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How frequently should I check my motor engine oil?

A question that often crops up from motorists concerns the frequency with which they should check their motor engine oil – and it is not an easy question to answer. Naturally, consulting the manufacturer guidelines will help to a certain degree, but this advice is very much set against industry standards and average car use.

These industry standards are also dictated by ideal driving conditions and styles, but many daily habits are not necessarily counted as ‘standard’.

For example, a stop-start approach, increasingly the norm in city driving, is by no means an industry standard. Making regular short journeys of up to 10 miles, another normal driving condition for many motorists in the UK, is also not an industry standard.

Another point of issue to be aware of is that industry standards are measured against normally aspirated petrol engines. Diesel engines and turbocharged engines are not classed as industry standard for setting oil check and change frequency.

Other advice readily available from dealerships and oil providers will point to checking your oil every 3,000 to 7,500 miles. The type of car used, and the types of trips made, will also be relevant. In recent times too, on-board diagnostics (OBD) in modern cars can be a help. The type of oil used is also critical.

Major manufacturers of engine oils, such as Fuchs, Q8, Shell, and Mobil, will also provide their own advice and, as these are the oils used to set up the cars as they roll off the production line, there can be a lot of credence given to such advice.

One other area that is critical for oil use and performance, as well as the general performance of the car, is to maintain a car well. Everything from checking tyre pressures to cleaning the vehicle on a regular basis will have an effect.

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