All of us drivers grew up hearing the guideline to change the oil in our car or truck at least every 3,000 miles or risk damaging the engine. But, as technology has improved and engines have become more efficient, some manufacturers have lengthened the time between servicing and different makes and models could have varying guidelines.
The rule of thumb for a regular oil change these days is to consult your owners’ manual and follow the manufacturer’s recommendation.
Of course, that means we need to read – or at least, skim through – that owners’ manual! But, this is important enough to take a few minutes and get it right, for the life of our vehicles.
Owners’ manuals for almost all makes and models, going back for many model years, are available online now, so there’s no excuse for not knowing your manufacturer’s suggested oil change schedule, even if your original manual is lost or damaged.
All about Oil
To boil it all down to a basic truism, dirty oil can’t do its work as well as clean oil does; and really dirty oil can actually do more harm than good. Over time, beneficial additives will evaporate, contaminants will collect, water will enter and form sludge, and the old oil will contain increasing amounts of abrasive particles that wear away the very parts of your engine that the oil is supposed to protect.
This cumulative destruction of the beneficial qualities of oil is why scheduling a regular oil change is so important, and why neglecting that oil change will come back to kick you in the wallet.
It’s a fact that all oil will look pretty dark already, just a few days after an oil change, so you can’t go by appearance as an indicator of when an oil change is due. To keep from waiting too long, it’s necessary to keep a record of the last service appointment and be proactive about scheduling your next oil change before it’s past the suggested interval.
Believe it or not, some professionals recommend an oil change every 1,000 miles in extreme operating conditions! What are extreme conditions?
- A lot of stop-and-go driving in city-block or rush-hour traffic
- A lot of short trips every day where the engine cools down between trips and you don’t drive at highway speeds
- Constant driving in extremely hot weather or in blowing dust or dirt
- Towing or hauling heavy loads all the time
- If your vehicle is older, you may need to follow the 3,000-mile rule
Just consult the professionals at Xpress Lube for guidance about extreme operating conditions.
Some vehicle manufacturers advise an oil change every 5,000 miles and others recommend every 7,500 miles or even more, but those guidelines are based on perfect driving conditions. So, never, ever, go longer than the recommended interval. At Xpress Lube, our expert mechanics will help you keep up with a schedule that is best for your vehicle.