If you fall into the category of drivers who allow a windshield reminder sticker to dictate when they get an oil change, current expertise recommends you drop that habit. Conversely, it is advised you heed the automobile maker’s advised service intervals. For those driving modern cars, it is advised that you rely upon the car’s oil life monitoring system to alert you when it is time for a change.
The Manual Is Your Guide
In the maintenance section of your owner’s manual, there is an oil change information section customized for your vehicle. Commonly, the manual will list two service schedules, based on what they deem “normal” and “special” driving conditions. Decide which description best fits you and follow the advised schedule. If you are unable to locate your owner’s manual, chances are you can find one online or even refer to Edmund’s Maintenance Schedules, whose database includes makes as far back as 1980.
Trust Your Monitor
Recently, manufacturers have been installing oil life monitors, which are based on mileage and alert the driver via a maintenance light when the vehicle reaches that predetermined mileage range. In more advanced versions, the monitors are continuously tracking information via sensors located throughout the car and then utilize an algorithm to predict your oil life. Depending on your driving conditions and behaviors, the frequency of your car’s lubricant can vary daily. All guesswork is eliminated about when your next tune up is and you are free to just drive until the maintenance light alerts you. It is important to remember that these systems are created to work with the factory-recommended brands. As high-tech as they may seem, they are not advanced enough to distinguish if you choose to upgrade to a higher brand. So, it actually pays to save your money and rely on the factory fill.
Obtain an Oil Analysis
Every mechanic and dealership service crew may seem to have their own rationales for their recommendations. The most reliable way to determine the life of your vehicle is to obtain an oil analysis. This will spell out the conditions of your fluids, as well as unveil any issues your engine may be having. Once your results come back from the lab, you will receive recommendations on just how far you can go between service appointments.
Make the Switch to Extended-Life Oils
Companies are now making extended-life oils available, guaranteed to last until the mileage notated on the bottles, with some as high as 15,000 miles. However, it should be noted that these are recommended for automobiles that are beyond their warranty limits. In fact, most manufacturers will deem your warranty void if you fail to adhere to their recommended service schedules.
There is no absolute answer to the question of how often a driver should obtain an oil change. Although the average suggestion is every three to five thousand miles, there are many factors that can affect that estimate. If you happen to schedule your maintenance too early, you are only aiding in the health of your engine. The older the lubrication is, the harder your engine has to work to perform properly. Thus, your car burns more fuel. So, going in early only equates to you saving on gas mileage.