Oil changes are one of the most important maintenance tasks for your vehicle. They help to keep the engine, running smoothly and safely and without risking damage. Where there’s a need, there are often people out to make a quick buck, don’t listen to them; arm yourself with the knowledge you need to make smart oil change decisions for your vehicle.
1. Stick to the manufacturers recommendation
The idea that you should change your oil every 3,000 miles is very outdated and not relevant to most cars bought after the early 2000s.
Some people might say 5,000 or 7,500 but many modern cars can even go 10,000 or 15,000 miles. Either way none of these figures may be right for your vehicle.
The best figure is always the one from your manufacturer.
Don’t have your manufacturers handbook?
No problem, you can check your make and model on the Edmunds website for the correct oil change interval.
2. It’s not all about the miles! No really…
Contrary to what the last point makes, miles aren’t everything. You can’t rely 100% on mileage as your indicator, age and other factors also play a role. Even if you don’t drive your vehicle that often, you still need to get it changed.
As a very general rule engine oil can last up to 5 years, but there are so many factors that can influence this and reduce its useful lifespan.
Oil becomes less effective with age, it doesn’t keep the engine warm enough which can lead to a reduced lifespan. Signs of old engine oil may include:
- A louder than normal engine
- Visual/smelly exhaust fumes
- Acceleration seems sluggish
If in doubt, take your vehicle to a trusted auto mechanic who can tell you if the oil needs replacing or not.
3. Do you really need synthetic?
There’s no sense buying synthetic unnecessarily, it can be 2-4 times as expensive and it’s not clear that it is more environmentally friendly.
The safest bet is to only go for synthetic oil if your manufacturer recommends it. Don’t get up sold by garages who are focused on increasing their profits. For the vast majority of vehicles, ordinary engine oil is perfectly adequate.
4. Check the oil level
It’s not just about the quality of oil that should be in question, but also how much. Many modern vehicles will tell you if your oil is running low, but if in doubt it’s worth a quick check. You don’t want to be driving around with an oil leak and insufficient oil to keep your engine running safely.
5. Recycle your oil
Oil doesn’t stop being useful when you need to replace it. It can be recycled and take on a new life for plant boilers, blast furnaces and even in diesel fuel. This understandably benefits the environment, so if you don’t already recycle your oil, you may want to consider it.
Most businesses that sell or change oil can recycle it for you.
To schedule an oil change in West Haven, CT. Don’t hesitate to call Fred’s Auto Center: 203-934-7251