Car Maintenance: How Often Should You Change Your Oil?

Everyone knows that car oil must regularly be changed at reasonable intervals to ensure that the vehicle will run smoothly.

If the oil in the engine becomes dark, its additives can boil out, and the contaminants may form and eat the automobile’s metal parts. Over time, water collects inside and can build a sludge.

Also, the darker oil will tend to hold more abrasive metal particles that become suspended in it. Then, these particles can wear the engine parts that the oil is initially designed to protect.

A key component of car maintenance, you can get about twice the mileage if you change your engine oil regularly. But the question now is: How often should you change your oil? Let’s find out in this article.

 

Mechanic teaching a car owner basic car maintenance.

 

     1.     Change Oil Every 1,000 to 3,000 Miles For Older Car Models

When driving under extreme conditions, some recommend changing your engine oil every 1,000 to 3,000 miles, especially if you own an older car model.

Here are some of the extreme conditions that will make you think to change your oil every 1,000 to 3,000 miles:

  • When you drive most of the time in rush-hour traffic in the city, you need to change your oil every 1,000 to 3,000 miles. Another reason is when you spend most of your time driving in scorching weather, in areas with dirt, or while having heavy loads most of the time.
  • Having lots of short trips in a day that leaves the vehicle parked for long hours may enable the engine to cool down and fail to evaporate the water that builds in the crankcase and forms a sludge.

 

     2.     Change Oil Every 5,000 Miles Or Every Six Months

Indeed, newer car models can run longer miles using the same oil versus the older ones. Also, engine oil has become more efficient, and you can use it for a more extended period for new cars.

However, you might want to change your engine oil every six months or 5,000 miles, whichever comes first. Change your oil based on your car’s optimum operating conditions.

 

     3.     Change Oil Depending On The Manual’s Recommendations

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For newer car models, experts recommend following the recommendation time in the manual for changing the engine oil.

Newer car models have pre-installed oil-life monitoring systems that help drivers determine when the engine oil needs changing. The technology reminds the owners of the oil that needs replacement due to an alert that shows in the instrument panel.

Older car models base the changing of oil on the mileage and the time. However, due to advanced automobile designs, you can analyze the condition of the car and when the oil will degrade.

Here are other reasons why it’s best to go by the manual to determine when your new car needs its oil changed:

  • The manuals for many of the newer car models eliminate the recommendations for ‘severe service.’ It is because the monitoring system of the life of the engine oil can shorten the interval for an oil change, especially in heavy-duty operation.
  • The majority of the engines will use less than ¼ of oil in between changes while others can use more than ¼ in every 600 to 700 miles. Thus, you can save on the costs.

 

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[one-half]Street Wise Driving car on a tree lined country road.[/one-half]

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Technicians will usually reset the monitoring system. If you do the changing yourself, you can reboot the system with the aid of the manual provided. If you want to do manual changing yourself, it might be best to do it after receiving the right kind of training from driving institutions like Street Wise Driving or the ones in your local area.

Though newer cars require less frequent oil changes, still you must regularly check the level of the oil each month and top it up when needed.

Furthermore, this will prevent further damages to the engine since the car warranty will not cover the engine wear from low levels of oil.

Note as well that if you do not use your miles frequently and you don’t put many miles on your car, it is still advisable for you to change the engine oil every 12 months, even if the reminder date on the panel has not yet come.

 

Conclusion

In sum, there are many factors to consider in changing your engine oil such as the age of the engine, the frequency of the use of the car, and miles traveled regularly. The rate of changing the oil is indeed a case by case basis.

If you have an old car that you use frequently, then you’d be best to change your oil according to the 3,000 miles requirement. However, this requirement does not apply to car models from the year 2000 onwards.

But if you have a new car model and you use it minimally, you can opt for the oil change as stated in the manual or as per the recommendation of the manufacturer, or at 5,000 miles or six months, whichever comes first.

 

John Turner

 

[three-fifths-first]John is a driving instructor and has been teaching people how to drive for the last 20 years. When he’s not training people to drive, he’s working hard writing about his passion for Street Wise Driving. In his spare time, he loves spending time with his family.[/three-fifths-first][two-fifths]John Turner, driving instructor for Street Wise Driving.[/two-fifths]