Oil Changes: How Often Are They Really Necessary?

Having a routine oil change is an essential part of your car’s maintenance, yet many motorists put it off, going weeks or months past their service due date.

Finding the time to see your mechanic for an oil change can be difficult, but that’s not the reason most vehicle owners cite for their procrastination. More often, it’s simply a matter of finance and a tight budget. Fortunately, today’s automotive technology may let you go longer between visits.

Either way, regular oil changes save you money — sometimes lots of money — over the life of your car.

The Underlying Consequences of Dirty Oil

While technology has definitely improved motor oil, you still must change it periodically. If it is not changed frequently enough, dirty or degraded oil can damage the very engine components it is supposed to protect.

When oil gets old, its lubricating capacity breaks down, and over time, it becomes a slow-moving, dirty sludge that clogs up the works. Although fresh oil is clean, clear and light amber-colored, it becomes noticeably darker within just a few days. Consequently, most of us can’t tell just by looking when it’s time for service.

If you delay too long, however, you can ultimately cause significant damage to your car’s engine, potentially costing hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars to repair or replace.

But how long is too long?

Whom to Believe?

At most repair shops, the standard recommended interval for oil changes is 3,000 miles. When you bought your vehicle, however, the salesperson may have told you something different. Some less-than-reputable salespeople tell potential buyers that their vehicles only require an oil change every 5,000 or 7,500 miles, in an attempt to make the sale.

Even the manufacturer’s recommended intervals may not be accurate, depending on the car’s age and condition, the weather and your driving habits. If you drive an older vehicle, or if your vehicle regularly endures harsh driving conditions (such as driving in extremely hot weather, for short durations or at slower speeds) you may need to see your mechanic more frequently.

Less Often but Still Necessary

If your car is less than 10 years old, well-maintained and you don’t treat it harshly on the road, you may indeed be able to extend the time between oil changes. Some types of synthetic oil also allow for more time between service visits, but they are more expensive.

The safest and most effective way to determine how often you should have your vehicle’s oil changed is to talk with your mechanic. Explain your driving patterns and maintenance schedule, and ask for a specific and accurate recommendation. If you change your oil regularly, you can potentially double the life of your engine and can keep your vehicle running more efficiently for a longer time.

If you live in the Midvale, Utah, area, contact the maintenance experts at Viking Automotive. We pride ourselves on open communication with our customers, and we will never suggest any service you don’t need. We know that preventive maintenance is the key to keeping your repair costs low and avoiding unexpected breakdowns. Contact us to schedule your oil change today.

 

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