How often should I have my oil changed?

You should be concerned with car maintenance. After all, your vehicle is one of the largest investments you’ll make. With so much money tied up in your car, you want to do all you can to protect it. An oil change ensures the engine, the most expensive part of most vehicles, will continue to run smoothly. But many car owners openly wonder how often they really need to have their oil changed. After all, spending money changing it more often than necessary would be foolish. Fortunately, we here at Mel Rapton Honda can clear up any confusions on this essential topic.

The 3,000 Mile Rule

Back in the day, mechanics and even automakers would always tell car owners to have the oil changed every 3,000 miles. Back then, that was good advice. Thanks to modern technology, it no longer applies.

Thanks to improved engine designs and changed oil chemistry, your car can likely go far beyond 3,000 miles without needing fresh oil. Still, some people have the 3,000-mile rule drilled into their head, and they think it still applies. If you hear a well-meaning individual try to push this rule, know that’s where it comes from.

Manufacturer Guidelines

Really, you should follow the oil change intervals recommended by your car’s manufacturer. After all, the automaker designed, engineered, and assembled your vehicle, making it a tremendous resource for authoritative information.

Exactly how long you can go between oil changes depends on the specific model and engine you have. To get the exact recommendation from the manufacturer, you can look in a few different places. The owner’s manual will have the details spelled out clearly. An online owner’s portal through the automaker’s website is another resource. Or, you can contact the dealership service department and get an answer quickly.

In general, you should follow the oil change intervals from the automaker strictly. They were created for your protection, and failure to do so could result in serious damage.

Use Factors

Of course, those recommended oil change intervals are usually based on normal use of a vehicle. If you’re doing things that put extra strain on your car, you’ll need to change the oil more often.

For example, towing a trailer, another vehicle, or hauling big loads in the back often will stress the engine more. That, in turn, can break down the oil’s viscosity or ability to lubricate the different parts, which is a bad thing. You might not realize it, but often driving in stop-and-go traffic has the same kind of effect. For many commuters that’s a reality, and it means your oil won’t last as long.

Driving in especially hot or cold weather for long periods of time also has a negative effect on the oil. If you drive on dirt roads or where there’s a lot of dust in the air, that increases debris in the oil, making it necessary to change the oil more often.

Contact Mel Rapton Honda and we’ll help you figure out the best oil change interval for your vehicle.