How Often You Really Should Change Your Oil

20 May, 2016

Your car’s engine is the heart of your vehicle and changing oil is perhaps the most important thing to prolong the lifespan of your car. However, one of the questions that confuse many car owners is when to change their car oil. This is especially due to the 3,000, 5,000 or 10,000 miles limit. The more miles you cover between oil changes will reduce your car’s maintenance costs with time. But, some people believe that less frequent changing of oil will lead to more car problems that can cause expensive repairs.

How to know the right time to change your oil


Follow your manufacturer’s service schedule: Most people will strictly follow their car manufacturer’s recommended schedule for changing the oil. The guidelines of car manufacturers are meant to maintain your car in a spec condition for a long time. You can know the next service date by using your car manual which you got after you bought your car. Hopefully, you still have it somewhere. However, if you don’t have it or you cannot find it, visit your manufacturer’s website and search for your specific model manual and download it.

Get the oil tested: Spend a maximum of $25 in an independent lab to test your oil. This test will identify any engine problem and identify how much life is left in your oil. The primary function of your car’s oil is to reduce friction. With time, the oil gets contaminated and this causes it to lose its viscosity. Also, these contaminants cause friction to the moving parts, and they wear off faster. Friction causes irreversible damage that can result to an engine replacement or overhaul.

Do not wait for the low oil light to come on: The low engine oil light will only come on when your oil is too low. In case these light comes up, then it means that the oil left has almost lost its functioning ability and it’s time to service your car.

Your driving habits: Cold starts, towing, and driving in extreme heat are some of the driving habits that can greatly reduce your car’s oil life. Also, if you frequently make short trips that are under 4 miles, this can affect your oil. These driving conditions shorten the life of your oil by 25-40% depending on the frequency.

Maintenance reminder: Equipping your car with a service and maintenance reminder will eliminate some of the guesswork. You can trust this device for the most part. One of the traditional ways to know an aging vehicle was through the odometer. However, the miles traveled are not always a good indicator of an aging car in most urban areas due to the odometer rollback fraud. However, the inclusion of computers in modern cars makes it possible to track mileage and time. Time is very important because the time a car runs affects the oil life.

Not all maintenance reminders perform the same way; some use an algorithm that is based on the driving metrics to determine life expectancy while others use sensors that measure the quality of oil electronically.


Don’t use cheap oil: Most scenarios that are used to determine when to service your vehicle assume that you are using the recommended lubricant by your manufacturer. In case you use inferior oil, this will cause adverse effects to your car in the long run.

Now that you have learned how to know when to change your oil, you should feel confident and safe when driving your vehicle. Remember, ignoring oil changes will greatly reduce the lifespan of your vehicle.


Natale’s Auto Service Center is family owned and operated. Customer service is our number one priority and we strive to produce the highest level of quality automotive service that the peninsula has to offer.