How Often Should You Change Your Oil?

Engine Oil

It’s a question every car driver asks at one point or another: How often should you change your oil? If this question is on your mind as you drive through Lavon, Fate, and Heath, you might want to read this guide from Rockwall CDJR to help you determine whether it’s time for an oil change.

How Often Should You Change Your Oil?

Dip Stick

Traditionally, it was recommended that you change your oil every 3,000 miles. However, due in part to advances in engine design, most cars now recommend you get an oil change every 7,500 to 10,000 miles, depending on a number of factors.

The recommended interval between oil changes can vary based on the year, make, and model of your vehicle, so check your owner’s manual to get a better sense of how often you should change your oil. Following the recommendations from your car’s manufacturer is vital to extending the longevity of your engine.

Factors That Affect Oil Change Intervals

In addition to the guidelines from your vehicle’s manufacturer, there are many other variables that help determine how often you should change your oil. For instance, the recommended interval depends in large part on what type of oil your car uses: synthetic oil and synthetic blends both last longer than traditional oil.

Additionally, the age and condition of your engine can affect how long your oil will last. Older engines may have wear and tear that causes impurities to build up in the oil more quickly.

The way you drive your car also matters. If you only drive your car a couple times a year, condensation can build up in your engine oil and cause sludge. In addition, if you often take short trips, the engine might not heat up enough to allow this condensation to evaporate. Other driving conditions that can reduce your engine oil’s life include:

  • Driving in sandy, salty, or otherwise dusty conditions
  • Towing or hauling heavy cargo
  • Driving through stop-and-go traffic in hot weather

How to Tell if you Need an Oil Change

Oil Leak

As mentioned above, the best way to tell if you need an oil change is by looking at the manufacturer recommendations for your vehicle. Many newer cars even have a dashboard light that turns on when it’s time for an oil change, so if you see this light, you should take your car in for service.

If you don’t know when your last oil change was and your car isn’t equipped with an oil change notification system, there are a couple of signs you can look for. For instance, louder-than-usual engine noises can mean your oil has lost its lubricating properties and should be changed. Of course, this is also a sign of low oil, so check your dipstick to see if you simply need to add more oil to your engine.

Additionally, new oil is amber in color, and it quickly darkens after running through your engine. If it looks exceptionally dark or gritty, this can be a sign that it’s time to change your oil. On the other hand, white spots in your oil are also a sign that you need an oil change—this means that water has built up in your oil, usually a result of condensation from shorter trips.

Time for an Oil Change? Schedule an Appointment Today!

If you’re due for an oil change in Lavon, Fate, or Heath, our expert technicians at Rockwall CDJR are available to provide this essential service to your vehicle. Come into our express lane for a quick oil change or contact us today to schedule a service appointment!