Oil can be a bit of a tricky thing. Most people don’t think about it until it’s too late. In this article, we’ll go into detail around the right time to change your car’s oil, how often you should change it, as well as what the best oil type is for your car.
1. When You Should Change Your Oil
When should you change your oil? The answer to this and to a lot of car-related questions is the same – Check the owner’s manual as Take 5 Oil Change says that you should always do this first. Don’t make assumptions based on your own past experiences and be wary of mechanics who profit from the work, and times have changed. There are so many newer car models on the market and so much in the way of technological advancements, they can’t possibly know what to do for all of the cars out there.
Many newer car models now have service reminders that alert drivers on the monitor when it is time to change their oil. These systems track how far and hard the car has been driven and adjusts the math accordingly. It is important to change your oil soon after the oil change alert to avoid damage to your car.
2. How Often You Should Check Your Oil Level
It is important that you keep an eye on your car’s oil levels. Even newer cars need a top-up between changes. It is recommended that you check your oil level at least once a month and repair any leaks as soon as you spot them.
Check if your car has a dipstick or an electric oil monitor in your manual. If you have a dipstick, make sure that the car is parked on level ground when you’re checking it yourself. If the engine has been running, be advised that you will have some hot spots. Show due caution.
When the engine is off, open the car’s hood and locate the dipstick. Pull it out and wipe it clean, removing any oil from its end. Then put it back into its tube in the engine and push it all the way back in.
Then, pull it back out, and this time you can take a reading. Look at where the oil is on the dipstick. The maximum and minimum indicators will differ depending on the type of car you have. If the oil level is between the max and min levels, you are fine, but if it is below the minimum mark then you will need to add some more oil. If everything is okay you can insert the dipstick back into its tube, and once you’ve made sure that it is secure and fully seated you can close the hood.
Pay attention to the color of the oil. It should be brown or black. If it looks milky, this could mean that you have an issue with the engine. Another thing to look out for is tiny metal particles. The presence of them could indicate internal engine damage. If your oil looks strange, take it to a mechanic for a diagnosis.
3. How Often To Change The Oil In Your Car
There are some who swear by the 3,000 miles or every 3 months rule, but newer engines, as well as technological advances in oil, have made this rule quite unnecessary and even obsolete. Your manual will tell you that you probably only need an oil change at intervals of 7,500 or even 10,000 miles, or every 6 or 12 months for time.
Your manual has more detailed information about your car than a mechanic does, so it is important that you don’t get talked into changing your oil too often. Stick to what your manual says and you’ll have a healthy car that is well-lubricated and performs well.
It isn’t just about miles though. If you don’t drive your car that often, the oil still needs to be kept fresh. If you find that you drive fewer miles than your automaker suggests changing the oil, it is still important that you get it changed twice a year. Oil becomes less effective as it ages, and if healthy levels of oil are not maintained you can severely shorten your engine life.
4. How To Choose the Right Oil for Your Vehicle
Consult your owner’s manual. It isn’t really necessary to use synthetic oil if you don’t need to. In most newer cars, the weight of your car’s oil is printed on the cap where you add oil.
If you have a much older car and don’t have a manual, check online forums, or even with a local dealer for what is recommended.
We hope that this list has been helpful and that it has answered any questions you may have around when to change the oil in your car.