The oil in your car is probably not something you think about all the time, but it is a very important item that helps your car run smoothly and not overheat. Over time, oil can degrade and become dirty, making it less effective. That is why it is important to get your oil changed and allow fresh oil to run through your car. Read on to learn all about oil changes and when to get them!
In short, we recommend getting your oil changed every 3,000 miles, with some newer cars being able to last around 5,000 miles in between changes. While there are some oils and filters that last longer, changing your oil frequently keeps your engine properly lubed and running smoothly.
Don’t drive your car that often? The other key indicator of when to get your oil changed is time in between oil changes. For standard cars, you’ll want to change your oil roughly every 3 months (if you don’t hit the 3,000 mile mark first). And for newer cars, you’ll want to bring your car in every 6 months.
Keep in mind that you’ll want to bring your car in at either the 3,000 mile limit or after 3 months; whichever comes first. This ensures your oil stays clean and your car runs smooth.
Out of sight out of mind is likely how you feel about your oil if your car starts and runs with no issues. It can be very easy to let those few months or thousand miles pass by and not remember to get an oil change.
An easy way to remember how many miles you’ve gone in between oil changes is to use your car’s odometer. They usually have trip trackers that you can reset when you leave the lube shop. This will help you to remember how many miles it has been since you’ve last stopped to get your oil changed.
Another great way is to take a look at the sticker your lube shop gives you to know when you last stopped in. They will likely place it on the inside of your windshield so you know what mileage you’ll be at when it’s time for another change.
One habit you’ll want to get into is checking your oil frequently. Oil leaks can start slow but turn into a huge problem if not caught in time, and you don’t want to be driving without the right amount of oil. Checking your oil in between changes helps to make sure you’ve got the right amount of oil in your car.
As for how often you should be checking your oil, at the very least you’ll want to check it once a month. Castrol recommends checking your oil once a week for older cars, and every other week for newer models. Fortunately, newer model cars have oil sensors that trigger a warning on your dashboard if your oil gets low, but it’s not a bad idea to pop the hood and check manually just in case.
Checking your oil is simple and only takes a few minutes. Here’s how:
Make sure your car is warm and on level ground (checking it on an incline can cause the dipstick to read at different levels).
Turn your car off and let it sit for a few minutes to allow the oil to settle.
Pop the hood and pull out the dipstick.
Wipe the dipstick clean, then reinsert it fully. Let it sit for a couple seconds.
Pull out the dipstick again and check the level. If it is in between the two markings, your oil is good. If it is below the lower mark, you’ll want to add more oil or get your oil changed.
Oil helps keep your engine’s moving components lubricated and functioning correctly. As oil begins to age, it can degrade and become less effective. That means that your car’s components will be less lubricated, causing extra heat to build up, warping of the parts, and an increase in wear and tear.
Eventually, these parts will become so damaged that they cause serious damage to your car. And if the oil isn’t replaced, it can destroy your entire engine, which costs thousands of dollars to replace. That is why it is important to keep the right amount of fresh oil in your car at all times.
Typically when you come into a lube shop, you’ll be asked what type of oil you’d like: conventional or synthetic. It’s not immediately clear what the differences are, other than usually synthetic costs more. But why is that?
Synthetic oils are actually better for your car. There’s a host of reasons why you would want to choose synthetic oil over conventional oil, including:
Lower levels of friction, helping your car’s parts to stay in top shape longer.
Additives help to clean the engine while it runs, reducing or preventing engine deposits.
It is better made, which allows it to run smoother, burn cleaner, and thicken more slowly.
Synthetic oil lasts much longer than conventional oil, meaning fewer oil changes with no issues.
Fewer emissions and better fuel economy.
So while it may be cheaper upfront to run conventional oil in your car, the synthetic oils will help keep your car at peak performance for longer while giving you the luxury of fewer oil changes.
Oil changes are a very important aspect of maintaining the quality and life of your vehicle, and should not be skipped. When it comes down to it, getting your oil changed frequently could help prevent more serious issues down the road. It also helps to get your oil changed at a lube shop that inspects your car while changing your oil. This will help to catch additional problems before they become expensive.