No matter where you look, there are going to be varying opinions on how often you should change your car’s oil. You may hear anything from every 3,000 miles to every six months – or anything in between. It all depends on who you ask.
Other questions you may have about changing your oil may also leave you with similar confusing answers. Below, we’ll take a look at some of the most common questions surrounding changing your car’s oil.
How often should I get an oil change?
As stated above, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a definite answer for how often you need an oil change, but consulting your vehicle owner’s manual is a great place to start.
It’s important to note that oil is an absolute necessity, so it’s important to stay on top of your specific car’s needs. Your owner’s manual will address your vehicle specifically and be able to give you a more accurate idea of how often you’ll need to change the oil.
According to Car Talk, most owners’ manuals recommend oil and oil filter changes between 3,000 and 10,000 miles depending on the make and model.
How do I know if my vehicle is in need of an oil change?
If you aren’t sure of your mileage, there are a few other signs that can help you know whether or not you are due for an oil change:
- Color. New oil is a honey color and somewhat translucent. If it is dark, sludgy, and grimy, then it is time for new oil.
- Low. You should schedule an appointment with your local mechanic if your oil is below the indicator line on the dipstick.
- Light. Your car’s check engine light may come on, and this can indicate an oil change is necessary. Some newer models may also have a special light indicating low oil level. If this light comes on, you should check your oil immediately.
- Sounds. If your engine begins to make unusual noises, it could be an indication that you are past due for an oil change. Sometimes, metal shavings get worn off from engine components due to lack of oil and can cause an annoying pinging sound in the engine area.
- Memory. If you can’t remember the last time that you changed your oil, then it is probably time to do so!
In what conditions should I change my oil more often?
Some situations can cause you to need to change your oil more often. These situations include:
- Driving dirty gravel roads frequently.
- Living in incredibly hot or cold climates.
- Driving high speeds regularly or quickly accelerating often.
- Driving a car with an older engine.
- Towing heavy loads on a regular basis.
- Driving long distances on a regular basis.
Why is changing a vehicle’s oil necessary?
No matter how high the quality of your oil, eventually it will degrade. Here are a few reasons why oil is so important:
- Oil in a car is necessary for your engine to last as long as possible.
- Oil ensures proper engine lubrication, which is necessary for the car to function.
- When a car is running, small engine particles are formed and get “picked up” by the engine oil and transported to the oil filter. It is necessary to change the oil so that these particles are removed and the clean oil filter is able to absorb more particles.
- Due to the constant motion of an engine’s parts, friction is created and can reduce the lifespan of the engine due to the increased temperature. Clean oil aids in reducing wear due to friction.
- Changing the oil removes engine sludge, which is a combination of engine wear particles, dirt, and degraded engine oil.
Is there any necessary maintenance between oil changes?
Even between oil changes, it’s important to keep your vehicle’s oil maintenance on your mind. It is a good idea to check your oil level every few hundred miles to make certain there are no unexpected leaks or issues.
If the oil seems a little low, you can add more without changing out all of the oil. Just be sure not fill it up too much. If you do, the crankshaft may actually come in contact with the oil and can cause mechanical issues. Park your car on level ground before checking the oil.
Again, check your owner’s manual to determine when an oil change is necessary for your vehicle.
If you feel you may be due for an oil change, contact the Fulton service department at Callaway Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram. Our ASE-certified technicians offer professional oil changes and will inspect your vehicle for any other issues.