When to Change Motor Oil
What Affects How Long Oil Lasts
When Should I Change My Oil?
It’s one of the most common questions that we hear at Jeff’s Auto Repair. Drivers in Sandpoint, Washington and across the country want the information they need to take care of their vehicles. The problem is that there is no simple answer. Saying that you should change it when it wears out is oversimplified and doesn’t give an accurate timeline. But essentially, that’s the short of it.
The answer to this question is complicated by many factors. With a variety of different kinds of motor oil, lifespans vary. And with vehicles of all makes, models, and ages on running on all different kinds of motor oil, a single timeframe won’t work for everyone. Saying that you should change your motor oil every 3,000 miles or 3-months may not be the best, optimized schedule for your specific vehicle. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do that. Swapping out the oil that frequently ensures your engine stays clean and protected. The problem comes for drivers of vehicles that require synthetic oil — a much more expensive variation.
But don’t despair in the mess of things. There are a few ways you can find out when is a good time to change your motor oil!
Check Your Owner’s Manual
The easiest way to determine an ideal oil change schedule for your vehicle’s make and model is by checking the manufacturer’s recommendations. Your owner’s manual contains recommended intervals tested by the manufacturers. This information is a great guide for your oil changes, but there are still a few factors it may not take into account.
Follow Onboard Monitoring Systems
Lots of time spent idling in stop-and-go traffic, living in a very cold or hot climate, taking frequent trips, short drives, hauling heavy loads — all of these things can influence the lifespan of engine oil. New vehicles equipped with onboard maintenance counters track data from your individual driving habits to formulate recommendations for oil changes. If your car is equipped with one of these systems, that estimate will be a safe bet for your oil change schedule.
Ask Your Technician
If you visit the same auto shop for your routine oil changes — like Jeff’s Auto Repair in Sandpoint, Washington — your technician can give you an accurate recommendation for an ideal oil change schedule. In fact, more shops place this information on a sticker on your windshield to help you remember when it’s time for another service!
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