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How Often Should You Really Change Your Oil?

By Harvey

At one time, it was considered common wisdom the people should change the engine oil of their cars every three months, or every 3,000 miles. However, that has all changed due to the advances in manufacturing and engine design that have taken place over the past several years. Better quality oils are now needed for your vehicle. As such, the old advice is outdated. There are many cars now that can drive up to 10,000 miles without an oil change in between. The majority of cars today are designed to use either a synthetic blend oil or full synthetic oil, which tends to last longer before it goes through a viscosity breakdown.

Research by Edmunds states the most car makers recommend that you have an oil change every 7,500 or every 10,000 miles, although some say it should be every 5,000 miles. According to Ford Motor Company, people who exhibit typical driving frequencies and own vehicles that were made in 2008 or later should change their oil every 6 months or 7500 miles, whichever one comes first. The ones who own vehicles made in 2007 and before should change the oil every 6 months or 5000 miles, whichever happens to come first.

People who have driving habits that are not so typical should change their oil every 6 months or 5,000 miles, whichever comes first, with a vehicle from 2008 or later. If the vehicle is from 2007 or earlier, it should be every 3 months or 3,000 miles, whichever comes first. Basically, what is considered to be less typical in terms of driving habits includes a great deal of driving in dusty conditions, driving at low speeds for long distances, excessive idling, carrying heavy loads or towing, or frequent off-road driving. Any of these introduce new variables that make it so that it would be better to change your oil a little bit more often. The type of driving that will consume the most oil in a short time is driving for short distances below the speed that you would drive on the highway.

While there is no longer the same need to change your oil as frequently as before, there are a few mechanics who say it is good to replace oil just because it gives them the chance to look at your car more often and potentially spot other sorts of issues that have to do with routine maintenance, such as replacing the brakes or timing belt. Simply put, having an oil change just means that your mechanic is looking at your vehicle more often and will have more of a chance of seeing problems as they come up before the problems go out of control.

If you want to make sure that you are changing your oil as often as you should, you should check the owner’s manual that came with your car or talk with a mechanic that has the appropriate expertise and experience. It will vary from person to person and car to car, so you should not take any rules of thumb and just automatically apply them to yourself before taking the time to educate yourself about what your specific car’s make and model will actually need.