An oil change is one of the simplest and most essential preventive maintenance tasks for your vehicle, but some drivers don’t get it done when they should. That’s because they procrastinate, or they don’t know when an oil change is needed. This is a mistake that can result in expensive repairs down the road. Avoid dealing with major breakdowns by learning how often you should change the oil in your vehicle.
What Are the Benefits of a Regular Oil Change?
Your engine has many moving parts that need oil to function correctly. Oil provides sufficient lubrication to minimize friction of the engines internal parts and to reduce heat buildup. However, oil loses its viscosity over time as it absorbs by-products from engine combustion. When the oil deteriorates, it becomes less effective at reducing friction of the mechanical components in your engine, and that can cause it to overheat. Regularly replacing your oil with a fresh supply prevents the risk of damage and prolongs your engine’s life. It also ensures that your engine runs at peak efficiency.
How Often Should Oil Be Changed?
The 3,000-mile or three-month rule for changing engine oil has become obsolete for most vehicles. Due to technological advances in engine design and oil chemistry, newer vehicle models can go for as long as 6 to 12 months or 7,500 to 10,000 miles in between oil changes without damage. Refer back to your owner’s manual for the recommended maintenance interval. How often you need an oil change also depends on your vehicle’s make and model.
Why Shorter Distances Doesn’t Mean Fewer Oil Changes
Bear in mind that oil change frequency doesn’t only depend on mileage and usage. Using your car less often or taking short-distance trips doesn’t mean you'll need fewer oil replacements. By traveling infrequently, the engine fails to warm up enough and is unable to burn excess water vapor during combustion, resulting in faster oil breakdown. This also happens with excessive idling, driving at low speeds, and stop-and-go traffic, which are considered more damaging than everyday highway driving. You have to replace the oil before it causes premature engine failure.
Regular oil changes are preventive maintenance that you should never skip out on. For quality tune-ups and auto servicing, count on the ASE-certified technicians at Madison Muffler and Auto. Serving the entire community of Madison, OH, for over 50 years, they offer a wide variety of services — from tires to transmissions. Call (440) 428-2677 to schedule an appointment or send them a message online.