How Often Should You REALLY Change Your Oil?

Most cars can go at least 5,000 miles before an oil change.


“Change your car’s engine oil every three months, or 3,000 miles.”

At one time, that was standard auto advice. That same advice now feels as outdated as car cassette players and road atlases in your glove compartment.

Many cars today can drive 5,000, 7,500 and even 10,000 miles between oil changes.

The biggest reason is due to the changes in engine design and manufacturing that has led to needing better-quality oils. Most of today’s cars are designed to use either a full synthetic or a synthetic blend oil, which lasts longer before viscosity breakdown.


According to research by Edmunds, most carmakers now recommend oil changes between 7,500 and 10,000 miles, although some specify 5,000-mile intervals.

The type of engine oil, the age and make of your vehicle and driving habits dictate when to change engine oil.

According to Ford Motor Company, drivers with typical driving habits that own 2008 and newer models should change their engine oil every 7,500 miles or six months, or whichever comes first. Meanwhile, drivers should change the oil in vehicles 2007 and older every 5,000 miles or six months, or whichever comes first.

Drivers with less typical driving habits should change engine oil every 5,000 miles or six months for vehicles 2008 and newer, and every 3,000 miles or three months for cars 2007 and older. According to Ford, less typical driving habits include frequent off-road driving or driving in dusty conditions, towing or carrying heavy loads, excessive idling or driving at low speeds for long distances.

The worst type of driving for oil life is short distances below highway speeds. In other words, five thousand miles on the highway in five months is better that 1,500 miles of in-town driving in five months.

However, some mechanics say replacing oil more frequently allows them to inspect your car for other issues or routine maintenance, such as replacing the timing belt or brakes.

Having an oil change more often means that your mechanic is checking your vehicle three or four times a year rather than twice a year.

To determine how often to change your car’s engine oil, check the owner’s manual or talk with a reputable mechanic.

It appears there’s some discrepancy between what many mechanics recommend and the manufacturer, so do your research before deciding on an oil-change interval for your vehicle.

How long do you go between oil changes?

This entry was posted in advice, automotive, automotive repairs, cars, tips, transmissions and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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