Wondering how often to change your oil or how to safely dispose of the old stuff? You’ve come to the right place for answers.
For gasoline-powered passenger vehicles and light trucks, vehicle manufacturers recommend an oil change once a year or every 7,500 miles, whichever comes first. Diesel and turbo-charged engines should be given oil changes every 3,000 miles or six months, whichever comes first.
Here’s a money-saving tip gleaned from our extensive auto repair experience: Because we work on thousands of vehicles every year, we see inside the engines of our customers’ cars and have noticed the significant difference in the health of engines that receive an oil change every 3,000 miles versus every 5,000-7,500 miles.
Engine oil begins to sludge up and get diluted by gasoline very quickly. Waiting longer than 3,000 miles to change your oil sabotages the healthy engine you bought. The dirty little secret here is that vehicle manufacturers print high-mileage oil change intervals to sell cars by suggesting that new engines can go longer between oil changes. Wrong! An engine is an engine; each requires require proper lubrication to remain robust. If you insist on sticking with your dealer’s oil change recommendations, chances are your engine will start giving you problems at around 100,000 miles (or less) and cost you lots of engine repair money. But change your oil every three months without fail and pricier engine repair services will rarely be needed. Remember, vehicle dealers are in business to sell cars; when your engine begins to go south, dealers aren’t the ones who suffer—they recognize another opportunity to sell you a new car! So if you want to get the utmost mileage, performance and reliability out of your engine, stick with the 3,000 miles or 3 months interval. So take this insight to the bank (and to your friends): routine oil changes are the easiest, most cost-effective way to prevent and reduce pricier repairs down the road.
And if you’re driving your vehicle “hard” you should follow the ‘every 3,000 miles or six months’ maintenance routine mentioned above for diesel and turbos.
‘Hard Driving’ Defined
If you’re in stop-and-go traffic day after day; if you’re taking many short trips; if you’re driving dusty roads; or if you’re running at constant highway speeds in hot weather, you’re requiring your vehicle to operate under difficult conditions.
So if you’re doing any of the above, ensure you’re taking as good care of your vehicle as it takes care of you: bite the bullet and change your oil every 3,000 miles or three to six months. (Feel free to stop by for an oil check to see if your driving habits require oil changes every three or six months based on your routine driving habits; we’ll be able to tell by analyzing your oil for a nominal fee.)
Engines—New and Old—Have Different Needs
If you’ve just driven your brand spanking new vehicle off a showroom floor, you’re free and clear to navigate for about 3,000 miles before you need to think about an oil change. But as the months pass and your engine moves you across additional miles of terrain, more unburned fuel will enter your crankcase, diluting the oil. Diluted oil can cause additional oil consumption, gas guzzling, increased pollution from your tailpipe, and performance loss.
Changing your oil regularly doesn’t cost much and it keeps wear and tear on your engine to a minimum. Do it the way we suggest and you shouldn’t start having additional oil-lubrication issues inside your engine until it’s on the high side of 100,000 miles.
Oh, and one more thing. Because today’s oil filters are significantly smaller these days, yours probably doesn’t filter (long-term) the way larger, older filters did. So we advise you to change your oil filter every time you change your oil—that is, every 3,000 miles. Letting it go longer simply isn’t worth the risk.
If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, be sure to dispose of your old oil in accordance with EPA rules and regulations, right here at G&J’s for FREE if need be during business hours!
Here at G&J’s Auto Repair we responsibly control and dispose of the used oil we get as the result of taking great care of Corvallis’s cars, trucks and minivans. So next oil change—whether we do it or you do it yourself—please remember G&J’s, your environmentally-responsible auto repair provider! (541) 752-3445