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How often should I REALLY change my oil?

 
Your car is an investment that you will want to protect if you would like to avoid unneeded problems, but it's also your source of transportation each day. If you want to get the most from your car, then taking care of it is a vital piece of the puzzle that you can't overlook. But when it comes to preventative maintenance, people are often left wondering what steps they should take to keep their cars running well for as long as they can. Getting an oil change is one of the most important aspects of safeguarding your vehicle, but not everyone knows how often they should go to the local repair shop for an oil change.

The Current Myth

If you are like most drivers on the road, someone has told you to change your oil at least every 3,000 miles. Taking a look at this myth and its origin can help you make your decision with confidence. For example, some studies have shown that changing your oil every 3,000 miles does not increase the performance or longevity of your engine. As a result of this discovery, some people are starting to view this common myth as a way for repair garages to bring in extra revenue, but there is more to it than that.

Consult Your Manual

Because cars are not all created equal, the answer for one model could be different from the solution for another. To get a clear picture, consider taking a look at your car's manual. When you do so, you can find the exact number of miles that you can safely travel before you need to stop for an oil change. People are often shocked when they discover that they can drive their car for up to 5,000 miles or more. Waiting an extra few weeks between your oil changes can help you save a lot of money each year, and although it might not seem like much, it can add up over time.

The Exception to the Rule

Like anything else, there are exceptions to the rule that relates to changing the oil in your car. Although you can safely exceed the 3,000-mile standard in many cases, there are times at which you will need to change your oil more often than normal. If you put your car under a lot of stress, you will want to get it serviced every 3,000 miles. For example, people who live in the city and are forced to stop and accelerate frequently will deplete their oil sooner than those who don't.

Older Cars

When your goal is to determine how often you need to change your oil, the age of your car is another factor at which you should look. Older cars are not as efficient as their younger counterparts and will need more attention. Also, you can use oil that is designed for older vehicles, and it will work wonders when it comes to extending the life of your car.

Checking Your Oil

When most drivers open the hood to check their oil, they only focus on the amount of oil that is left in the car, which is a mistake. The color of the oil can give you clues to when it's time for you to get it changed. When it's new, oil will be light brown in color, but it will become dark over time. If your oil looks black, you will know that you need to take action quickly to prevent damage.

Warning Signs

When you live a busy life, forgetting to change your oil when needed is easy, but knowing the warning signs for which you should look can keep you out of trouble. If you notice a light on your dashboard that indicates low oil pressure, stop your vehicle and add oil as soon as you can. The engine of your car can also sound louder than usual when you are in need of an oil change. Continuing to drive your car when the oil is low can destroy your engine. No matter how tempting, don't ignore the red flags if you care about the performance of your car.

Final Thoughts

Although the 3,000-mile standard is not set in stone, it is a general rule that you can use if you don't know your manufacturer's recommendations. Those who put their cars in stressful situations will want to stick to frequent oil changes to stay safe. Even when you proactively keep your car in great condition, unexpected events can cause problems, so you should make checking your oil a habit. When everything else fails, an oil indicator light or a loud engine can alert you to the problem. By keeping these tips at the front of your mind, you will keep your car running efficiently without breaking your budget.
Categories: Service, Body Shop

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