Top 3 Most Oil-Change Questions
If you have a car, you know that it needs periodic oil changes. That may be as far as your knowledge goes – and that’s okay.
The truth is, to keep your car running optimally, you need to understand a few things about oil changes. Here are 3 things you need to know.
1. When does the oil need to be changed?
Disclaimer: You’ll see the same running theme here. Check your owner’s manual.
The old standard – every 3 months or 3,000 miles – isn’t the norm anymore.
Newer vehicles don’t need such frequent oil changes.
Plus, many of the latest cars have warning indicators to let you know when the time for oil service is near. When you’re questioning if it’s time to change your oil, your first stop should be your trusty owner’s manual.
2. Does it need to be checked in-between changes?
Even though you’re following your owner’s manual and keeping an eye out for your vehicle’s oil indicator lights, it’s still a good idea to check the levels periodically. No matter how new or old your car is, it may need the oil to be topped off between changes.
A good rule of thumb for taking a peek is about once a month. Call your mechanic at the first sign of a leak or if the levels seem to be dropping significantly.
3. Which type of oil is the right one?
Have any guesses as to where you should look for this information?
Your owner’s manual.
In addition, most newer vehicles will have the oil weight it needs printed on the cap, where you put the oil in. What do you do if you have an older car and no owner’s manual? Ask your local dealer or even an online enthusiast group for your model.
What about synthetic oil?
Your car may or may not need synthetic oil. I bet you know one way to tell – the OWNER’S MANUAL. Because it can cost two- to four-times as much as regular oil, only use synthetic if your vehicle manufacturer recommends it.
The big selling point for synthetic oil is that it takes longer to break down, meaning you don’t have to get oil changes as frequently. This can prolong your engine’s life.
There are a few situations in which this costlier type of oil may be a good idea.
- If the bulk of your driving is short trips here and there, around town, your engine may not get hot enough to burn off moisture and impurities in your engine. This can shorten its lifespan.
- If you do a lot of heavy towing with your vehicle.
- If you live in an area that experiences extreme heat and/oil cold.
Get expert advice
So, you know that consulting your owner’s manual is the best way to tell when you need an oil change and what kind of oil you should use. And you know that you should be checking your oil levels once a month.
Another important thing for you to remember is to trust an experienced auto technician with all your oil-change needs.