TAMPA - Knowing how long to go between oil changes can be a guessing game. It seems everyone has a different opinion – 3,000, 5,000, 7,000 or even 10,000 miles. There was a time when 3 months or 3,000 miles was sound advice, but times have changed.
"Years ago the time to change your oil was really simple – every three months or 3,000 miles," said Angie Hicks, founder of Angie's List. "With the improvements made to engine oil as well as cars you need to depend on your owner's manual for the best recommendation of how frequently your car may need an oil change. It could be 3,000, 7,000, even 10,000 miles. Changing your oil every 3,000 miles it isn't going to hurt your car, it's only going to hurt your wallet. If you think about it, it might save you $100 a year if you follow the manufacturer's suggestions. "
Regular oil changes are a critical maintenance item in ensuring your car's engine runs properly and will have a long life. Auto shop owner Jim Trump warns if oil changes aren't done in a timely manner, your car's performance and fuel economy can suffer, and long-term damage can occur. "Oil changes lubricate the engine and keep it from wearing. An oil change is probably the most important thing you can do for your car to keep the car healthy. "If you skip a lawn treatment you can always catch up and recover your lawn, but your engine will wear and you won't get that back."
How often to go between oil changes depends on several factors. Conventional motor oil should be changed between 3,000 and 5,000 miles. Those who use synthetic motor oil can go up to 7,000 to 8,000 miles. Be sure to check your owner's manual, though, as some vehicles require synthetic oil. "Synthetic oil is better oil," said Trump. "It lasts longer and it protects better. Some cars require synthetic oil. You need to read your owner's manual or ask your technician to help you with that decision."
If you push your oil change interval too far, you may actually be neglecting other car maintenance issues. A regular oil change schedule can also act as a benchmark for other routine services such as tire rotation, fluid level checks and tune-ups. Oil changes also give technicians a chance to look under the hood and undercarriage to see if there are problems with the vehicle.
Angie's List Tips: Oil Changes