How Often Should You Change Your Engine Oil

When should I change my engine oil? This is a question that can be answered in several ways, so let’s look at the facts. Modern engines benefit from synthetic lubricants. Synthetics are superior to conventional oils in many ways; they offer more protection against pitting and cavitation, produce less wear and friction due to slipperiness (viscosity), and tend to remain in liquid form at colder temperatures better than regular oils.

These synthetic properties give them a greater ability to prevent premature wear of moving parts like seals and bearings, which means smooth-running engines with extended life.  If you have an older car it may not be equipped for synthetic oil or you may simply prefer the performance characteristics of conventional oil. Now that we’ve established why you may want to consider synthetic oil, we will now consider the most common question:

How Long Should I Change My Engine Oil?

It is recommended that your vehicle be serviced every 3 months or 3,000 miles. This is due to several factors; first and foremost being wear on your seals and bearings which can cause leaks. Also the viscosity of oil thins with use which leads to increased internal friction or drag within your moving parts. 

Conventional Oil MFG Recommended Change Interval:

The amount of time a conventional motor oil lasts depends upon many variables including driving conditions, type of driving (city vs highway), load on the engine while driving but most importantly the quality of oil from the manufacturer. This is due to synthetic oils being more resistant to viscosity breakdown caused by high temperatures and oxidative degradation at higher temperatures.

For this reason, we can’t give you a general rule regarding conventional oil changes; it will be dependent on your vehicle and driving conditions. Synthetic oils are less affected by not only these variables but have less internal friction overall which improves engine efficiency so they don’t need to be changed as frequently.  

Synthetic Oil MFG Recommended Change Interval:

For synthetics, there is no set schedule for change intervals as it can be extended based on the quality of the oil. Manufacturers recommend changing synthetic oils at various time intervals but it is not necessary to follow these intervals exactly and you may want to consider extending the interval in warmer climates or driving conditions. The following is a chart that shows two different brands of synthetic oil with extended change intervals (greater than 10,000 miles) without any adverse effects.

Professional Vehicle Maintenance

Engines that are used heavily, drive under tough conditions, or run rough may need more frequent oil changes than normal.  Such engines will benefit from the superior protection offered by higher quality oils and it is important not to neglect your vehicle maintenance as long change intervals can also allow small problems to develop into serious ones over time.

For this reason, you should always work with a certified mechanic to set a regular schedule of oil changes and make sure your vehicle remains in top condition. Changing the oil on time is extremely important as it not only prevents leaks which could lead to expensive repairs but also improves overall engine efficiency leading to better fuel economy.