When to change your oil

When to change your oil

I can’t tell you how many times people have asked me over the years when should I change my oil.  Better yet I’ve heard tons of times, I’ve got 4000 miles on an oil change how much damage am I doing my to my car?  As a mechanic I wrote out dozens of oil change stickers a day telling people to come back in 3000 miles or 3 months for synthetic blend oil, and 5000 miles  or 3 months for full synthetic oil.  I did this because it was company policy.

So how often should you change your oil?  That really depends on many things.  Almost all things it depends on  deal with making sure you change your oil before it gets too “dirty”, and is no longer protecting your engines moving parts.  Every single suggestion on when to change your oil is just that, if you truly want to know the condition of your oil have it tested.  Now to be fair I’ve never gone as far as having my oil tested.

If you choose to have your oil tested here are a couple places you can take a sample and send it in to be tested. Blackstone Labs or Amsoil both of these seem very reasonable and trustworthy if you want to want to have your oil tested.   By having your oil tested you will gain knowledge on the condition of your oil.  This knowledge will help you decide if you are changing you oil too often, or maybe not often enough. It can also tell you the condition of your engine.  If there is coolant in the oil or maybe a high number of metal shavings.  The only reason I’ve never had any of my vehicles oil checked is because I change the oil often enough that I have no worries about my needing to be changed sooner.

If you choose not to  have your oil tested how soon should you change your oil?  You can always go by the manufacturers suggestion.  By going with their recommendation you will not have a problem with warrant, but you may not be doing what is truly best for your engine.  With so many manufacturers offering free maintenance for the first 3 years of a new car it makes since they would try to keep this cost down.  If you change your oil at 10,000 miles instead of 5,000 miles manufacturers have to pay for half as many oil changes.  Also if your one of the few that drives your car at perfect conditions manufacturers aren’t wrong when they say it’s perfectly fine for your car.

When should you changer your oil?  Unless you commute to work more than 20 miles a day each, way giving your car a chance to fully warm up and cool down, I suggest you change your oil at 3000 miles if you use conventional oil and 5000 miles if you use full synthetic.  I make this requimendation based on the fact that most people drive very short trips in stop and go traffic, which is extremely hard on you engine and your oil.  With new cars using oil for cooling, lubrication, and hydraulic pressure for variable cam shaft timing, it is a good idea to make sure your oil is good and clean.  Even though you could extend this mileage out at least 1000 miles or more is the cost of an oil change really worth possible damage to your engine and shortening the life of you car?

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