It’s important that you don’t forget about changing your oil. Maintaining your car and keeping it in good condition is very important. One of the questions we get asked a lot is how often should you be changing your car’s oil? Well, it all depends. But our auto technicians at Dakota Ridge Automotive in Littleton can help you answer that question.
Changing your car’s oil is not very time-consuming, it’s fairly easy and it’s not too expensive. So, there’s no excuse not to do it. If you don’t, it will shorten the life of your engine. But we’re back to the same question, how often should it be changed?
The best thing to do is to look at the car manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule for oil changes for your model. They know what works best for your vehicle. If you still have the owner’s manual that came with your car, check there first. Most people just keep the manual in their glove box so it is handy for an easy reference. If your car is a used car or you don’t have the manual anymore, you can usually find the recommended oil change schedule online on the car’s manufacturer’s website.
Some people will recommend an oil change within a set period of time for all vehicles, but not all cars and trucks are the same. Different vehicles require different times for oil changes depending on the age of the vehicle, mileage, and vehicle usage. Of course, more frequent oil changes are fine.
One important reason to change your car’s oil is to cut friction. After some time, your car’s oil gets contaminants and loses its viscosity (the ability to flow). Those contaminants create friction when parts rub together. If your car has a lot of friction it can wear the parts out faster, sometimes causing major problems with your engine. You definitely don’t want this because the damage might require an engine overhaul or replacement.
You should always know when your next oil change is scheduled. Don’t wait for the low oil light to come on before you think about an oil change. When the light goes on it could already be causing damage to your engine.
It used to be that everyone got their car’s oil changed every 3,000 to 3,500 miles. But now, because of better engine mechanical parts and better oil, you can usually go twice as long between oil changes.
Some automakers recommend synthetic oil for some vehicles. It can cost a little bit more but it may help prolong your oil life. With synthetic oil, your car can usually last up to 7,000 to 10,000 miles between changes. Remember, you should always use the factory-recommended oil.
If you have a lot of cold starts, are in extreme heat, do a lot of towing, and go on multiple short trips under four miles, it may shorten the oil life. Any of these driving conditions could shorten your service interval by 25 to 40 percent.
Although some people don’t understand this, when to get your oil changed depends on more than just the number of miles you’ve driven. If you have a maintenance reminder on your dash it uses the car’s computers to track time and mileage.
Some dash maintenance reminders use an electronic sensor to measure the oil quality, and others use an algorithm based on driving metrics to determine your oil life. If your car doesn’t have the dash reminder, you can always go back to your owner’s manual for guidance. You can also check the little sticker in the corner of the windshield that tells you when to schedule an oil change.
Oil changes help your engine run better, but how often should you be changing your car’s oil is not cut and dry. It’s not just mileage, and you have to factor other things into answer your question. But our auto technicians at Dakota Ridge Automotive in Littleton are ready to help you with oil changes, complete maintenance, and any repairs. Bring us your car, truck, or SUV and we can get your oil changed quickly.