Doing your own oil change is one of the easiest automotive tasks you can perform without the need to take your car to the mechanic. Once you’ve learned this skill, changing your vehicle’s oil should only take about 10 minutes.
But whether you take care of the oil change yourself or let a mechanic handle it, a common question people ask is “How many miles between oil changes?”.
Why Do Our Cars Need Oil?
When you open your hood and take a look at your engine, you see a solid piece of machinery that only changes through rust or damage. But, in some ways, an engine is a living thing. When your engine starts up after ignition, heat courses throughout and warms the metal. The metal then expands to different sizes and the pipes now have wider openings.
If you do not have motor oil in your car or truck, the engine’s expanded metal parts will scrape against each other causing internal damage. But when you add motor oil to your engine, it lubricates the different cranks, bearings, and walls. The lubrication helps these parts of the engine cooperate, so your engine works like a ‘well-oiled’ machine. But motor oil will get old and contaminated over time, so that is why it must be changed.
Calculating the Right Number of Miles Between Oil Changes
Obviously, the type of vehicle you drive and the type of motor oil it use are the biggest factor.
Another factor is how far you drive. If you take long trips or commute 30 miles every day of the week then you can change the oil less often. If you’re driving much shorter journeys then you will need to change it sooner.
You must change your motor oil more often if you drive slowly. Contaminants have more time to seep into your engine and your oil if driving at a slower pace.
Another thing is the vehicle’s age. Older engines are generally dirtier and muddy up motor oil faster than newer vehicles. You can have your engine completely serviced and cleaned out, so the motor oil lasts longer but it does cost a few dollars. Probably it would cost less money to simply change your motor oil more frequently.
How Often Should You Change Synthetic Oil?
Synthetic oil is much more clean and efficient compared to conventional motor oil. Because it is made in a factory, it also has powder chemicals in it and a second oil, so the powder mixes well with the oil.
The synthetic oil change interval is about 5000 to 7500 miles. Synthetic oil has fewer chemicals, so it lasts longer than traditional mineral motor oil. You can get in contact with the manufacturer of your vehicle and ask about the correct length of time between oil changes if you have synthetic oil.
You don’t want to change out the synthetic oil too early. Although it will be cleaner if you change the synthetic oil regularly, it is more expensive. You will spend money that you don’t have to for a very minimal increase in performance.
Because of the upgrade in motor oil, the new technology available in engines, and engines’ durability, you either need to change your motor oil every 5000 to 7500 miles if you’re using synthetic oil or 3,000 miles if using regular motor oil. But this can be confusing. If you don’t know what kind of oil to use in your vehicle, send an email to the brand of your vehicle and ask them. Don’t forget to include the make and model in the email.
Although the 3,000 mile oil change rule still applies to those vehicles using regular mineral motor oil, it is not the same for vehicles that use synthetic oil. If you use synthetic motor oil, you don’t have to change it out until around 5,000 miles. If you are using a vehicle with a diesel engine, you can wait even longer. But no matter what oil you use, be sure to change out the oil on time. Synthetic oil lasts longer than regular motor oil because it is cleaner.