Winter Oil Change Tips

Getting your car ready for winter is an important part of living in a cold climate. That extends to your engine oil, which is the lifeblood of your vehicle. The colder the ambient temperature, the thicker your oil gets. This can cause problems for your engine, so it’s important to change the oil regularly and get the right type of oil for your climate and vehicle. Here’s what you need to know before your next winter oil change in Hartford, WI.

Invest in good quality oil

You should already be changing your oil according to your manufacturer’s recommendations. (If not, you risk seriously damaging the engine. That’s not only costly, but it might be so expensive that it’s not worth repairing.) Get the best quality oil you can, but especially during the winter. Even if you plan to store your car during the snowy months, you need to change the oil before letting it sit for months at a time.

When you change the oil, make sure that you let the engine run a few minutes so the new oil is circulated throughout the engine. Then you can safely store it (or drive it) without fear of engine damage.
Oil viscosity matters

You might already know that cold weather affects your oil viscosity. The thicker the oil is, the harder it is for it to lubricate the engine parts and reduce friction and heat. In the past, it was important to change the oil viscosity to prepare for summer and winter—if the oil is too thin, it won’t adhere to the parts and lubricate them properly.

Modern vehicles and oil formulations often make it unnecessary for you to change oil types throughout the year, but you’ll still need to pick the right oil for your specific engine, and change it according to manufacturer’s recommendations. Check your owner’s manual to find out what kind of oil you should use and how often you need to change it. Don’t skimp on this step. The older your oil is, the more it picks up contaminants like dirt, dust and debris. These abrasives will prevent the oil from doing its job and damage the engine components.

Tips for DIY winter oil changes

If you plan to do your own oil change this winter, there are a few things you can do to make sure it goes smoothly. First, run the engine for a few minutes before changing the oil, so it warms up, thins out and drains faster.

Consider storing your tools (such as the wrench you’ll use to loosen the drain plug) in a warm spot. Cold tools are difficult to handle. Using the right size wrench is important, too, since improperly sized wrenches will strip the head.

Finally, remember that when you’re in doubt, there’s no harm in taking your car to the experts. Pat Doll Automotive LLC is happy to perform winter oil changes in Hartford, WI—we’ll make sure you have the right oil to keep your engine running smoothly. Call us today to get started.