How Often Should I Change My Oil?

How Often Should I Change My Oil?

The accepted standard for oil changes in cars has been every three months or 3,000 miles, whichever comes first.  You probably learned this in driver’s education and has had explained to you every time you purchase a new car. Older motor oil would break down and linger, backing up the engine if it was left in there longer than prescribed.  The combination of heat, friction, and oil oxidation created an oil sludge, which, for lack of a better term “mucked up” the engine. Sludge becomes hard and often has to be scrapped or chipped off the engine. Sludge and old oil can do long term  and expensive damage to your engine. To avoid the sludge backup, it was recommended that the automobiles oil be changed every three months or 3,000 miles.

Today, cars, and their engines, operate at a higher heat. In order to meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s more rigorous standards regarding auto emissions. These new standards have led to higher combustion temperatures and a cleaner, faster running engine. Motor oil designed for these high performance engines is sturdier and can stand up to hotter, harsher engines.  Today’s motor oil not only runs at a hotter temperature, it is designed to keep the inside of your engine free and clear of sludge.

In the last decade, car manufacturers, including General Motors and Ford Motor Company, created internal monitoring systems, which  identify  any sludge build up and notified the driver that it was time for an oil change.  Marketed as autos with an “enhanced maintenance schedule”, car owners enjoyed the luxury of extending the time between oil changes.  It was even recommended.

Today, the industry standard for oil changes is every 7,500 miles, more than double the mileage of initial recommendations. Both automobile manufacturers and motor oil companies cite the improvements in both modern motor oil and car engines.  In addition to saving the auto owner time and money, the new oil change standard has environmental benefits. There is less waste oil to dispose of and recycle.

Many automotive experts and car lovers believe that 7,500 is too long to go between oil change. Popular recommendations tend to hedge the difference, recommending an oil change between 5,000-7,000 miles. Oil changes are also recommended as part of retinue maintenance and tune up before you take your car on a long road trip or begin extensive traveling. It just makes sense to start with a clean slate- or engine if you will be putting some major distance and mileage on your engine.

There’s no doubt the regular oil changes extend the life of your car, increases fuel efficiency and keeps your automobile performing at its best. Whether you change your oil every 3,000, 5,000, or 7,000 miles, be sure to implement a scheduled maintenance plan and stick to it.  If your check engine light comes on, it ,may be a sign that you need an oil change. You will save yourself some headaches when it comes to routine repairs, and also some money, if you catch small problems before they grow into larger, more expensive ones.

Posted Under: Car Maintenance


Written by Raymond


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