How Often Should I Change my Oil?

oil change in san carlosShould you change your car oil every 3000 miles?

The quick answer: No.

Who advocates an oil-change every 3000 miles?  Most quick-lube chains, repair facilities, and new car dealer service departments.  You get the idea?

The 3000 mile number comes from years ago when it was a good idea to change the oil and filter frequently.

Environmentalists also chime in on this subject, saying it adds to the amounts of used oil that must be disposed/recycled.  California discourages the practice of changing oils so often.

These days, most car manufacturers recommend an oil and filter change every 7500+ miles!

Some manufacturers even recommend oil changes every 10,000 miles – companies such as Volkswagen, Ford, and Porsche.  Toyota is similar on several engines, including the Prius’ 1.8-liter four-cylinder and the Camry’s 2.5-liter four-cylinder.  GM recommends changing your oil at least once a year even if the service indicator warning light doesn’t come on.

Believe it or not, with synthetic oil, BMW says owners can go up to 15,000 miles between oil changes!  Some companies like General Motors and Ford include in their cars oil life monitors that tell you when it’s time to change oil based on engine temperature, climate conditions, speed, number of cold starts and more.

So the exact intervals vary by manufacturer and engines.

Consult the owner’s manual for your car to see how often to change the oil in your vehicle and what type of oil to use.  Or if you’re around, ask our expert technicians.

Manufacturers always suggest you change oil more often for severe conditions:

  • driving in extreme heat or cold,
  • extensive stop-go driving
  • extensive idling in traffic
  • extensive trailer towing,
  • frequent short-distance driving.

If you’re worried about going so long between oil changes, then here’s some more advice:  Change you oil every six months, when you have your tires rotated.

Remember, regardless of how often you change your oil: check the oil level at least once a month to make sure you have enough.

If you have questions about your particular vehicle, stop by our shop in San Carlos on the border of Redwood City and talk to our professionals about your cars particular oil needs.