We often hear that driving in the gig economy puts a lot of extra stress on our cars, and one of the most important things we need to stay up to date on is our oil changes. We’ve put together a quick guide on how to maintain your oil to prolong the life of your car in partnership with Take 5 Oil Change who have sponsored this post.
Take 5 changes oil so fast that you don’t even have to get out of the car. Take 5 is also offering all Uber or Lyft drivers 25% off any oil change. Check them out here. Just show them the app on your phone and you’re good to go!
Engine oil. There are lots of anecdotes. Lots of myths. “Change your oil every 3,000 miles” is the most famous example of an oil myth for most. “You can’t go from synthetic oil to non-synthetic oil” is another.
It’s mostly urban legend.
But that doesn’t change the fact that oil is important. Very important, and even more so for people who spend long, long periods of time in their cars driving as fast as they can between point A and point B. People like us.
I used to spend 12 hours a day sitting in my metal box propelled by internally controlled explosions. A camshaft rotating to open and close valves getting air to cylinders to explode upon metal pistons to rapidly turn a crankshaft. Moving my car inch by inch at a bare minimum of roughly 4800 explosions per minute.
Without oil, that explosive box of metal doesn’t work. With bad oil, the metal grinds, churns, and turns on itself to slowly warp my magical explosion box until it doesn’t explode anymore. That means no work and no money for me.
10,000 Miles Between Oil Changes is BAD
I’ve heard lots of stories from non-rideshare friends who go 10,000 miles (or more) without changing their oil. Truth is, THEY might be able to get away with it. Us? Not so much.
Adopt An Accelerated Schedule
I recommend adopting an accelerated maintenance schedule if you average 15 hours on the app a week or more. Consider that the average commute time in the US is about 25 minutes, translating to 5 – 10 hour a week of driving for the average American. So if you’re putting in another 10-20 hours on top of that, you’re already doubling the operation time of your motor.
Personally, I adopted a Taxi/Police maintenance schedule on my car when I drove full time and that meant an oil change much more frequently (I drove 40 to 50 hours a week in San Francisco). This might not be necessary if you only occasionally drive for Uber though.
Set A Recurring Reminder to Check Your Oil Each Week
ProTip: Add a recurring reminder to your calendar to remind you to check your oil each week. Here’s how to do it with Google Calendar! The best time/place to do it is while you’re filling up gas at the gas station since you literally have nothing to do for a couple minutes.
What To Look For: You’ll want to check that the amount of oil is correct and look for any milky texture to the oil itself. The color should be somewhere between amber and black. Black oil is fine, since it means the oil is doing its job. However, if it has been jet-black for a while it’s probably time to consider changing it.
Consider Getting An Annual Oil Analysis
You can send your oil into a lab to have it analyzed for about $28. They will test your used oil sample and then send you an analysis with a breakdown of the metals found in your oil after use.
The analysis will compare the composition of metals in your oil to other makes and models of your vehicle to determine if you’re in range of standard wear and tear on your motor.
Analyzing the metallic levels of your oil can provide you with a gauge on the health of your motor. Here are some of the things you glean from an oil analysis:
- Excessive iron or aluminum indicates extra wear in camshafts, heads, or engine blocks.
- Too much chromium often indicates wear on piston rings
- Too much silicon indicates a lot of airborne particulates, indicating unclean air entering your vehicle.
In addition to getting knowledge on how your motor is holding up, the reports can be useful for when you decide to resell your car, especially if you have the reports to prove your motor has a clean bill of health.
Is Synthetic Oil Worth It?
I go with synthetic, but it might be overkill. I honestly don’t know for certain. What I do know for certain is that it costs about twice as much. However, I consider it an investment in preventing thousands in repairs.
According to Consumer Reports, synthetic oil does a better job than mineral oil at the following:
- Breakdown: Synthetic oils breakdown slower and thus last a bit longer.
- High Temperatures: Driving around for long periods in summer heat.
- Frigid Temperatures: Driving in cold places during cold times of the year.
Breakdown and high temperatures definitely apply to me. The type of motor oil that is best for your vehicle is actually recommended in the owner’s manual or by the vehicle manufacturer. There are multiple types of motor oil, and the oil type that is right for you will always be what the manufacturer recommends for your make and model.
We’re often pressed for time, so it’s important to find a good shop that can change your oil quickly and accurately. It may be tempting to go with the cheapest option, but often that comes at a cost in quality and time. For example, the last place I got my oil, oil filter, and air filter changed took 3 hours. That’s about $60 in lost fares or time I would rather spend doing something else.
Check Out Take 5 Oil Change & Save 25% Off Your Next Oil Change
All Take 5 Oil Change locations are offering 25% off of any oil change to all rideshare drivers. Take 5 specializes in doing a few things really well, treating their customers right, and valuing your time.
Your Time: Take 5 Oil Change has drive-thru oil changes, which means you stay in your car as they change your oil. Their average time is 9 minutes from the time you pull into the engine bay to the time you check out.
No Weird Upsell: They’ll ask if you want to change your air filter or wiper blades but that’s about it. They only do basic services so they won’t try to charge you for a $1000 repair or perform a headlight fluid flush.
No Recycled Oil: You can see the new, clean oil being poured into your vehicle if you ask. They never used recycled oil or used oil.
One of the things I dislike about using other locations is that it often takes several hours before they get to the business of changing my oil as they filter through bigger ticket customers. Even worse, they almost always try to upsell me on things I don’t need. Take 5 Oil Change wants to earn your business by offering great service that respects your time and business as a rideshare driver.
They are currently operating in the following states:
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
That’s why they’re offering 25% off all oil changes and getting the word out to drivers!
Check out their site to find the nearest location and show them your window sticker or the driver app on your phone to get 25% off.
Readers, have you ever used Take 5 Oil Change? How long does it usually take you to get your oil changed?
-Christian @ RSG