Oil Change Intervals Tips – How Often Oil Changes Should Be Done
The short answer: Every 3,500 or so miles.
But why is that? Many people, and even some car manuals, claim much higher oil change intervals. However, knowing when to change your oil is based on a number of factors.
How you drive your car, for example, is an important factor in deciding oil change intervals. Driving your car under “ideal conditions” means lower oil change intervals – perhaps every 6,000 miles or more. Unfortunately, you probably drive in “ideal conditions” rarely. An auto engine runs at its best and most efficient going about 65 MPH in moderate weather. Almost any other condition is considered an “extreme” or “severe service condition.” For example, although stop-and-go traffic may be uneventful for you, it’s really tough work for your engine. Other extreme conditions include short trips (about less than 10 miles), idling, driving in dusty conditions, and driving at sustained highway speeds in hot weather (here in Florida, that’s a large part of the year). Your auto manual will usually differentiate between ideal and extreme conditions and recommend oil change intervals for each. Typically, using your car in extreme conditions requires an oil change about every 3,500 miles or so.
The type of oil you use can also affect oil change intervals. Synthetic oil resists breakdown and sludge problems better than regular oil, so it usually needs to be changed less often.
Also, changing the oil filter is just as important as changing the oil. The oil filter keeps particles collected from the road or formed in the oil from reaching the engine. Without it, dirty oil would run through your engine like liquid sandpaper – accelerating engine wear. Even if you oil is new and clean, the gunk left in an old filter can change that pretty fast. That’s why it’s important to always change your oil and oil filter at the same time.
The Tire Choice & Total Car Care is happy to help you determine your oil change intervals and maintenance schedule by asking you questions about your driving habits and inspecting your vehicle. Stop by our Special Offers and Promotions section to print oil change coupons and specials on all the services we offer.