How often should I have my car's oil changed?

You likely already know the importance of car maintenance, since it can save you time and money in the long run. One car services item you absolutely need to stay on top of is getting a regular oil change for your vehicle. But many vehicle owners wonder how often they should have their car’s oil changed.

An oil change doesn’t take long or cost much, but getting it done too often is a waste of oil and your money. Following these guidelines will help you keep your vehicle in great shape, but without overdoing it. And remember to think of Hometown Toyota for all your oil change services.

Out with the Old

Not that long ago, mechanics, oil companies, and car manufacturers were singing the tune of changing your oil every 3,000 miles. You might still hear some people preaching this standard as the only interval anyone should go between oil changes, but it’s simply no longer the truth.

Thanks to modern innovations in how oil is refined, plus revolutionary engine designs, many modern vehicles can go much further before you need to have the oil changed.

Just how many miles you can drive between oil changes really depends on the car. Look in the owner’s manual for that information. You can also call a dealership service department to learn how long you can go.

Potential Damage

Of course, neglecting oil changes can have serious consequences. The primary function of oil is to lubricate the different parts of the engine. As the oil wears down, its viscosity decreases. That means it doesn’t protect engine components as well. Eventually, those parts will rub against each other, creating friction and heat. If that goes on long enough, the engine can seize and suddenly stop working.

Another danger of going too long between oil changes is that the filter clogs up. The oil will still flow past it, but no deposits will be removed from the oil. This sediment can then create blockages in the engine or elsewhere, preventing oil from reaching certain areas of the engine.

Complicating Factors

Sometimes you need to have your car’s oil changed more often. It really depends on how you use the vehicle, including its operating environment. The guidelines provided by manufacturers are often only for normal driving conditions. Occasionally you might find guidelines in an owner’s manual for other circumstances, but that’s the exception, not the rule.

Making short trips frequently makes changing oil more often necessary. Short means distances that are under five miles. This will cause more deposits to build in the engine, which are picked up by the oil.

If you tow trailers or haul a significant amount of weight in your car, that can make more frequent oil changes necessary. This puts an extra strain on everything, including the oil. If your car is driving in extreme hold or cold temperatures, that can also cause the oil to lose viscosity sooner.

Operating your car in particularly dirty conditions also has a negative effect on the oil. For example, if you drive on dirt roads often, the dirt suspended in the air can make its way into the oil. That means the oil gets dirty sooner, and so does the filter, making swapping both out sooners absolutely necessary.

Come to Hometown Toyota for regular oil changes, where we get you in and out in a hurry.