How Often Do You Really Need to Change your Oil?

When Should You Change Your Oil

If you’re a new vehicle owner, you are probably wondering how often to change oil. Conventional wisdom, many repair shops and service stations also strongly recommend getting your engine oil changed once you reach the 3,000 mile mark every single time.

Conventions aside, auto manufacturers all state that there’s no need to get your engine oil changed every 3,000 miles. The supposed experts who promote such frequent oil changes are those who would profit from it the most: service departments at car dealerships, quick-lube franchises, and repair shops. Determining how often to change oil will vary between manufacturers, so it’s recommended that you double-check with your owner’s manual to track your vehicle’s maintenance schedule.

In the past, having your oil and oil filter changed often was a good idea, but advancements in technology have upended that requirement. Improved engine parts, sharper tolerances, and higher oil quality have all combined to push out the recommended oil change intervals to about every 7,500 miles or more.

Companies like Volkswagen and Ford advises their customers to change their engine oil every 10,000 miles. Toyota recommends the same interval for many of the engines on its models. On the far end, BMW claims that its customers can change their oil every 15,000 miles with synthetic oil, if they choose. Again, check your owner’s manual or the maintenance schedule to figure out the frequency of your vehicle’s necessary oil changes and what kind of oil your vehicle’s engine takes.

The only times that frequent oil changes are recommended are after a sufficient amount of “severe” driving situations. These include driving in very high- or low-temperature environments, chronic stop-go driving conditions, an abundance of trailer towing, or after a lot of short-distance driving.

Extending Time Periods Between Changes

Car companies such as GM and Ford install oil-life monitors on their vehicles, informing drivers of the right time to change the engine oil based on factors like engine temperature, cold start amounts, vehicle speeds, and other conditions. There have been quite a number of cases in which the owners reported that their oil-life monitors suggested that they could keep driving past the recommended change frequency without the oil change.

In many cases, you can safely drive up to about 10,000 miles before needing an oil change. If you wait this long, be sure to have your tires rotated as well. If you choose to push out your oil change to the recommended level or even further out, make sure to check your oil level each month to ensure that you don’t run low.

To continue to change out your engine oil every 3,000 miles is very likely wasting you money, and only really benefiting the repair shop or quick-lube chain that convinced you to come to them for such frequent maintenance. Modern car manufactures have recommended longer oil change intervals because that’s what their vehicles can handle now.

Check out when is an oil leak serious here.