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How regularly should you change your car’s engine oil?

Leading manufacturers like Morris and Mobil produce a wide variety of quality engine oils, but while every car’s engine requires oil to operate effectively, using just any oil isn’t the answer. Today’s automobile engines are developed and constructed to incredibly precise and demanding standards, leading them to require automotive lubricants that reach rigid specifications established by automakers. New vehicle owners that fail to employ the correct kind of oil for their car’s engine can run into trouble and forfeit their warranty.

The right oil for your vehicle

Later model cars mostly need synthetic or synthetic blend oils that are multi-grade, resource conserving with a low viscosity to deliver the maximum in fuel economy and the minimum amount of friction between parts. Regardless of these considerations, selecting the correct oil may not always be so simple. The best lubricant for the model and make of a car must also have the right SAE viscosity grade, be compliant with any particular specifications outlined by the engine manufacturer, and meet the defined performance standards of the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA), International Lubricants Standardization and Approval Committee (ILSAC) and American Petroleum Institute (API). You will find this list of exacting requirements within your car’s user manual, but the shop you use for auto repairs can give you detailed information on the recommended oil specs for your car as well.

When should I change oil?

How regularly you should change the oil in your vehicle will vary depending on its age, the driving conditions it endures and the type of oil it uses. While it was once typical to have oil changing intervals every 3,000 miles, today’s lubricants have extended these limitations and oil changes are generally recommended every 5,000 or even 7,500 miles. The time between changes can be even greater for car engines that strictly use motor oil that is fully synthetic. Such vehicles can travel up to 15,000 miles before an oil change is due.

It’s always worth remembering that you cannot gauge an oil’s condition simply by its colour, so make sure you follow the defined factory schedule for maintenance when it comes to engine oil changes.

Older vehicle oil changes

Older vehicles commonly base oil changes on mileage and will usually have two schedules for maintenance, the first being for cars operated in “normal service” and the second being in “severe service”. Severe service is defined as using your car mainly for short distances, in cold, hot, or dusty climates and towing or carrying weighty loads. If you use your vehicle in severe service, maintain a stringent schedule of oil changes.

Newer vehicle oil changes

Drivers of newer vehicles will find their cars often equipped with useful systems that monitor oil life, can determine when oil changes are necessary automatically and provide notifications on the dashboard. Earlier versions of these systems are based on mileage and time, but the latest designs feature more detailed analysis that can assess operating conditions to establish exactly when oil will start degrading. This automatic monitoring shortens the interval between oil changing as it detects more heavy use, leading to many newer vehicles’ manuals no longer including recommendations for severe service.

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