We all know that you need to get your oil changed every 3,000 – 5,000 miles, but why? You bring your car to the shop and sit there tapping the floor with your foot wondering why it’s taking so long, trying to decide how long you can delay before your next oil change. Then there’s the bill.
Luckily, getting your oil changed is one of the least expensive Despite it being relatively inexpensive, having your oil changed regularly and on schedule plays a critical role in preserving your vehicle and saving you money.
How Often Should You Change Engine Oil
Depending on vehicle age, type of oil, and driving conditions, oil change intervals will vary. It used to be normal to change the oil every 3,000 miles, but with modern lubricants, Inspection Express today has recommended oil change intervals of 5,000 to 7,500 miles. Moreover, if your car’s engine requires full-synthetic motor oil, it might go as far as 15,000 miles between services! You cannot judge engine oil condition by color, so follow the factory maintenance schedule for oil changes.
Oil Change Intervals – Older Cars
Older cars typically have oil change intervals based on mileage, and have two maintenance schedules, one for cars driven in “normal” operation and another for those used in “severe service.” The latter category involves operating your car under one or more of the following conditions:
- Primarily short trips (5 miles or less)
- Extremely hot, cold, or dusty climates
- Sustained stop-and-go driving
- Carrying heavy loads or towing a trailer
If your vehicle use falls under the severe service definition in your owner’s manual, maintain your car using a more rigorous schedule. However, if you drive your car under normal conditions, be wary of spending hard-earned money on oil change services and other maintenance work your car may not need or benefit from.
Oil Change Intervals – Newer Cars
Most newer cars are equipped with oil-life monitoring systems that automatically determine when an oil change is needed and notify you with an alert on the instrument panel. Early simple systems are time and mileage-based, but current advanced designs analyze actual vehicle operating conditions to identify when the oil will begin to degrade. The owner’s and maintenance manuals for many newer cars eliminate “severe service” recommendations altogether because the oil-life monitoring system automatically shortens the oil change interval when it detects heavy-duty operation.
How Often to Check the Oil Level.
You should keep an eye on your car’s oil levels. Our reliability survey results have shown that even modern cars may need oil to be topped off between changes.
CR recommends checking your oil level at least once a month. Be sure to get repairs done at the first sign of a leak.
Check the owner’s manual and follow the automaker’s recommendations. Some modern cars have electronic oil monitors and don’t have traditional dipsticks for manual inspection.
Manual car oil check method
If you do have a dipstick, and you’re checking it yourself, make sure the car is parked on level ground. If the engine has been running, be aware of potential hot spots under the hood.
With the engine off, open the car’s hood and find the dipstick. Pull the dipstick out from the engine and wipe any oil off on its end. Then insert the dipstick back into its tube and push it all the way back in.
Pull it back out, and this time quickly look at both sides of the dipstick to see where the oil is in the end. Every dipstick has some way of indicating the proper oil level, whether it was two pinholes, the letters L and H (low and high), the words MIN and MAX, or simply an area of crosshatching. If the top of the oil “streak” is between the two marks or within the crosshatched area, the level is fine.
But if the oil is below the minimum mark, you need to add oil.
Pay close attention to the oil’s color. It should appear brown or black. But if it has a light, milky appearance, this could mean coolant is leaking into the engine. Look closely for any metal particles, too, because this could mean there is internal engine damage. If you see either of these conditions, get the car to a mechanic for further diagnosis.
If everything is okay, wipe off the dipstick again and insert it back into its tube, making sure it’s fully seated. Close the hood and you’re done.
Choosing the Right Oil for Your Car.
Again, take a look at your owner’s manual. “Don’t be upsold into synthetic oil if there is no need,” Ibbotson says.
In many newer models, the weight of your car’s motor oil is printed on the cap where you add oil. “Make sure you know what’s recommended or required by your automaker before you visit your mechanic so that you can control the cost of the oil they’re putting in,” he says.
If you have a much older car, do you need special motor oil? “Not if it’s running well,” Ibbotson says. “If you’re not sure what oil you should be using because you don’t have an owner’s manual, check with your local dealer or an online enthusiast group for your particular model,” he says.
our services are Speedy service with a smile and competitive pricing is the start, but our goal is to get you on the road, safe and assured for reliability.”