How Often Should You Change Your Oil?
Part of taking good care of your car is changing the oil regularly. But exactly how often should you change your oil? The answer is that it depends. Some of the factors to consider include how old the car is, how hard you drive your car, and what the manual says. But if you’re just looking for a general estimate on when to change your car’s oil, here’s what you should know.
The Old Standard for Oil Changes Has Been Updated
The answer to the question of “how often should you change your oil?” used to be pretty simple. It was usually about every 3,000 miles, or every 3 months—whichever one came first. But times have changed, and so have the oil change standards. Now the general recommendation is about every 5,000 miles or 6 months. And it could be up to about every 7,500 miles or every 12 months if your car is new and you don’t drive it very hard. This should come as a relief since getting fewer oil changes can save you money over the years!
How Often Should You Change Your Oil in an Older Car?
If you want a more specific answer, consider the age of your car. If it’s older, you might need to pay closer attention to its maintenance needs. This is especially the case if your driving habits are hard on the car. So if your car is more than ten years old and you drive in extreme weather or do lots of stop and go driving, you might want to stick to changing your oil about every 3,000 miles or 3 months. Of course, you should also check your car’s manual to find out the manufacturer’s recommendations for how many miles you should go between oil changes.
How Often Should You Change Your Oil in a Newer Car?
If your car is only a few years old, you can almost certainly start getting less frequent oil changes. After all, many newer cars let you know when to get your next oil change, since the system takes into consideration how you drive the vehicle and what shape all the other parts are in. So you can count on your dashboard notifications to be pretty accurate about when you should change your oil. If your car doesn’t have this capability but is less than ten years old, check your owner’s manual to find out the oil change recommendation. You’ll likely find you only have to change it about every 5,000 to 7,500 miles.
Consider How You Drive Your Car
While most people can now change their oil less frequently than before, there are some drivers who should continue the old schedule of changing it about every 3,000 miles. If your driving conditions are harsh, your car will need more maintenance. So if you take lots of short rides, such as five miles or less, you’re putting more strain on your car than if you took longer rides. Also, if you drive in extremely hot or cold weather a lot, or if your area is very dusty or salty, your car might need some extra care. And if you tow a trailer or transport heavy items often, frequent oil changes would be helpful. However, if you’re the typical commuter who drives on the freeway every day for dozens of miles in mild weather, you probably don’t have to change your oil every 3,000 miles.
Regardless of how often you should change your oil, make sure you check it regularly to find out if you need to top it off. Even if you don’t have to change it often, it might still be a little low between oil changes, so check your oil at least once a month. You want to make sure you don’t have an oil leak or other car problems!