If you ask ten people how often they are supposed to have the oil in their vehicles changed, most will say “every 3,000 miles.” But is this rule of thumb really true?
There was a time when changing your oil this often did make sense. In those days, if you left the motor oil in the crankcase too long, it turned to sludge. However, this was back when motor oils were not as advanced as they are now.
Under the best driving conditions, some full synthetic oils can be safe up to 12,000 miles, yet most car owners still have 3,000 miles on the brain. The best advice is to check the manufacturers recommended service schedules for your vehicle, they are located in the owner’s manual. Ford, VW, and Porsche recommend oil changes at a 10,000-mile interval for some models, as does Toyota on certain engines. However, BMW says owners who use full synthetic oil can go 15,000 miles between changes.
Certain driving conditions may shorten your vehicle’s manufacturers recommended interval. Most vehicles will require more frequent oil changes in heavy duty conditions such as stop-and-go driving, short distance driving, lots of idling, rough roads, or temperature extremes. In other words, if you spend a lot of time commuting in heavy traffic, waiting in long pick up lines at school, or driving like a taxi, your oil may need changing more often.
Did you know, short trips mean your oil doesn’t get warm enough to trap most contaminants, and as a result, that makes brief trips around town count as severe driving conditions as well? Your trusted automotive repair shop or technicians can help you determine what your driving conditions are and how that affects your recommended oil change interval.
Another source of confusion about oil change mileage intervals is a lack of understanding about oil changes and oil filter changes. The rule is: the oil filter needs to be changed every time the oil is. But that’s only half the battle. Not all filters are created equal. You will also need an oil filter that can match your vehicle’s extended drain interval. Remember, the filter is what gets rid of the nasty debris and grime that could be circulating through the engine. If your filter doesn’t match the extended drain oil interval, it can become clogged, stop filtering the oil, and thereby circulating dirty oil through your vehicle’s engine. Make sure to ask your local auto repair facility or technician about their extended drain interval filter.
To learn more about the best ways to take care of your vehicle for the long road, visit MightyAutoParts.com, a leading provider of quality auto parts to honest auto technicians across the country.