Johnson City Auto Repair

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How Often Should My Car Get an Oil Change?

Oil Change

Maintaining your car is important and an oil change is considered one of the most vital maintenance services required to ensure the longevity of your vehicle. That’s why our customers frequently ask how often should my car get an oil change? Honestly, it all depends. But our auto technicians at Ponder Auto Repair in Johnson City can help you determine the best course of action.

Let’s talk about the factors that go into how often should my car get an oil change:

  • Manufacturer’s Schedule

The best way to tell is to look at the car manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule for oil changes. They built it, so they know what works best for your vehicle year and model. If you have the owner’s manual, check there first. Most people just keep the manual in their glove box so it is handy for an easy reference. If you don’t have the manual you can find the recommended oil change schedule on the car manufacturer’s website.

You may hear some people recommend an oil change within a set period of time, but not all cars and trucks are the same. Different cars may require different times for oil changes depending on the age of the vehicle, mileage, and vehicle usage. Of course, more frequent oil changes are fine.

  • Driving Conditions

If you have a lot of cold starts, extreme heat, towing, and multiple short trips under four miles, it may shorten the oil life. Any of these driving conditions can shorten your service interval by 25 to 40 percent. If you’re wondering how often should my car get an oil change, any of these driving conditions could indicate that the right time is sooner rather than later.

  • Dash Maintenance Reminder

When to get your oil changed depends on more than just the number of miles you’ve driven. If you have a maintenance reminder on your dash, it uses the car’s computers to track both time and mileage.

Some dash maintenance reminders use an electronic sensor to measure the oil quality, and others use an algorithm based on driving metrics to determine your oil life. If your car doesn’t have the fancy dash reminder, go back to your manual for guidance.

  • Oil Light

In the past, everyone got oil changes every 3,000 to 3,500 miles. Now, due to better engine mechanical parts and better oil, you can usually go twice as long between oil changes. Of course, don’t wait for the low oil light to come on before you think about an oil change. When the light goes on, it may already be causing damage to your engine.

  • Synthetic Oil

Some automakers recommend synthetic oil for some cars. It may cost a little bit more but it can prolong your oil life. If you used synthetic oil on your last change, your car can usually last up to 7,000 to 10,000 miles between changes.

If You Skip Out on a Timely Oil Change

One important function of your car’s oil is to cut friction. Over time, your car’s oil gets infiltrated with contaminants and loses its viscosity (the ability to flow).Those contaminants cause friction when parts rub together. If your car has a lot of friction it will wear the parts out faster, sometimes causing major problems with your engine. The damage may even require an engine overhaul or replacement.

You likely know how important oil changes are. And that there is a lot more to answering your question about how often should my car get an oil change then just your odometer reading. But when it’s time (or beyond time) our auto technicians at Ponder Auto Repair in Johnson City are ready to help you with oil changes, further maintenance and repairs. Call or contact us today to schedule your next oil change.


Auto Repair
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