auto maintenance February 12, 2018

Do I Really Need To Change My Oil THAT Often?

As soon as people learn you work at an automotive repair shop, like Wiygul Automotive Clinic, the questions begin. It’s surely the same way for doctor, lawyers and dentists, and it just comes with the territory. So today, let’s address the most commonly asked question I get from BurkeVA drivers: “Do I really need to change the oil in my car THAT often?”

Simply answered: “YES!” Different automotive manufacturers recommend different time intervals between oil changes, but no matter what is recommended – listen to it. Even though there may not be a specific time frame that applies to every vehicle in all situations, the manufacturer makes recommendations for an oil change based on key data and statistics, and let’s face it — they know more about the engine in their product than most people.

Think of your vehicle’s engine as the heart of the machine. Without proper care and attention, just like your heart, your engine will fail and eventually die. To keep your engine running properly and most efficiently, you must keep the lifeblood the vehicle (the oil) clean, fresh and new.

Auto manufacturer’s recommendations — typically every 3,000 or 5,000 miles or three months whichever comes first — are based on normal driving conditions and practices. What’s normal? That’s hard to pinpoint, but what is considered abnormal is easier to nail down.

Exclusions from normal driving practices are based on these characteristics:

  • Short trips — less than 10 miles
  • Driving in city conditions — start-and-stop patterns
  • Less-than-perfect driving conditions — dusty dirt roads, gravel roads, snow covered roads, salt-covered roads
  • Driving the vehicle at “cruising” speeds for long periods during hot weather

Abnormal driving practices — such as those listed above — require more frequent oil changes as you make your way through Northern Virginia. These situations typically put more pressure on your engine and lead to dirtier oil that can lead to significant damage to your vehicle’s engine.

To get the largest return on your vehicle investment, properly timed oil changes are necessary. Another factor to consider is the age of your vehicle. As it ages, the engine may burn more oil than in the past, also necessitating more-frequent oil changes. Without enough oil to properly lubricate and protect the working parts of the engine, it will wear and eventually stop working altogether.

When in doubt, stop in to Wiygul Automotive Clinic. We can check the color and consistency of your oil and begin working with you to determine the appropriate intervals for your oil changes.

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