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Oil Change vs. Oil Top-Off. Which Should You Do?

To Change or Top Off: The Dilemma of Car Oil Maintenance

Routine car maintenance is important to make sure the life and performance of your vehicle is the best it can be. As such, one of the key maintenance goals is managing the engine's oil levels. However, a common question that comes up is whether they should opt for a complete oil change or simply top off the existing oil. And, to answer this, the experts at Madison Auto Care Centers explore what goes into this decision and help you make an informed choice.

Understanding the Basics

Before delving into the decision-making process, it helps to understand the functions of engine oil. Engine oil lubricates the various components of the engine, reduces friction, and helps dissipate heat. But, over time, the oil can become contaminated with dirt, debris, and other impurities. And, this is where the choice between an oil change and topping off comes into play. So, consider these when making your decision.

Oil Age and Mileage

    • Oil Change: Typically, car manufacturers recommend changing the oil every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, but modern synthetic oils can often last longer. So, if you've reached the recommended mileage or it's been several months since your last oil change, it might be time for a complete change.
    • Topping Off: If your car is relatively new, and you haven't reached the mileage threshold for an oil change, topping off might be sufficient. So, regularly check your oil levels to see if a little oil could "top-off" a slight drop. But, any significant drops should be addressed for more server problems at an ASE certified Madison Auto Care Center.

Oil Condition

    • Oil Change: If your car's oil appears dark and gritty when checking the dipstick, it's a sign that the oil has deteriorated. And, as such, is no longer effectively lubricating the engine. Therefore, a complete oil change is advisable.
    • Topping Off: If the oil still has a clear and amber appearance, topping off may be suitable. However, it's essential to monitor the oil's condition over time.

Driving Conditions

    • Oil Change: If you frequently engage in stop-and-go traffic, towing, or driving in extreme temperatures, your engine may experience more stress. Therefore, changing the oil at shorter intervals is recommended.
    • Topping Off: For those with less demanding driving conditions, topping off the oil may be okay between regular oil changes.

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Madison Auto Care Centers is Here to Help When it Comes to Your Car's Oil System

Your car or truck's oil system plays a key role in its overall function and safety. So, if you'd like more information on an oil change, then call one of the following NAPA Madison Car Care centers. Madison Auto Care has seven NAPA service centers -  CLAUSEN AUTOHANDEL AUTOGENIN’S AUTOCAPITOL TIREHANSEN’S AUTOODANA TIRE, or AESCHBACH AUTO.

FLUSH | CLAUSEN AUTO | HANDEL AUTO | GENIN'S AUTO | CAPITOL TIRE | ODANA TIRE | HANSEN'S AUTO | AESCHBACH AUTO | NAPA AUTO CARE | NAPA AUTO REPAIR | MADISON AUTO CARE | AUTO CARE MADISON | MADISON AUTO REPAIR

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