One of your responsibilities in owning a car is to know when to change its engine oil. Together with the water from the radiator, the engine oil keeps your car’s engine running without overheating.
If you are using your car every day for your commute, this engine oil will get dirty and will not be able to fulfill its job. Therefore, you need to know when it needs to be replaced. A regular Valvoline oil change is therefore necessary if you want to continuously have a well-functioning vehicle.
Factory Recommended Intervals
If you bought your car brand new, you will be provided with an operator’s manual that l includes the recommended oil change schedule. However, if you bought a used car, and no manual was given by the seller, you need to search online as to the oil change schedule of that particular car.
Normally, car manufacturers advise car owners to have their engine oil and oil filter changed annually, or every 5,000 to 7,500 miles. Some car makers recommend a longer interval of 10,000 miles.
But other manufacturers don’t provide any recommended interval relying instead on an oil service reminder to let the car owner determine when to change the engine oil. There are oil lights that do not come on until the car has run for about 10,000 miles to 12,000 miles, if the car is driven under normal conditions.
With passenger cars, cars with turbocharged gasoline engines, and light trucks with diesel engines, the normal oil change interval is about 3,000 miles or approximately six months. However, this recommendation has been changed for current car and truck models.
Your Car’s Oil Change Intervals
If you have an operator’s manual, you will notice that the fine print indicates that extended periods of oil change, such as those above 5,000 miles, are only advised if you drive your car mostly in ideal driving conditions. But most drivers do not know that their definition of ‘ideal’ is actual bordering on ‘severe’ driving conditions so far as it relates to the engine oil.
You are performing severe service driving if you are usually in the following driving conditions:
- Stop and go traffic in the city
- Driving at highway speeds in hot weather
- Driving short trips frequently, about less than 10 minutes, and in cold weather
- Driving in dusty roads such as dirt and gravel roads
If your driving is frequently done under these conditions, your engine oil is taxed to the limit and it might need to be changed more frequently so that your engine will get all the cooling help it needs.
Oil Change Interval for Severe Driving Conditions
The usual recommendation for severe driving conditions is to have an engine oil change for every 3,000 miles or about six months. If your car is a late model with low mileage, you can extend the period.
But if your car is an older model and already has a high mileage, you need to strictly follow this recommendation. The definition of high mileage here is approximately from 75,000 miles to 100,000 miles.
If you want maximum protection for your engine, you need to change its oil every 3,000 miles or from three to six months, no matter what type of driving conditions you frequently do or the number of mileage of your car.
Others may say that this is unnecessary for it wastes a lot of good engine oil. This may be true if you have a low mileage car, or you’re not driving your car over 10 miles every day. But changing the engine oil is a lot less costly than changing the car’s engine.
Newer Engines versus Old Engines
If you have a new car, it would probably not hurt its engine if you decide on changing the oil every 5,000 to 7,000 miles. But if you extend the period of oil change more than 7,500 miles, you are exposing your new car to a lot of risks.
In fact, there are some car manufacturers which followed a longer oil change interval and have their cars run into engine problems such as the formation of sludge inside the engines. Instead of saving money, the car owners have to spend heavily to have their damaged car engines repaired.
They just ignore the fact that with many city drivers, the ‘ideal’ driving condition is more likely ‘severe’ in nature.
Some drivers who practice changing their engine oil every 3,000 miles for short trips, or every 5,000 miles for highway driving, have not had any engine problem even if they have been driving for more than three decades.
The Car’s Engine Light
No matter what kind of oil change interval you are following, don’t ignore the engine light if it turns on. The moment you see it lighted, go to the nearest car service center, and have the engine oil changed. And change the oil filter as well since it must be already full of sludge.