One of the most common questions when you have an auto repair shop. How often should I be changing my oil? The easy answer of the past is you should follow the manufacturers recommendations because the truth is, every car is different in what it needs. These are usually available on most of the manufactures websites or you should have a handout booklet where you can follow your vehicle guidelines.
The fact is, newer cars need their oil changed a lot less regular than older vehicles. The recommended guideline used to be anywhere between 3,000 and 5,000 miles. One thing to remember is, no harm can come from doing oil changes too frequent.. That being said, there is no point in changing it if it does not need to be changed, that money could be spent on other maintenance needs or saved for any future maintenance requirements.
Waiting for a low oil change light can be one of the WORST things you can do for your vehicle. Whatever oil you do have left when this light comes on, has almost certainly lost its ability to function properly. The damage these conditions can cause are often irreversible and lead to either an engine overhaul or replacement. The oils main function is to cut the friction. Friction wears out parts much faster so oil is extremely vital to the engine.
As I mentioned, cars are much smarter now. Advances in engineering (mostly to oil itself) means that its life cycle is nearly double the old number. Also, if you are using synthetic oil, this changes the frequency you need to change your oil. Synthetic oil changes are more expensive but the life cycle for a synthetic oil change is anywhere between 7,000 and 10,000 miles.
Other things that affect our oil changes include the TYPE of driving we do, the extreme heat (something we have here in AZ) and putting your vehicle through harder work such as towing. If you regularly are making small trips, this can also affect the length oil life.
Here are a few tips for you to summarize this very important, and often overlooked part of maintenance.
- Track your maintenance – when was your last oil change? When are you scheduling your next one?
- Do not buy cheap oil – a few dollars saved here and there can have longer-term affects.
- Do not put it off – going to get your oil changed is hardly a interesting job but its one that needs doing.