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Do I Need an Oil Change for my Ford Vehicle?

Oil keeps your car's engine running smoothly, which helps to avoid excessive wear and tear to its parts. Regularly checking and changing your oil is therefore extremely important. By doing so, you can lengthen the life of your vehicle and delay expensive repair costs. Here are some things you should know about your engine's oil and when to change it. The expert Ford Service techs at Planet Ford Dallas know their stuff and have the right parts and tools to help make sure the job gets done right.

Why it's important to get your oil changed at regular intervals.

You want to maintain your vehicle and keep it in great shape. Regular oil and filter changes help your vehicle run with optimum efficiency. When you use the proper grade of engine oil, you can improve your mpg by as much as 2 percent.*

The right oil change at the right time.

The time between your oil changes depends on the type of vehicle you drive and the oil you use. As a rule of thumb, most manufacturers recommend changing your oil every 5,000 miles of driving, or three to four times per year. It's not as frequent as you think, so we can help save you time. In fact, with certain vehicles, you can go 10,000 miles in between oil changes. However, this can vary depending on the make and model of your car, so it's best to consult your owner's manual for more specific instructions. Everyone drives differently, but be assured: we know your vehicle. And we can help maintain it at the appropriate intervals. 

For 2008 and newer model-year vehicles, Ford recommends that you change your oil every 7,500 miles or every six months, whichever comes first.

For 2007 and older model-year vehicles, Ford recommends an oil change every 5,000 miles or every six months, whichever comes first. You can also check Intelligent Oil Life Monitor located in your vehicle's instrument cluster message center.

How Do I Know If I Need My Oil Changed?

The best way to find out whether your oil needs changing is to check it regularly. You can do this at home by raising your car's hood and checking your oil for signs of contamination every month or so. If you see debris floating in your oil or it appears to be separating, it's time to get your oil changed. Debris can prevent your oil from lubricating your engine effectively, while oil separation is a sign that it is breaking down, which reduces its ability to protect the moving parts against wear and tear.

Another option is to keep a note of when you last got your oil changed. If you've driven 5,000 to 10,000 miles since then, you can be fairly confident that it's time to get some fresh oil.

What's the Real Difference Between Synthetic Oil and Conventional Oil?

Conventional oil works fine for most engines by coating the surface of its parts so they can move more smoothly. However, it can break down over time, leaving sticky deposits on engine parts known as sludge. This process can decrease the effectiveness of regular engine oil.

The main difference between synthetic oils and regular oils is that synthetic oil is engineered for better performance. These oils can retain their thickness or viscosity for a longer period of time, and they often work better at extremely low and very high temperatures.

All base oils are graded on a scale from Group I to Group V. Groups I and II refer to oils extracted from crude oil, while Group V oils are fully manufactured from artificial compounds. Many synthetic oils used for cars are based on Group III oils.

There is also an important difference between full synthetic oils and blended synthetic oils that you should be aware of. While the base oil used to manufacture full synthetic oils is synthetic, a blend combines both synthetic and regular oils in a mixture. Blended oils are therefore a step up from regular engine oil, but will not offer the same level of performance as full synthetic oils.

What Are the Advantages of Synthetic Oil?

Because synthetic oil retains its viscosity for longer, it can offer better protection to your engine's parts. For example, a common problem with regular oil is that if you don't start your car for a long period of time, the oil sinks to the bottom of your engine. This can cause what is known as a dry start, which is when the engine's components grind against each other due to the lack of oil when you start your vehicle. Synthetic oil is less prone to cause this problem.

Another advantage is that because synthetic oil doesn't break down as quickly, it doesn't need replacing as often as regular oil. While you should still follow your manufacturer's instructions to determine when your oil needs replacing, some synthetic oils only need replacing after 7,000-10,000 miles of driving, compared to 3,000-5,000 miles for regular oil. This can mean that although you have to pay more for a single oil change if you use synthetic oil, you end up paying less over time because you won't need to change your oil as often.

In addition, the more uniform size of molecules in synthetic oils compared to regular oils can help ensure less friction between your engine's parts. This can lengthen the lifespan of your car's components.

Synthetic oils can sometimes improve the fuel efficiency of your vehicle. One reason for this is that a smoother running engine requires less power to operate than one which is struggling with poorer quality oil. A related benefit is that synthetic oils help engines to perform to a higher level, which will be of particular interest to you if you run a vehicle with a high-performance setup like the Ford Mustang, or the hard-working Ford F-150.

The Works™: An oil change and much more.

When you visit Planet Ford Dallas Love Field, we'll make sure your vehicle is checked properly with The Works, which starts with your oil change. Changing your oil is done in a few simple steps. First, we'll place an oil drain pan under the engine to catch the old oil. Then, we'll loosen the drain plug and let the oil fully drain from the engine. Once the oil has finished draining, we can replace your oil filter and the drain plug. Then, all that's left to do is to lift the hood, open the oil cap, and fill your engine with the volume and type of oil recommended by your manufacturer.

The rest of our complete vehicle checkup includes a tire rotation and pressure check, brake inspection, fluid-top off, battery test, filter check plus belts, hoses check, and a full Multi-Point Inspection, where we test your battery, along with checking your headlights, windshield wipers, transmission fluids, and air filter.

Scheduling your oil change

When you're ready to maintain your vehicle to keep it running at its best, contact Planet Ford Dallas Love Field or go to Planet Ford Dallas Love Field service scheduler and make your service appointment today. Want to know when it's time for an oil change? Take a look at the Intelligent Oil-Life Monitor, found in your vehicle's instrument cluster message center.

We hope that our overview of all the important things to know about engine oil and oil changes has answered all of your questions. But if you want to know more, don't hesitate to contact us today at Planet Ford Dallas. Our expert team of auto technicians are waiting to provide you with a professional service that covers all your car servicing needs. Whether it's an oil change, battery test, or a full-service appointment you're looking for, we'll get the job done and have you back on the road, and if you're in a hurry, check out the Quick Lane® Tire & Auto Center at Planet Ford Dallas for expert solutions to your vehicles' regular upkeep needs.

*Sources: fueleconomy.gov, epa.gov.

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