Most everyone knows that regular oil changes prolong engine life and help avoid expensive repairs but how often should you really change your oil? Here's some information to help you set the right interval.
Your vehicle manufacturer will publish a recommended oil change interval in your vehicles owner's manual. If you don't change the oil at least as often as recommended during the warranty period you may void some warranty protection. Manufacturer's recommendations generally range from 3,000 to 10,000 between oil changes.
Most recommendations, aside from owner's manuals, fall between 3,000 and 5,000 miles. Aside from prolonged engine life, an additional benefit to more frequent oil changes is it gives your mechanic (assuming you generally take your vehicle to the same place for maintenance and repairs) a regular opportunity to give your vehicle a quick check up.
Whether you change your oil at 3,000 or 5,000 miles depends on how you drive and under what conditions.
- If you drive a lot of your miles in stop and go traffic and tend to accelerate quickly you will need more frequent oil changes.
- If the temperatures where you drive are extremely hot or cold your oil will break down sooner.
- Exposure to dirt and dust will also cause your oil to loose its ability to lubricate. So, if you drive on dirt roads with any frequency, change your oil more often.
- Carrying heavy loads will make your engine work harder which in turn demands more of your oil.