One of the few maintenance items that automobile manufacturers have not founda way to eliminate. Regular oil changes are the best way to ensure longer engine life. If you frequentlytake short trips where the car doesn't always completely warm up, then oilchanges are even moreimportant because acid and moisture buildup does not have a chance to burn off. Some new engines normally run very hot and are very hard on oil. Even missing asingle oil change on these cars can cause an engine to develop sludge which cancause engine damage in a car with as little as 15,000 miles on the odometer. Today's modern oilscontain detergents and additives that are designed to protect against sludgeformation, but if you regularly do a lot of stop and go driving, like rush hourdriving, engine heat will eventually break down these additives so that theystop protecting your engine. Sludge problems are NOT covered by a new car warrantee. You could be stuck with a bill for major engine work! It happens moretimes than you think, usually to people who lease their car and think that theycan get away with not doing proper maintenance. The best way to protectyourself is with regular oil changes and make sure thatyou save your receipts.
When an oil change service is referred to as an "Oil, Lube & Filter," the"lube" is a chassis lubrication where the mechanic applies grease to varioussteering and suspension joints under the car. Most modern cars are manufactured withsealed-for-life joints that do not have grease fittings; however if any of these partswere replaced, the new parts probably do have lubrication points and must be greased toprevent premature wear. If you have had parts replaced, make sure that the mechanic knowsit or he may overlook them.
Doing an oil change yourself does not require much skill, but crawling under a car andhaving oil drip down your sleeve is hardly worth the $10 or so that you might save. Then,you have to deal with the old oil and filter. I could think of a more productive way tospend a Saturday afternoon.