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How Often Should You Change Your Oil? Reasons, Facts & FAQs

pouring oil to car engine

If you recently purchased a new vehicle, one of the best ways to keep it operating in perfect condition is to maintain it, which includes regularly changing the oil. Many people want to know how frequently they need to change their car’s oil. While some experts recommend changing it every 3,000 miles, keep reading as we discuss why other people think that that number is incorrect and how and when to adjust it for your circumstances.

car and road divider How Often Should I Change My Oil?

Change It Every 1,000 miles

While changing the oil every 1,000 miles is too frequent for most people, there are a few occasions where it’s best to do so. For instance, people who don’t drive frequently will need to change the oil more often than people who do. Moisture can build up in engines that don’t run frequently, which degrades the oil and causes it to be less effective. Another reason that you might need to change the oil more often is if you regularly put the engine under heavy strain, such as by towing or racing, which will cause the oil to break down much faster than usual.

lubricant oil can
Image Credit: Skitterphoto, Pixabay

Change It Every 3,000 miles

Changing your oil every 3,000 miles is a widely accepted frequency and is what is most often recommended. However, a growing number of people are suggesting that this is too frequent and that it’s a ploy by the car industry to get more money from consumers. They point to the fact that many owner’s manuals recommend changing the oil every 5,000 to 7,500 miles. That said, most agree that older vehicles should stick to changing the oil every 3,000 miles.

Change It Every 5,000 to 7,500 miles

The growing consensus among many people, including auto manufacturers, is to change the oil less frequently because modern engines are more efficient. Computer-monitored systems in the motor also help determine if the oil needs changing. Many modern vehicles use synthetic oil with a much longer lifespan than the regular oil that people used when the 3,000-mile system became popular.

pouring oil to car engine during oil change
Image By: r.classen, Shutterstock

Change It Every 10,000 Miles

It may be hard to believe if you have changed your oil every 3,000 miles for many years, but the truth is that many synthetic oils are quite capable of going 10,000 miles or more before needing a change. Not only can synthetic oils deal with more strain, but they also don’t break down as easily in the presence of moisture.

car and road divider

Why Do I Have Two Oil Lights on My Dashboard?

Many modern cars are equipped with an oil life-monitoring system that keeps track of how many miles you drive and under what conditions, so it can notify you when it’s time for a change. This notification will result in a symbol on your dashboard lighting up. The other oil light is the traditional one that tells you when there is not enough oil in the car or there is not enough pressure.

Full Synthetic Motor Oil
Image Credit: Pxhere

How Often Should I Change My Oil If I Rarely Drive?

Driving occasionally can cause you to require oil changes more frequently than someone who drives every day. Experts recommend that infrequent drivers change it every 1,000 miles under these conditions. However, if you drive even less than 1,000 miles per year, experts recommend changing the oil every 6 months to ensure that the oil doesn’t break down. You may also want to choose a synthetic variety.

car and road divider Summary

Almost anyone you ask will recommend changing your oil every 3,000 miles. However, you can typically let it go a little longer than that, especially if you have a new car. The oil life-monitoring system will let you know when you need to change the oil, and many people do it every 5,000 to 7,500 miles, resulting in considerable savings. Switching to a full-synthetic blend will help you get even more mileage between changes.

Featured Image Credit: Africa Studio, Shutterstock


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