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How Often Should You Change Your Oil?

How often do you change the oil in your car? Do you do it every 3,000 miles like clockwork? Or do you follow the three-months rule? Or maybe you just wing it and get it changed every so often when you realize you haven’t done it in a while and your car feels funny.

A popular belief is that the oil must be changed in a car every 3,000 miles or three months, whichever comes first. However, this may not be necessary depending on the kind of car you have, where you live, and your driving habit. Instead of wasting time and money changing your oil more frequently than necessary, learn the best way to take care of your vehicle.

Is the Old Way Wrong?

The 3,000-mile/three-month rule isn’t necessarily wrong, it’s just outdated. If you’re driving a car that was manufactured earlier than the 2000s, you really do need to change the oil changed this frequently. Car engines have come a long way since then and are far more advanced now. Also, the oil currently available simply holds up better and maintains its lubricating properties longer. In fact, some synthetic oils can continue to protect the engine from heat and wear for 7,500 miles or more.

Read Your Manual

Most people don’t read their car’s owner’s manual, but it can be a helpful resource for knowing what’s best for your car. In it, the manufacturer will provide recommendations for how to keep your car running at its best. Caring for your car the way the manufacturer intends can help you extend the life of your vehicle’s engine and enhance its performance.

What Behaviors Require More Frequent Changes

There are some driving behaviors that will cause you to need oil changes more frequently. Some examples include:

  • Starting the engine when it’s cold
  • Making frequent short trips
  • Driving in extreme temperatures
  • Idling the car often
  • Driving in stop-and-go traffic

You may not be able to control the circumstances under which you drive or the weather in your area, but knowing how it can impact the life of your car’s engine oil, you might make different decisions when you can.

Before changing your oil change habits or the type of motor oil you use, be sure to consult the car’s manual. If you’re able to change the oil less frequently, you’ll save money and time!