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If you have been ignoring that little sticker on your windshield telling you to change your oil, then perhaps you’ve asked yourself one simple question: “Do I even need to change my oil?”

It’s a question many may find themselves asking. The process of taking your car into the auto repair shop can seem like more of a hassle than it’s worth. Are such frequent oil changes even necessary?

The simple answer is that, yes, changing your oil is very necessary to make certain your car remains healthy and keeps you and your passengers safe. The more complex answer, however, requires a bit of explaining.

Why Change Your Oil?

To understand why oil changes are a necessary part of keeping your vehicle going, we must start with why engine oil is so important. Engine oil is what keeps the moving metal parts of your engine lubricated. Keeping them lubricated allows them to move without grinding against each other, which might cause costly damage or weld the parts together. By ensuring your oil remains fresh and clean, you can avoid spending far more to repair your car than you ever would taking it in for frequent oil changes.

The question of how often those oil changes should be, however, is a little more complicated. The most common number one hears is that one should get their oil changed every 3,000 miles or every 3 months. Some argue that you can extend your trips all the way out to 15,000 miles.

The answer to that question, as with many things related to car care, is that it depends not only on your car, but your driving habits and environment.

How Often Do I Need An Oil Change?

The origin of the suggestion to change your oil over 3,000 miles stems from how much older cars used engine oil. Often, they were much less efficient about how they would use oil. Thus, the need for frequent oil changes made more sense.

Nowadays, with newer cars, you’ll find that they don’t necessarily need such a short time between oil change intervals and can last longer, from anywhere between 5,000 to 7,500 miles. Oftentimes, your owner’s manual can even provide you with a more specific number for those who are under warranty. Either way, you need to change your oil at least twice a year, even if you haven’t hit the recommended mileage.

Some newer cars even have oil monitoring systems that may be able to tell you when the best time to change is. These systems are not foolproof, however, and one should always keep an eye out for any changes by checking their oil levels monthly.

Before you try and go for 10,000 miles between oil changes, please keep in mind that waiting up to 5,000 to 7,500 miles is possible for newer cars driven moderately in mild environments. If you find that you

  • Drive your car infrequently
  • Drive your car on long, hard trips
  • Haul heavy objects
  • Drive your car in dusty or otherwise extreme environment

In the event any of these apply to you, it’s recommended that you stick to frequent oil changes. Such situations can result in your oil being burned up faster or getting dirtier than it would in a normal situation.

Whether you choose to keep up your regularly scheduled 3,000 miles oil change or wait a little longer to 5,000 miles, your first choice for an oil change should be the trusty mechanics at D&R Car Care. At D&R Car Care, we’ll be able to help you take care of your car to keep it running for a long time. Our recommended Valvoline synthetic oil is formulated to protect against wear, deposit, and sludge build-up so your engine will run as new as the day you bought it. During our inspection, we’ll be able to replace oil, the filter, and lube while checking other areas for issues.