How Often Should I Change My Oil?
Even the most casual of car owners know the basic routine maintenance required by an oil change. They literally use stickers in our windows to remind us that we need regular oil changes. Why? Because a regular oil change can prevent a whole list of damaging issues for your car, affect fuel efficiency, and prolong the life of your vehicle. And forgetting about oil changes can do the opposite.
An oil change is a refresh and refill of the oil in your car’s engine. This oil helps all the parts move and function properly, preventing grinding, friction, unnecessary heat, or buildup of dirt and gunk in the engine. Without the proper levels of oil the engine can struggle to operate, it can overheat, deposits can form, and your engine will be running far less efficiently.
Another benefit of an oil change is that you get professional eyes on your engine. While they’re just there to top off fluids, they may notice some major issues under the hood, issues which could need immediate attention. They may also be able to warn you against potential dangers, like brake pads wearing thin or possible leaks. You can’t get preventative care for your car unless you know to do it – and a trustworthy mechanic can help you even with a routine oil change.
There are a lot of opinions about how frequently you should get an oil change. Some say it’s not as vital as we think, and is a waste of time and money. Others believe if their car is new it doesn’t need oil changes as frequently. Some car lovers swear by extra-frequent oil changes to keep their car clean and young. What about you?
The first place to start is the manufacturer. If your vehicle has an owner’s manual, see what they recommend as the distance between oil changes. You can also find the number online for the specific make, model, and year of your vehicle. Then you need to determine if an adjustment is necessary. If you drive your car very infrequently or in very mild conditions, you may get away with slightly less frequent oil changes if you keep an eye on your engine. On the other hand, if you drive a lot or in more intense conditions you may opt for more frequent oil changes. Similarly the age or style of your car may factor into your decision – older cars often need more care.
If you’re not sure when your last oil change was – go get one right away, and then keep track. Set a goal for your oil changes and stay on top of it. Set reminders in your phone, or make a recurring appointment with your favorite tune & lube. It’s a goal well worth achieving to have a happy and healthy car.
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