Most people have been conditioned to bring their cars in for an oil and filter change every 3 months or 3,000 miles, whichever comes first. And many automotive service/repair facilities, including dealerships, will stress that it is important to change your oil frequently.
This recommendation is actually a carryover from years ago when vehicle engines were not built to today’s exacting standards. Today, the fuel and ignition systems and, in some cases, the engine camshafts, are controlled by sophisticated computer controls that also contribute to a longer life span for engine lubricants. Many of the lubricants themselves are built to a much higher standard than in the past.
The engine oil performs 3 jobs:
1. Lubricates the moving parts
2. Carries heat away from the moving parts
3. Carries any debris away from the moving parts to the engine oil filter.
So how frequently do today’s engine oils and filters need to be changed? It depends! It will vary depending on the type of oil (petroleum-based vs. synthetic-based) as well as the type of driving you do. Generally, petroleum oil should be changed at the 5,000 mile/5 month interval, while top of the line synthetic oils can wait as long as 25,000 miles or one year. Many of the new cars have a computer program that tells you when an oil change is necessary based on your driving – engine speed, miles driven, and how hard the engine has been working (e.g. acceleration, driving up hills, etc.). If that oil change light appears on your dashboard, do not ignore it!
The most important thing to remember is that when you do change your oil, be sure to use good quality products. Just as with any other product, there is a varying degree of quality, and your vehicle may require a specific weight oil and type of filter. Make sure that whoever is changing your oil uses the correct and proper quality products for your vehicle. Remember, too, that choosing the lowest cost oil change increases the risk of compromising the quality of the oil and filter being used. At first you may not notice any difference in your vehicle’s performance, but over the life of your vehicle those cheap oil changes using the wrong or lower quality products could result in thousands of dollars in repair costs.
How often do you change your vehicle’s oil and oil filter? Are you using petroleum or synthetic oil in your car? Do you know which oil and filter is best for your car?
Dean’s Automotive, Inc.