This is a question that has puzzled millions of car owners for many generations and up to now there is a lot of debate about when is the best time to change your motor oil. We will not attempt to solve this eternal problem but we will give you a very educated answer and help you have a better idea when to actually go to your mechanic and ask for that change oil service.
Base It On Miles
Not sure how to tell if you should change your motor oil now? Some pundits say that all you have to do is look at the odometer of your vehicle. They give readings like every 3,000, 5,000, or 7,500 miles and you should be good to go for an oil change. However, it’s not that easy and there’s actually more to this miles approach than what your odometer can indicate.
For example, some tests shows that at 3,000 miles of your odometer reading, some motor oils have already lost their lubricating properties, and some additives that have been mixed there in the beginning have now all been depleted and can no longer give the protection it used to for your vehicle engine.
So if you are going to use your odometer as an indicator for an oil change, make sure you do it a few numbers below the actual target. So meaning, if you are going to change your motor oil every 3,000 miles, you are safer and your engine would also be better off if you do it around 2,800 or 2,900 miles just to make sure that your oil is still at working its magic by the time you change it.
Base it On Your Manufacturer’s Manual
Another good way to know if it’s time to have that oil change is to simply refer to your owner’s manual or manufacturer’s manual. Since your car’s engine may vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, it is best to keep your owner’s manual for future reference about oil change. If you have lost your manual, you can also try to go online and search for downloadable versions of your specific manual.
When reading your car manual, manufacturers will indicate whether you need to do oil change every three months, or for a certain number of odometer reading and other important details on how to properly decide or tell if it’s time for an oil change. There are also lots of information there about proper engine maintenance aside from the motor oil change that you have to do regularly.
For example, you might read about how maintaining your engine can actually extend the life of the car. So a regular tune-up may also be advised plus regular checking of your engine’s other fluids like break fluid, power steering fluid, etc.
For car owners who also travel long distance, you might need to have your motor oil change more frequently than those drivers who only do short trips or city driving. The way you use your vehicle and how well you take care of it will also dictate how often you might need an oil change.