Every type of engine needs oil, and modern automobile engines are no different. Today’s vehicles are designed and built to use oils that meet very specific industry and manufacturer standards. When using the right type of oil and changing at the right intervals can help extend the life of your car. Additionally, failing to use the right type of oil and not documenting its use can void a new car warranty.
There are two main types of oils used in most cars today:
- Synthetic-blend oils
Learn more about synthetic vs conventional oils.
The right oil for your car must have the correct SAE viscosity grade, meet performance and regulatory stands, and comply with the manufacturer’s specifications. You can find this information in your owner’s manual or online (search by vehicle, made, model and year).
Vehicle age, type of oil used and driving conditions combine to determine proper oil change intervals. While 3,000 miles used to be the norm, that is no longer the case with newer cars. Some cars recommend intervals of 5,000 or 7,500 miles. Full-synthetic oils can also extend the time between oil changes for those cars that recommend full-synthetic oil.
You cannot judge oil condition by color. The best protocol is to follow your car or truck’s factory maintenance schedule for oil changes.
Oil Change Intervals: Older Cars
Older cars typically have oil change intervals based on mileage, and have two maintenance schedules, one for cars driven in “normal” operation and another for those used in “severe service.” The latter category involves operating your car under one or more of the following conditions:
- Primarily short trips (5 miles or less)
- Extremely hot, cold, or dusty climates
- Sustained stop-and-go driving
- Carrying heavy loads or towing a trailer
If your vehicle use falls under the severe service definition in your owner’s manual, you will use the more frequent schedule provided by your manufacturer. If your usage is normal, be sure that you aren’t changing the oil TOO frequently.
Oil Change Intervals: Newer Cars
The best way to determine when you need your oil changed in a newer car is to simply pay attention to the oil-life monitoring system in your car. Early systems in cars were time and mileage based, but newer vehicles have systems that can actually analyze vehicle operating conditions to identify when the oil first begins to degrade.
Whether you or a service technician at your local auto shop change your oil, reset the oil-life monitoring system by following the instructions in your owner’s manual.
Still Check Oil Monthly
It is still important to check your oil levels monthly. Failure to do so can result in damage due to low oil will not be covered by a new car warranty.
If you do not drive your vehicle often, most manufacturer’s recommend an oil change every 12 months, even if the maintenance reminder light has not come on.
Precision Auto Oil Change Services
• Oil Change
• Reset Oil-Life Monitoring System
• Digital Maintenance Inspection
• Check and refill all fluids
• Check tires
Precision Auto features Mobil1 oils and also carries a full line of national brand oils.