway trips in hot weather, towing, driving in temps below zero and driving in the hills and mountains. All of this adds stress to the engine and causes it to work harder and contaminate the oil.

What type of oil should I use?

This is a great question that can be answered rather quickly, use the type of oil recommended by the vehicle manufacturer. That was pretty simple; however, it is not quite as simple as that. I truly believe that the manufacturer of the oil is less important than making sure the oil you use meets the American Petroleum Institute (API) service rating and the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) certification of the oils viscosity. The service rating is a 2 letter code that can be found, usually on the back of the oil container. The main thing to remember here is that, as a rule, the API rating is backwards compatible. So an SN oil could be used in place of an SF oil, the codes started with SA and have been moving up through the alphabet. On much older vehicles (older than 60’s) you may find that the backwards compatibility is not recommended.

Probably the most critical characteristic is the viscosity or weight of the motor oil. This has been recommended by the manufacturer based on the engine design specifications. I do not recommend varying from this recommendation, except under extreme condition and after consulting a professional automotive technician. The weight can be found in the seal on the back of the oil container and is usually written like this 5W-30 and the letters SAE will appear above it. This is called a multi weight or multi viscosity motor oil. The 5 and the 30 identify the oils viscosity, the reason for two numbers is that engine oil needs to have different flow rates, at different temperature extremes, to allow for correct lubrication under different temperature extremes. The “W” stands for winter, so the oil above would flow with the viscosity of 5 at temperatures below freezing. The 30 indicates how the oil reacts at higher temperatures. As you know fluids tend to thin out as they get warmer, so you can imagine how poorly a 5 weight oil would lubricate when your engine is running at temperatures of 200 plus degrees. So the 30 weight in this case will still have good lubricating properties.

Synthetic or Conventional Oil?

Do I need Synthetic, Semi Synthetic or conventional motor oil? This question can be answered by reading your owner’s manual. Most vehicle manufacturers will recommend the type of oil they would like to see. If the manufacturer recommends synthetic then that is what you should use without exception; because, they have determined that the design characteristics of their engine needs this oil.

The question of should I use synthetic oil really comes down to personal preference based on some simple facts. Synthetic oils can start their life as crude oil (just like conventional oil) or natural gas. Then through some rather complex chemistry these products are chemically altered to produce synthetic oils. The refined synthetics are cleaner, have better lubricating properties on the extreme ends of the temperature spectrum and reduce engine wear form oil degradation and lasts longer.

With this advanced oil also comes a price consideration, Good quality synthetic oils can cost as much as two and a half times that of conventional oils.

Synthetics do last longer; however, they still get dirty and still need replacing.

Does my oil filter matter?

Another factor to consider when answering the question; how often do I need to change my oil? Pertains to the oil filter. There are many different oil filters on the market and varying degrees of quality. This is one area where “you get what you pay for” has real meaning. On the cheap end you have filters with very little filter material in them and it is minimally effective. On the high end you typically have more filter material; therefore, it is able to filter more particles and last longer. Inside the filter is an oil bypass. The oil bypass does exactly what it says it allows the engine oil to bypass the filter material (usually because the filter is plugged). The better filters filter longer and you have less of a chance of the bypass coming into play and allowing unfiltered motor oil back into the engine. Many oil change places use the cheap oil filter so that they can present an oil and filter change for less than $20.00. If you want maximum time between oil changes and maximum protection for your engine, be sure to use a top quality oil filter.