How Often Should You Change Your Oil?

How Often Should You Change Your Oil?

The answer to this question is not cut and dry like you probably hoped it was. There are numerous factors that play into how often you should change the motor oil in your car. The first is the age of your car. For the newest model cars, manufacturers suggest changing the oil once every year or every 5,000 to 6,000 miles, whichever comes first. This may not be the frequency you are familiar with. That is because in older cars, the recommendation for how often you should change your oil is every six months or every 3,000 miles, again whichever comes first.

The next factor is the kind of motor oil your car uses. Most cars today use conventional motor oil, but synthetic motor oil will allow the car to run without changing the oil for between 10,000 to 12,000 miles under ideal driving conditions. However, most of the time, drivers do not experience ideal driving conditions, so these kinds of miles without changing the oil are quite rare. What most people consider to be "normal" driving conditions are actually categorized as "severe service" driving conditions, at least as far as your oil is concerned, shortening the interval for how often you should change your oil.

Driving conditions that put extra strain on your engine and dirty up oil vary quite a bit. The first is frequent, short trips. Many people conduct this kind of driving as they run errands around town. It is particularly bothersome to oil in cold weather conditions. The next is stop-and-go traffic. Most people know that miles put on an engine from highway travel is far less of a wear on the engine and the oil. However, the next severe service driving condition is driving at highway speeds in hot weather. The final factor that decreases the amount of time concerning how often you should change your oil is driving in dusty conditions, like on a gravel road.

Simply because you drive in these conditions does not mean you are ruining your car or causing its lifetime to be shortened. The only thing you need to be aware of is that the recommended length of time between oil changes will decrease to the standard 3,000 miles or six months. This is particularly important to obey in high mileage engines, or those over 100,000 miles. Hopefully, this guide gives you clear understanding of how often you should change your oil.


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