Many car owners and drivers pay little or no attention to the oil demand of their vehicles. This nonchalance has often resulted to fatal consequences. The role of engine oil in the overall health of a car’s engine cannot be overemphasized, it is indeed one of the necessary auto maintenance procedure. Changing a vehicle’s engine oil is as important as having it in the vehicle’s engine. Constant check on a vehicle’s engine oil level is generally recommended to ascertain when to top it. Still, changing the entire engine oil and knowing when to do so is as well crucial.
Knowing the functions of engine oil and how it works is key to understanding the need to constantly change it. Lubrication is the major function of engine oil. Engine oil lubricates engine’s moving parts. Lubrication reduces wear and tear resulting from friction between moving engine parts. Friction also could cause a vehicle’s engine to work harder than normal and heat the engine up to abnormally high temperatures. By lubrication, engine oil also serve as a coolant, reducing the heat emerging from an engine’s combustion chamber.
However, engine oil degrades as usage continues overtime. A former viscous and pale golden color fresh engine oil becomes thick, dark and dirty after prolonged usage resulting to an oil sludge. While in use, particles from dust, dirt and debris in the engine mixes with the engine oil leaving a dirty deposit in the vehicle’s engine which contributes to the sludge. Oil Sludge is known to clog engine parts, causing failure in the internal combustion engine which usually lead to total engine replacement. When engine oil is changed, automatically the sludge and other wear particles are removed. Contaminated oil can affect overall engine performance. This is why it is important to regularly change the oil. The generally accepted benchmark for changing engine oil is between 3000 to 5000 miles of usage in most vehicles. In California, 3000 miles or more is the recommended mileage for changing a vehicle’s engine oil.
Not changing a vehicle’s engine oil could result to some fatal engine failures and sometimes total engine breakdown. Changing it has a lot of advantages. New engine oil keep the cylinders firing properly and enhances engine performance making it economical to manage. This also increases the life span of the vehicle. Engine parts could corrode due to water condensation, a good engine oil will however prevent corrosion. Scheduled oil change minimizes a vehicle’s fuel consumption and improves gas mileage, hence increases fuel savings. It is known that most states conduct vehicle emission test to control the level of hazardous gases released into the environment, and every vehicle in such state must pass this test. Changing oil regularly reduces exhaust emissions especially in older vehicles enabling them to pass emissions test. Engine repair and replacement of damaged parts are very costly. Indeed, a lot of damages would be avoided by simply changing engine oil at the appropriate time. As the old saying goes, “A stitch in time saves nine”. It would be easier to change a vehicle’s engine oil than actually changing the whole engine due to negligence. Would you rather spend over $4500 yearly fixing engine’s problems resulting from bad engine oil or spend an average of $150 yearly to change your vehicle’s engine oil?
It is also important to change the oil filter on every oil change. The oil filter cleanses the oil. A bad filter is as risky as a bad oil. Rather than only changing oil, it is advisable to allow a certified mechanic change the engine oil as well as the oil filter.
Auto mechanics are expected to meet some requirements before they can carry out emission tests on vehicles. In California, they must obtain the certification to do so by undertaking the necessary training. This training is a prerequisite for becoming a certified smog check inspector. It has a lot of advantages. Some auto mechanics have acquired the skill to run a smog check but lack the required training and certification, hence, they are regarded as a ‘roadside mechanic’. Certification improves your reputation and reliability on the job. It increases customer confidence at your smog test station and make you employable if you are pursuing a career in Auto Mechanics. In the automotive industry, technicians who are certified are paid a higher salary than the uncertified ones. Most importantly, only smog check stations with the required certification are approved by the Department of Motor Vehicles, DMV.
California state law requires all vehicles in the state to undergo a biennial emission test program in order to check the amount of harmful emissions released into the atmosphere. The smog check process is administered by the Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) in the California Department of Consumer affairs through over 7000 state-licensed and private stations.
A certified smog check inspector is qualified to perform smog check inspection on vehicles and issue the smog check certificate. This must be performed in a Test-Only or Test-and-Repair station. Some smog check technicians perform diagnosis and repair to correct smog check failures.
An individual must pass a state administered exam to become a licensed Smog Check Inspector. Applicants must complete a Level 1 and Level 2 training and pass the exam within two years.
Level 1 training
Level 1 training is for candidates little or no prior knowledge of smog check. The training is administered for 68 hours in BAR-certified school. This training provides students with the basic knowledge of engine and emission control system required to properly conduct smog test inspections. Some candidates who have previous experience may skip Level 1 training. They include those who:
Level 2 training
Level 2 training must be completed by all applicants, experienced or inexperienced. The training lasts for 28 hours and covers all check procedures.
Applicants applying for renewal must complete a four hour BAR-certified update training.
Experience is now as important as the training in obtaining a smog check certification. BAR has made it mandatory for candidates to have a practical experience at an automotive repair shop experience.
Smog Check Repair Technician Certification
Some smog check inspectors diagnose and repair smog check failures. They are also called smog check Repair Technician. Smog check repairs must be performed by a licensed Repair Technician at a licensed Test-and-Repair or Repair-Only station.
An individual must pass a state administered exam to become a licensed Smog Check Technician. Candidates must meet one of the following criteria:
Applicants for Smog Check Certification Renewal must possess any of the above qualification criteria and a proof of an update training from a BAR-certified training institution within the last two years.
Smog Check Program’s Updated Test Technology
Californians getting Smog Checks today may notice that the traditional tailpipe test used for many years has been replaced by a quicker, computer-based test for gasoline-powered cars model-year 2000 and newer, and for most diesel vehicles that are model-year 1998 and newer.
Engine changes continue to present problems and challenges to car owners and technicians. Our recommendation is to rebuild and reinstall the original engine, transmission, and emission control configuration.
When rebuilding an engine, it must be rebuilt to the original equipment specifications. However, if you do decide to change the engine, these guidelines must be observed to ensure that the vehicle will be eligible for smog certification or registration.
The Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) licenses and contracts with several different types of Smog Check stations to meet the needs of consumers and their vehicles. Stations are required to post a sign so that consumers can easily identify them. Look for the station’s official sign when selecting a station to perform your next Smog Check.