Man-Checking-CarIt’s a question bothering practically all drivers on the road: “How often should I get my oil changed?” Your manufacturer tells you one thing, auto experts tell you another, and then your local Quick Lube might recommend every 3,000 miles. So, who’s right?

The fact is, no matter how often you change your fluids, dirty oil lacks the strength of a fresh lubricant, and as water evaporates from the crankcase in varying degrees, you run the risk of having an abrasive go through your engine and wear away or even permanently damage parts. Yet, getting to this point varies in how you use your vehicle, and as a result, what you do with your car or truck ultimately determines when you should add oil.

Consider these factors:

1. The Manufacturer’s Recommendations

The first source every driver needs to go to is their owner’s manual, which specifies how often the manufacturer thinks your make and model needs an oil change. Older cars, from the 1990s and before, require oil changes every 3,000 miles. Newer vehicles, on the other hand, get about 5,000 miles on average. Some may even offer up to 7,500 miles.

However, to be on the safe side, never go above the manufacturer’s recommendation, as you could permanently damage your engine.

2. Extreme Uses

Not everyone uses their cars in the same way, and as such, some uses may be more extreme.

“Extreme,” in these cases, involves situations in which the engine seldom gets hot enough to have water evaporate from the crankcase. This could be:

  • Stop-and-go driving, such as driving in the city or rush-hour traffic.
  • Many short trips, instead of long drives on the highway.
  • Not enough high-speed driving.
  • Driving frequently in hot weather.
  • Driving in areas with significant dust and dirt.
  • Towing heavy loads.
  • Driving an older vehicle.

For this select group, oil changes need to be more frequent – from every 1,000 to 3,000 miles.

3. How Often the Oil Change Light Comes On

For many drivers, the oil change light serves as an effective reminder, but be aware that, at this point, the oil’s getting on the low side and ignoring this warning could cause irreversible damage to your engine.

But, not all systems are alike, and it’s best to know how your car operates. Certain vehicles use a sensor, which detects when the oil’s getting on the low side, while others use an algorithm to determine the optimal time.

In all instances, it’s a must to track your car’s maintenance and to have a quality auto body shop ready to change fluids and make repairs. To schedule an appointment for an oil change, contact our Naugatuck location today.