Along with death and taxes, oil changes are just one of those things every car owner has to deal with. Overall, oil changes can be a straightforward procedure, but knowing how often you should get them can be tricky. The advice out there is all over the place. We offer an oil change Sacramento and notice that many people don’t know how often they should come in.
The standard advice for how often you should get an oil change is either:
- Every 3 months
- Every 3,000 miles
Whichever comes first. However, this advice is likely overly cautious. The honest answer depends on the type of vehicle and how you use it, so let’s look at different recommendations we can give for different situations.
Wait, didn’t we just say every 3,000 miles is probably too often? Well, that’s why we have to dive in a bit deeper to understand why you might need an oil change as often as once every 1,000 miles.
If you are always driving short trips of under 10 miles each, that affects how the oil in the system is used. When you make short trips like this consistently, the engine doesn’t get hot enough to boil off excess water from condensation, which then causes the oil in the system to break down faster.
In addition, most of the damage to your car’s engine occurs when you start and stop the vehicle. That means that many short trips are more dangerous to your car over time than a few long ones. Oil changes help to prevent that damage.
So, if you tend to go on many short trips, such as a short commute in the city or just running errands, you might need to change your oil as often as once every 1,000 miles. Check with your local mechanic or come to our Sacramento auto mechanic shop to get an oil change and some advice based on your situation.
This is the standard recommendation but is really based on information about older models of cars. Still, if your vehicle is getting older, it is a good recommendation to keep everything running as smoothly as possible.
City drivers and drivers that are stop-go most of the time are probably safer in this range. If you commonly use your car to get outside the city though, it might be acceptable to lean towards the 5,000-mile range.
When I go to a mechanic near me, this is the range I’m probably going to expect to get when it comes to oil changes because it sits in between the extremes. Still, cars have been getting better with oil in recent years, and for many people, around 5,000 or more miles in between oil changes is likely okay.
Most people today will advise you to change your oil every 5,000 miles or once every six months. This is a very reasonable recommendation in most cases.
If you have a newer model or newer vehicle in general, check your manual for their recommendation. Most car models today advise for 5,000 to 7,500 miles per oil change. However, it does matter what your driving habits are, as we mentioned in the 1,000-mile case.
The longer the distance you drive, the more miles you can put on before your next oil change.
This is for two reasons. First, the engine will heat up more and evaporate any excess water in the system, harming the oil’s effectiveness. Second, most of the damage comes from when you start and stop the vehicle. If you are simply cruising down the highway, those miles are doing very little harm to the oil or the engine, meaning you don’t need to worry as much about the oil in those cases.
There’s a way to get even higher mileage with synthetic oil. However, synthetic oil is much more expensive, so it’ll mainly be saving you trips rather than money. However, it does have more benefits, such as performing better overall and being better for the environment.
One of the better reasons to switch to synthetic oil is consistently lifting heavy loads with the vehicle. It can reduce the strain on your engine immensely.
Otherwise, if you are still using regular oil, 10,000 miles is too long of a distance to go without an oil change.
Newer car models have an indicator on the dash to help you know when to change your oil. In addition, they track your mileage and driving style to automatically determine all of the calculations we mentioned above.
As soon as the light comes on, it’s probably best to get your oil changed, but it’s not necessarily urgent.
Another light indicates that your oil pressure is low. This is a more severe problem, meaning you’ve lost oil somehow. This could lead to immediate damage to the engine and needs to be addressed right away.
Check your oil at least once a month to make sure nothing is leaking. If it is low, add more. You should also be checking if it’s discolored, murky, or otherwise seems off. Most changes in the oil indicate that it’s time to get it changed or at least checked out.
Final Advice – Oil Change Sacramento
Regardless of your driving habits, it’s essential to change your oil at least once every six months. You can get an oil change Sacramento with us or with anyone in your area.
For many people, that will be sufficient not to have to think about how much driving you are doing. You will have to think about the distances more to keep your vehicle in top shape for frequent drivers. This is because oil loses its effectiveness over time whether you drive or not.
Finally, you can simply follow the advice on the service reminder your dealership put in your windshield.