Vehicle Maintenance 101: Oil Change

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Changing my Oil

When Should I Change my Oil?

Most vehicle manufacturers recommend changing the oil in your vehicle once a year or every 7,500 miles, and some even recommend every 10,000 miles in passenger cars and light truck gasoline engines.   For diesel engines and turbocharged gasoline engines, the usual recommendation is every 3,000 miles or six months.

There seems to be some mixed feelings and ideas on this.  If you ask different companies you may get an answer stating that this is for vehicles which are driven under ideal circumstances.  What exactly are ideal circumstances?  What we consider normal driving may actually be considered severe driving in certain states.  Stop and go traffic and frequent short trips in cold weather, driving at highway speeds in hot weather and dusty or gravel roads and carrying heavy loads are all severe driving.  For this type of driving it is recommended that you change your oil every 3000 miles. This is not to say that everyone needs to start changing their oil every 3000 miles.  If you primarily drive on the interstate and have a newer car you should probably follow your manufacturers recommendations.  Most newer cars come equipped with an oil monitoring system and a light inside the car will come on to let you know when it is time to change the oil.  A new engine can probably go 7,500 miles between oil changes.  Manufacturers have developed new technology and have created better engines, but they can’t ride with you and make you drive better, nor do they know your driving habits, a good estimate and, what we recommend is to change your oil every 5ooo miles.

Why Change the Oil?

As miles build up more unburned fuel is dumped into the crankcase diluting the oil and causing the oil to break down.  Not changing the oil often enough causes accelerated wear and engine problems.  Oil breaks down due to high operating temperatures, causing a loss of lubrication and without enough lubrication those engine parts rub against each other and wear out.   Also remember to check your oil levels between oil changes because eventually all engines will burn oil, so you may avoid an engine meltdown one day.