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How Often Does My Car Need an Oil Change?

Oil Change

How Often Does My Car Need an Oil Change?

All car engines require oil, but any old oil won’t do. To ensure a long service life, modern engines are constructed to demanding standards and require oils that fulfill highly specific industry and automaker regulations. Your new-car warranty can be voided if you don’t use the proper oil and keep track of it.

Low-viscosity, multi-grade, synthetic-blend, or full-synthetic oils that reduce friction and optimize fuel economy are necessary for the majority of late-model automobiles. Selecting the appropriate oil is not always simple, though. The right oil for your car model and make needs to meet API, ILSAC, and/or ACEA performance criteria, have the correct SAE viscosity grade, and adhere to any special requirements for your particular engine. The owner’s manual for your car contains a thorough description of these criteria, and your local auto repair shop may tell you about the recommended oil specifications for your car as well.

Determining Your Use According to the Owner’s Manual

Some automobiles are used for “normal” operation and others for “severe service.” The latter group includes driving your vehicle in one or more of the subsequent circumstances:

Mostly brief travels (5 miles or less)
Operates in extreme temperatures, humidity, or dust
Continuous halt-and-go driving
Often towing a trailer or doing heavy hauling 

Use the more stringent maintenance schedule for oil changes if your car or truck meets the owner’s manual’s definition of severe service.

Oil Life Monitoring Systems: the Benefit of Newer Vehicles

The majority of modern automobiles come with oil-life monitoring systems, which sense when an oil change is due automatically and tell you with a message on the instrument panel. The more sophisticated designs of today determine when the oil will start to deteriorate by analyzing real vehicle running conditions, unlike the time and mileage-based systems of the past. Indeed, “severe service” recommendations are eliminated entirely in many modern car owner’s and maintenance manuals since the oil-life monitoring system automatically reduces the period between oil changes when it senses heavy-duty usage.

How Long Does an Oil Change Last?

Before major advancements in fuel delivery systems, engine materials, manufacturing techniques, and oil chemistry, moderate predictions for oil-change intervals were as low as 3000 miles. Modern engines today have stretch intervals of up to 7,500 or even more than 10,000 miles when they are run regularly.

Protecting Your Car’s Warranty

The solution is straightforward when a car is brand-new: adhere to the owner’s manual’s recommendations for oil type, mileage, and timing if you don’t want to violate your engine’s warranty. You can find your owner’s manual online if you’ve misplaced it. Oil changes are often part of the routine maintenance and inspections you’ll be getting at your local auto shop.

Are Frequent Oil Changes Beneficial?

Your engine can never suffer from regular oil changes, but it would mean more cost to you. An additional benefit of frequent oil changes is that while your automobile is being lifted for an oil change, parts like tires, shocks, brake pads, and coolant can also be inspected and replaced if needed. You should use the dipstick to check the oil level in older vehicles at least once a month because they may burn oil. However, if you don’t drive in bad weather—which isn’t the case for most of us—you can follow the manufacturer’s suggested oil replacement schedule. Of course, pay attention to the oil-life indicator if your automobile has one.

Conclusion: How to Perform Oil-Level Checks

Auto mechanics recommend getting into a routine of checking your engine’s oil once a month or every other gas fill-up. Never believe that a brand-new car is free from this type of upkeep. Even modern cars may require periodic oil top-offs.

If you test it with a dipstick, ensure the automobile is parked on level ground. Take note of any hot patches beneath the hood if the engine has been running. Automakers usually advise checking the oil level while the engine is cold.

Locate the dipstick by opening the car’s bonnet while the engine is off. Remove the dipstick from the engine and use a clean cloth or towel to remove any oil residue. Next, put the dipstick back into its tube and fully press it in.

Take it out again, and this time, quickly check where the oil is on the end of the dipstick by looking at both sides. The right oil level is indicated by one of several symbols on every dipstick: two pinholes, the letters L and H (low and high), the words MIN and MAX, or just a crosshatching region. The level is acceptable if the top of the oil “streak” is inside the crosshatched region or lies between the two markers.

You must add oil if it falls below the minimal level. Apply the recommended oil brand as directed by the owner’s handbook, adding no more than half a quart at a time. After the car has sat, recheck it.

Observe the hue of the old oil closely. It ought to seem dark or brown. However, if it seems pale or milky, coolant leakage into the engine may be the cause. Also, keep a tight eye out for any metal particles, which may indicate internal engine damage. Get the car checked out by a mechanic for a more thorough evaluation if you notice any of these symptoms.

If everything is in order, give the dipstick another wipe and re-insert it into the tube, carefully getting it all the way in. Once the hood is closed, you’re done.

When the oil level is regularly low, it indicates that the engine is either leaking or burning the oil. In either case, talk to your mechanic Belton Transmission & Complete Auto Care about this persistent problem. 

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