How Often Should I Change My Car’s Oil?


Most auto manufacturers recommend changing the oil at one year intervals or every 7,500 miles for passenger vehicles. But what the manufacturers won’t tell the public, is that 7,500 mile oil changes are advised for vehicles that are driven under ideal or “regular” driving conditions. What most of us think of as “regular” driving, is in reality “severe service” driving. This type of driving is defined as; frequent short trips of fewer than 10 miles, using your car in cold weather conditions, stop-and-go city driving, and operating the car at continued highway speeds during hot and or humid weather. For this type of driving, which in actuality is “severe service driving”, professionals recommend to change the oil every 3,000 miles or at six month intervals. For the highest protection, most oil companies advise changing the oil every 3,000 miles or within three to six month intervals, no matter what type of driving you do.

There are a number of reasons why auto manufacturers exaggerate these figures. First, newer engines can probably get by on having fewer, less frequent oil changes. But as engines accumulate mileage, it becomes more important to ensure your oil is performing its intended function. So if the oil isn’t changed often enough, your car will experience accelerated wear and tear, along with all the engine problems that come with it. These problems include loss of performance, decreased fuel economy, amplified emissions and increased oil consumption.

Second, car manufactures calculate and advertise the overall cost of ownership of their autos throughout the lifespan of the product. By requiring less frequent oil changes and maintenance services, the overall cost of vehicle ownership goes down over the lifespan of the car.

To further reduce the cost of vehicle ownership and maintenance, most car makers state your cars oil filter only needs to be changed, every other oil change service. Most mechanics will tell you this is not true and advise the filter be replaced every time the oil changed. The oil filters on most engines today have been downsized to save space, cost and weight. The “standard” quart-sized filter that was once typical on most engines has been replaced by a smaller pint sized filter. Do to the smaller size of the newer filter design, newer engines have less total filtering capacity. Even so, the smaller filters are often sufficient for a 3,000 mile oil change intervals. But the smaller filter may run out of filtering capacity long before a second oil change service at 6,000 miles. Replacing the oil filter every time the oil is changed is a highly recommended task for any automobile owner.

What does this mean to you? Let the buyer beware. It’s clear that auto manufacturers don’t always have the best interests of their customers in mind. Changing the oil in your car is one of the least expensive maintenance tasks you can do for your car. It’s good practice to get into a routine of changing your oil every 3,000 miles. It will protect your engine and help you to avoid costly repairs down the road. Find out more about car maintenance and best practices at

Source by Mark Gruchot


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