Oil plays a central role in the proper functioning of your engine. In fact, it's so important that if you were to drive with little or no oil, it would destroy your engine. How is that possible?

Oil serves essentially two purposes for your engine. You may think only your coolant system keeps your engine cool, but oil also serves to keep the temperature of your engine down. It absorbs heat and draws the heat away from the moving parts of your engine.

Oil also serves to lubricate the moving parts of your engine. The clearance between these moving parts may only be thousandth of an inch. And yet this thin film of oil between these parts keeps them from rubbing against each other.

Without oil to keep your engine cool and lubricated, those metals parts will heat up to critical levels. Add a lack of lubrication and those metal parts can actually fuse together. At that point, your engine is useless. That's how important oil is to your engine.

Like anything else, oil is only effective for a time, 5,000 to 10,000 miles typically. Over time, contaminants collect in your oil, with the potential to score the inside of your engine. Also, oil simply loses its effectiveness. Waiting too long to get an oil change may not cause you any trouble right now, but it can shorten the lifespan of your engine considerably.

It's also important to maintain proper levels of oil in your engine. Over time, vehicles inevitably begin to burn oil. Low levels of oil not only means that there is less oil to do the work that needs to be done but it also means low oil pressure, and low pressure means that the oil that is in your engine is not getting to all of the nooks and crannies.

Getting regular oil changes is one of the best ways to ensure that your vehicle will operate at optimum levels well into the future.