An oil change: Sounds simple, but there’s some pretty important things to know about preventing oil sludge. Oil eventually starts to turn into jelly. Literally – petroleum jelly. Sludge clogs up oil passages and keeps oil from getting to some areas of the engine, causing parts to wear out prematurely. And that means expensive engine repairs. That’s why you need to change the oil and oil filter on schedule – to get the old oil out before it turns to sludge. Your manufacturer will have a recommendation for how many miles you can go between oil changes. They also usually have a number of months between recommended oil changes. That’s because the detergents and other additives in the oil break down over time. Your owner’s manual will have a recommendation for time and mileage, but you need to remember that it’s based on using the recommended weight of oil. And if your vehicle came from the factory with synthetic oil, the recommended intervals assume you continue to use synthetic. Also how you drive can have a big effect. Most owner’s manuals will have a list of driving conditions that are harder on your vehicle. Things like stop and go driving, short trips, driving in very hot or very cold weather, heavy loads and towing. If some of your driving fits this, you may need to change your oil and do other maintenance on a shorter schedule. This may sound complicated. Some vehicles have an oil life calculator that takes all of these factors into account and tells you when you should change your oil. Otherwise, talk with your service advisor about how you drive and get her recommendation for when to take care of your service. Finally, if any of the steering or suspension parts can be lubed, your technician will take care of that with a lube, oil and filter service.