How Often Should You Have an Oil Change?

October 29th, 2019 by

It’s ingrained to us from an early age that if you want your car to turn for years and years, then you need to get an oil change every 3,000 miles. When you get your oil changed, and they give you the little sticker for your window, it’s almost always set at a 3,000M/5,000KM interval for your next oil change.

It is important that you get the oil changed on a regular basis, but does it have to be every 5,000 kilometres or every 3,000 miles? Can you wait and not worry that your engine will lock up or car explode because you waited a little longer on the oil change? Read on to find out!


What Does Oil Do In an Automobile?

When you start your car, the engine has pistons that fire and drive the engine. As this pistons move, they create heat and friction that can damage the car and engine unless they are properly lubricated.

Without oil, the pistons can lock up due to heat and friction and ruin the engine. This is why it’s important not to run the car if the oil light comes on or if the car overheats.

The oil decreases the friction for the pistons allowing for greater performance and speed. It also acts as a barrier to keep the various engine parts from coming into contact and wearing away.

It’s not just the pistons that the oil protects, but many parts of the engine such as the timing gears, crankshaft, camshaft and rod bearings. Oil reduces friction and thus heat, acting as a coolant.

With all these moving parts and combustion, it’s not uncommon for the engine to create debris. The oil grabs the debris as it travels through the engine, helping to clean it.


Do I Need An Oil Change Every 3,000 Miles/6000 Kilometers?

There was a time many years ago where your car may have needed an oil change every 3,000 miles or 5,000 kilometres. It seems to be a number that been around for several decades, but thanks to advances in oil and automobiles, that’s no longer the case.

Why do we still get oil changes every 3,000/5,000 miles/kilometres if we don’t need to? We’re told we need to. There’s a reason why those stickers all-say 3,000 miles on them. The oil change companies want you to come back to prevent any issues in the future as anything caused by lack of oil is extremely expensive.

In reality, the different car makes and models need oil changes at different times based on the type of oil used, the age of the car and the quality of the engine materials.

Also, 3,000 miles or 5,000 Kilometers makes sure the car, no matter the age or model, gets an oil change before it can cause damage or impede the performance of the car.


So When Does My Oil Need Changing

In days gone by, the oil and oil filter needed frequent changing. Engines weren’t very efficient, and the oil and oil filter had a lot of work to do. With the development of synthetic oil and more efficient engines, oil changes needed to be less frequent.

Manufacturers suggest getting an oil change every 7,500 kilometres for newer cars, and some suggest more than 10,000-15,000 kilometres if using synthetic oil.

If you want to know exactly how long you should go between oil changes, then check with your local dealer or check the automobile owner’s manual that came with the car. Also, many new cars have sensors that detect the car’s performance and provide you with an oil change reminder once it reaches a certain level.

If you’re still unsure, try to have the oil changed at least twice a year as a minimum regardless of how many kilometres you drive.


Keep an Eye on Your Dipstick

Your car should always have the optimal amount of oil in it. As you drive your car, oil can be used up by the heat created by the engine or if there is a leak. We suggest checking our oil levels monthly and topping it off between oil changes.

Park the car on a level surface and use the dipstick to measure oil levels. Pull the dipstick out and wipe the end of any oil and place it back inside the engine.

Pull it out again and check the oil levels on both sides of the dipstick. If the oil levels are below the optimal level, add oil. Check the colour of the oil as well. It should be brown or black.

If it’s milky, then coolant may leak into the engine, and if there are small metal particles, then the engine could have damage.


Which Type of Oil Should I Use?

There is no shortage of oil types to use for your automobile. The most common at 5w- and 10w-30 weight oil, but it’s best to check your owner’s manual to verify the exact type of oil you need.

If you’re using an oil change business, then make sure they’re using the correct oil for your car as well.

Outside of the weight, there is also standard and synthetic oil. Many oil change places will want you to use synthetic oil because it’s designed to provide better performance and it’s more expensive. If you drive a lot or not very much, you might want to use synthetic oil.

If you don’t drive long distances, the oil may not get hot enough to get rid of moisture and impurities. Cars from areas of extreme hot and cold temperatures should also use synthetic oil.

If your car is older but runs well, then you don’t likely need high mileage oil. If it’s not running the greatest because of age and wear and tear on the engine, then using high mileage oil is a good choice.


Your Owner’s Manual Sets the Tone

Your owner’s manual sets the tone for your oil changes. It tells you what weight oil to use and how often you need an oil change. From there, it’s your choice to use the more expensive synthetic or standard oils.

If you want to learn more about oil changes and car maintenance, then please explore our site.