How often should you change your motor oil?

Many drivers wonder just how far they can drive in between oil changes.  Both the rising cost of oil and environmental concerns have caused people to decrease the frequency of their oil changes.  In this post we’ll discuss the important factors to consider when making this decision.

For years, repair shops and dealerships have told customers that they should change their oil every 3000 miles.  With improved technology, many auto manufacturers and auto parts suppliers are now telling consumers to extend their oil change intervals.  Advances in lubricant technology and the increased use of synthetic oil products have allowed many drivers to safely drive 5000 to 7000 miles between services, however, it’s always important to consider factors such as your car’s warranty and age, your driving habits, and your climate when making this decision.  Drivers living in areas with severe weather conditions (both very hot or very cold, dust, rain, snow, etc.) should consider more frequent intervals as should people who do a lot of “stop and go” driving.

Premium Oil Products

Upgrading to a high-quality synthetic motor oil and a high performance filter will allow you to drive up to 7,500 miles between oil changes.   Even though synthetic oil costs more than traditional oil, it’s longer life will typically save you money in the long run.  Additional benefits of synthetic motor oil include:

  • Better low and high-temperature viscosity performance
  • Decreased loss through evaporation
  • Resistance to oxidation, and thermal breakdown
  • Decreased sludge build-up.
  • Better lubrication during extreme cold weather starts
  • Superior protection against deposits in engine hot spots
  • Increased horsepower and torque due to less initial engine drag

If you upgrade your motor oil, you should also upgrade your oil filter.  Inexpensive filters often use low-quality paper for filtration which deteriorates rapidly.  There are a number of high efficiency premium oil filters made for extended oil drain intervals. High efficiency oil filters typically have pore sizes of 3 microns or less which studies have shown reduces engine wear.

Other Considerations

A good rule of thumb is to check your manufacturer’s recommended oil change interval in your driver’s manual.  To prevent unnecessary expenses you should follow the manufacturer’s schedule for oil and filter changes; especially while your vehicle is under warranty.

For most consumers with newer vehicles, we recommend upgrading to a premium synthetic motor oil to take advantage of the benefits for your engine and to save you time and money.

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