How often should I have my car's oil changed?
Grandpa always told you to change your oil on a regular basis. But what does regular mean? Both cars and oils have changed a lot, so that the old 3 months/3,000 miles interval doesn’t always apply. How often you should perform this service depends on the vehicle type, oil type and driving conditions.
Oil change services
Regular oil changes are a vital part of car care. During oil change services, old oil is drained from the engine and fresh oil is put back in. The oil filter is also replaced. This process has several benefits:
• Helps maintain a proper oil level
• Improves gas mileage
• Helps your vehicle last longer
Not performing regular oil changes can result in extensive engine damage and a repair bill. A low oil level, sludge build up, or engine oil that has broken down can lead to lack of engine lubrication. This causes friction between internal engine parts. Eventually, the parts overheat and fail, causing catastrophic engine failure.
So, that’s why you should change your oil. Your vehicle’s owner’s manual is the golden rule for when you should change it. But there are some other factors to take into consideration as well.
Oil change intervals for older vehicles
Cars built more than a decade ago typically use conventional engine oil instead of synthetic. The guideline has always been to change oil in these vehicles every 3 months or 3,000 miles. Some manufactures might push things a little further, recommending a 5 month or 5,000-mile interval.
A more frequent interval should be followed for vehicles driven under “severe” conditions. This includes one or more of the following:
• Consistent short trips under 5 miles
• Extreme temperatures or dusty climates
• Excessive stop-and-go driving
• Towing or hauling heavy loads
Both the “normal” and “severe” service intervals are listed in the manufacturer's maintenance schedule. This schedule can be found in your vehicle’s owner’s manual. South Bay Lincoln service can also provide this information for you and answer any oil change questions you may have.
Oil change intervals for newer vehicles
Many modern vehicles – including Lincolns – recommend using synthetic engine oil. Typically, these vehicles are also equipped with an oil life monitoring system to tell you when an oil change is required. These systems used to be somewhat inaccurate, as they calculated oil life based on times and miles. Newer versions analyze engine operating conditions to determine when the oil begins to degrade. This makes them much more reliable and eliminates the “severe” service schedule. Now, the vehicle can detect driving conditions that may affect oil life.
But that doesn’t mean you should rely completely on the oil life monitoring system. The manufacturer's maintenance schedule should always be followed – regardless of what the vehicle is telling you. Many modern vehicles have oil change intervals of 7,500 or even 10,000 miles. This eliminates the old 3 months/3,000 miles standard, saving you both time and money. If you don’t have an owner’s manual handy, the South Bay Lincoln team is happy to look up your vehicle’s recommended oil change interval.
Car maintenance at South Bay Lincoln
When it comes time to change the oil in your vehicle, look no further than South Bay Lincoln. Our friendly and knowledgeable service team offers a full range of car services. Stop by for you next oil change to experience the difference.