How Often Should I Change My Motor Oil?
You already know that oil is the lifeblood of your automobile; it protects the various components from abrasion and breakdown. But since all engine oil looks black and murky after about a couple days of driving, how are you supposed to know when it’s time to change your oil?
Why Do I Need to Change My Oil?
There is a big difference between fresh oil and oil that needs to be changed. Over time, the oil in your engine naturally collects water, various contaminants. The water mixes with your oil to make it sludgy, affecting your engine performance, especially in very cool conditions. It can evaporate from the heat of highway driving conditions, but is especially prone to building up in winter weather and stop-and-go city driving. The contaminants include corrosive substances and metal particulates that cause abrasion and wear down your engine components. Either way, after a while, that dirty oil needs to go!
But here’s the most important reason not only why you need to change your oil, but to change it regularly:
If you change your oil regularly at the proper intervals, it can double the lifetime of your engine.
That’s important to keep in mind, especially since like a frog in a pot of gradually warming water, you won’t notice the effect much during the early stages, but you’ll be devastated later on down the line when your engine gives out and you’re left with a bill on your hands that might be as much as the cost of a low-end used car.
Pro tip: Keep the receipts to record all of your vehicle maintenance, including oil changes. When it’s time to sell your vehicle, this evidence of proper maintenance could fetch you a higher resale value. It’s also a good practice to inquire into the maintenance history when you’re purchasing a pre-owned vehicle.
So How Often Should I Change My Oil?
Depending on the type of vehicle you have and your driving habits, there is not a precise measure of how often you should change your oil. The classic rule of thumb is to change it every 6 months or 5,000 km, whichever comes first. It’s best to check with the recommendation listed in your owner’s manual, though online vehicle forums are often quite helpful to find out how other drivers have fared with a vehicle similar to yours.
Driving in especially dusty conditions, cold weather, or stop-and-go city traffic will require more frequent oil changes than “optimal” driving conditions, which typically include plenty of even-speed highway driving, with minimal cool-down intervals.
Don’t Neglect This Essential Service
Lastly, oil changes are some of the most important services you can get for your vehicle, and some of the least expensive. Yet they’re also some of the most neglected. In fact, you can quickly jump to among the higher percentiles of diligent owners by getting this procedure done regularly.
Whether some drivers are unfamiliar with the garage and feel a bit intimidated by the experience; whether it’s just hard to find the time in your busy schedule; or whether you’re worried about the cost, don’t let these weak barriers prevent you from giving your vehicle the love it deserves. For around the same price that it costs to fill up your gas tank, and it under half an hour, you can get your oil changed and be ready to take on the next season with total confidence in your engine.
Is it time to get an oil change? Request a service appointment at River City Nissan online today!