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How Often Should You Change Your Vehicle’s Oil?

car engine

How often should you change your car’s oil? Getting your oil changed is one of the most common types of car service, because it’s one of the services your car needs most regularly. It is also one of the most important things you can do to keep your car running efficiently and well.  Dirt builds up over time and causes metal parts to grind against each other.  This can cause corrosion, decrease the life of an engine, and in extreme cases a full engine-destroying meltdown. In the plus-column, a well lubricated engine can improve gas mileage.

How often you need to replace your engine oil is dependent on a few factors that we will discuss today. Ask yourself the below questions to find out the best maintenance schedule for your vehicle and determine just how often you need to be replacing it.

Is Your Vehicle Covered Under a Warranty?

If so, it will be important to follow the manufacturer’s guidance on oil type, mileage between changes, and any other manufacturer specific guidance. Your warranty might cover oil changes, and if it does you will want to schedule your service with the dealer to avoid voiding your warranty and to avoid paying for something that should be covered.

My Vehicle Isn’t Covered Under Warranty. Now What?

Luckily, even if your car isn’t covered under a warranty, you still have an owner’s manual that will explain the manufacturer’s recommendations around oil changes and other vehicle service. Every technician you ask will have a slightly different perspective on this, but the best course of action is to: educate yourself on what your manufacturer recommends, make sure you keep an eye on the oil-life monitor if your vehicle has one, and make sure you’re scheduling regular service so all your fluids, including oil, can be inspected and replaced if needed.

The Bottom Line

  • Familiarize yourself with your manual and the manufacturer’s recommended oil change schedule for your car. Every car is different.
  • If you’re covered under warranty, make sure you’re scheduling service with the dealer so your warranty doesn’t void and you don’t have to pay extra for the oil change.
  • Listen to your car and pay attention to any dashboard lights or oil life monitor alerts. Click here to learn about the different signs your car may be giving you that it’s time for a tune-up.
  • Schedule your car regularly for service (about two times a year).
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