How often do I need an oil change? Changing the oil in your car more frequently than necessary can be a huge waste of time, money, and resources.
You can’t overstate how important simple maintenance services are to preserving your vehicle’s safety and integrity. Something as simple as replacing your brake fluid at regular intervals can help prevent costly repairs or accidents from brake deterioration.
But there’s a lot of confusion over how often we need to perform maintenance. Oil changes are a particular point of contention.
Mechanics are asked “how often do I need an oil change” every day. And the short answer is that it depends.
In short, you need to discuss your driving habits with your service provider to come up with the most efficient service schedule.
Driving Habits Affect Oil Change Frequency
The conventional wisdom is that an oil change every three months or 3,000 miles is the standard. But over time, that figure has been challenged.
In a Scientific American article, some car experts posited that the three-month model is an invention that mostly benefits dealerships and auto shops. The more often you come in, the more often they get to charge you, after all.
On the other end of the spectrum, some are advancing the idea that if you don’t drive frequently, you may only need to change oil every 2 years.
The operative phrase there is “if you don’t drive frequently”. If you want that 2 year oil change interval, you need to weigh how often you drive and how far.
So How Often Do I Need An Oil Change?
While we tend to think in terms of oil change time vs mileage, how we tend to drive may be more important.
Most of the wear and tear your engine experiences when you start the vehicle. So if you do a lot of short-distance driving, making frequent stops while running errands, you wind up putting a lot of strain on the engine. In this case, you may need to change your oil more frequently.
At the same time, highway driving is good for your engine. Driving high, steady speed builds up enough heat in the engine to evaporate the condensation that would otherwise build up in the system. This condensation causes oil to break down faster and builds up more during city driving when you’re not getting up to high speeds for long periods.
The type of oil that you use also plays a role. Synthetic oil, though more expensive, has a longer lifespan than standard oil. If you use synthetic, you could go up to 10,000 miles in some vehicles before you need a change.
In short, it’s important for you to discuss your driving habits with your service provider to come up with the most efficient service schedule.
Set the Right Maintenance Schedule for Your Lifestyle
Routine maintenance is integral to ensuring a vehicle is in good working order and maintaining its value. Kelley Blue Book recommends even keeping receipts from maintenance services to demonstrate a track record of good care.
So knowing “how often do I need an oil change” is crucial to preventing breakdowns and maintaining value for when it’s time to upgrade to something better.
Our technicians can work with you to get the full picture of your driving habits and maintenance needs. To see how we can help you keep your vehicle up and running, check out our full list of services.