Why Do Cars Need Oil?

  • Jun 18, 2021
image of a dipstick measuring oil image of a dipstick measuring oil

Engine oil is the lifeblood of any motor vehicle. It’s the key ingredient to a healthy engine that keeps your car running smoothly for thousands of miles. In fact, oil changes are such an important and routine part of car care that Firestone Complete Auto Care performs more than six million oil changes per year! But why do cars need oil changes in the first place? Keep reading to learn why cars need oil to run and the many benefits of engine oil.

Why Do Cars Need Oil to Run? 

The main role of engine oil is to lubricate the moving parts of your engine. Since there are so many intricate and fast-moving parts in an engine, engine oil is necessary to keep components running smoothly by reducing friction and wear. Sometimes, the only thing preventing engine parts from grinding together is a thin layer of engine lubricant! 

Yet, even a well-lubricated engine generates a lot of heat. That’s why another critical function of engine oil is to draw heat away from the various components, helping to keep the engine running at optimal temperatures. Without engine oil, your engine would quickly seize and may overheat.

Along with understanding what engine oil does, it’s important to know how to check your oil, so you know if your vehicle is running low on oil. Regular oil changes are crucial to getting reliability and peak performance from your vehicle. Skipping routine oil changes can have serious consequences for the health of your car and can even lead to complete engine failure if run without oil.

The standard recommendation used to be to change your oil every 3,000-5,000 miles, but you may need to change it more or less frequently depending on your Manufacturer Suggested Maintenance Schedule. Always refer to your owner’s manual for the recommended oil grade, type, and maintenance schedule for your vehicle. If you see a red oil light appear on your dashboard, have your vehicle serviced right away, as you may be dealing with low-to-no oil pressure or a serious oil leak.

When you’re ready for an oil change, visit your nearest Firestone Complete Auto Care for expert service and a courtesy check.


Additional Benefits of Engine Oil

Motor oil technology has come a long way since its first use in the late 1800s. While the main function of engine oil was — and still is — to lubricate and cool engine parts, most modern engine oils offer many additional benefits that improve engine performance. 

Another important function of motor oil is that it helps keep your engine clean by processing dirt and other contaminants through an oil filter. Additionally, engine oil can include a variety of useful chemical compounds — known as additives — that can boost oil performance. A few additives commonly found in engine oil include:

  • Corrosion inhibitors to protect against rust formation
  • Dispersants to remove and prevent sludge from building up
  • Viscosity index improvers to boost the effectiveness of the oil in extreme temperatures

Engine oil does a lot to keep your engine running smoothly. The exact benefits for your vehicle will largely depend on the type of oil it uses — from conventional to high-mileage to synthetic blend and full synthetic engine oil. While full synthetic engine oil typically costs slightly more, it tends to be the best-performing for most vehicles.

No matter which type of oil your car uses, it’s a vital component that keeps the engine operating efficiently. Plus, regularly changing your oil is a great way to save on gas by helping to keep engine parts well-coated and protected from wear.


The Right Oil Change at the Right Price

Now that you know how important oil is to your trusted ride, are you ready for an oil change? Head to your local Firestone Complete Auto Care for your next oil change, and learn why millions of drivers trust our auto professionals to service their vehicles. Find service offers and coupons to use toward your next Firestone Complete Auto Care oil change, then call your local location or schedule your next oil change appointment online.

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