Change the oil in your car as recommended by your owner’s manual. That’s all you need to know if the topic of engine oil makes your eyes glaze over. You don’t even need to read the manual yourself. Any oil-change joint worth their salt will keep track of that for you.
But, if you’re here, you want to know more. Here’s a more nuanced discussion to the somewhat controversial question, “ How often should I change my oil? ”
Why Do Cars Need Regular Oil Changes?
Oil lubricates, cools and cleans the moving parts of your vehicle’s engine. It also seals the cylinder pistons. Without oil a car engine would run a few seconds then seize up. As it works, oil collects dirt that accumulates in the engine. The dirtier the oil, the less effective it is. It’s like trying to clean your windshield with grimey water. You’ll just make the glass cloudier as you run your sponge over the window. A car lasts longer and performs better with regular oil changes.
The Truth About How Often You Need an Oil Change
Back in the day, before 1990 or so, the golden rule of oil changes was “Change your oil every 3,000 miles or every 3 months, whichever comes first.” That rule no longer holds true in every situation. It’s stuck in the minds of lots of drivers, though, because it was a mantra for decades.
Some newer cars only need an oil change between 5,000 and 10,000 miles. That’s a far cry from 3,000 miles. Why is there such a difference? Oil stays cleaner longer because of advances in engine technology, improvements in gas and oil additives.
Older cars, cars with high mileage and those that operate in severe conditions (see below) may still do best under the 3,000-mile recommendation.
Driving Habits Matter
One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to oil change frequency. For instance, if most of your trips are long drives on the highway, you’re driving habits might be categorized as either normal or mild. You can follow the upper end of the manufacturer’s recommendations.
If you mostly make short trips, you’re driving under severe conditions and will need to change your oil more frequently. Oil doesn’t have time to warm and work at its most effective during short trips. Other severe conditions include stop-and-go traffic, idling, carrying heavy loads and driving in dusty or cold environments.
Grease Monkey Offers Trustworthy Advice for Your Car
We’ll recommend the oil change service that makes sense for your car and driving habits. You don’t need an appointment, so drop in today.