Ask a Technician: How Often Should I Get My Oil Changed?
It's a common question that many people disagree on: How often do I really need to get the oil changed in my car? ( And why?)
Common Oil Lifespans
Back in the day, you had to change your oil every 3,000 miles. But new formulations of oil have longer lifespans and don’t have to be changed as frequently. Typically, you’ll change your oil every 5,000 to 7,000 miles.
Why Do I Need To Change My Oil at All?
Oil not only lubricates your engine, it cleans as it goes. All sorts of gunk gets created as an engine runs and oil picks up the debris as it travels through your engine. That’s why your dipstick starts off dripping with an amber liquid and ends up covered in black sludge.
Also, over time, oil breaks down. It loses its lubricating power as it gets dirty from picking abrasive deposits. It has a lifecycle, in other words. And be sure to keep in mind the fact that while newer synthetic oils last longer than their traditional counterparts do, they have to be changed eventually as well.
Vehicle Oil Change Schedules May Vary
It’s generally advisable to follow the guidelines in your owner’s manual, especially if your car is under warranty. Some newer cars will even have a flexible oil change schedule based on the type of driving you do. Some of the factors that affect the life of the oil in your car include: stop-and-go driving, hot weather or excessive heat, towing heavy loads, or anything that puts an extra strain on the engine.
Typically, the computer will warn you when it’s time to change your oil. But don’t rely on it. Even if you haven’t covered the minimum number of miles, oil ages and absorbs moisture. So, you should probably change it at least once a year regardless of mileage.
Remember, routine oil changes can extend the life of your engine, make it run more efficiently and maintain your resale value. It’s a small thing, and according to Client, one well worth doing.