How often should I change my oil?

With advances in oil and engine technology, traditional 3,000-mile oil changes no longer apply to all makes and models of vehicles. The most recent models are equipped with higher efficiency engines, synthetic oils, and oil life monitors, leading towards a 5,000-15,000 mile service. Refer to your owner′s manual in order to follow the manufacturer's recommended oil change interval for your car or truck.


You should still check your oil level at least every month. Just because oil becomes darker when you read the dipstick, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are due for an oil change. When your engine is cool, remove the oil dipstick and wipe your index finger along the bottom of the stick. Rub your fingers together. The oil should feel thin and smooth. If you feel grit, you need an oil change.


Oil filters must be changed every time your change the oil, no questions asked. This prevents contaminants trapped by the previous filter from entering your new oil’s life cycle. An old oil filter can become so contaminated that the oil will not flow, causing severe engine damage. Even a cheap oil change is better than no service at all.


Synthetic Oil vs Conventional Oil


Conventional motor oil is refined from crude oil. Synthetic oil is chemically composed by engineers using modified petroleum components, resulting in complex and stable structures. Exclusive additives are then applied, distinguishing the full synthetic or premium synthetic from semi-synthetic, and blended synthetic oils.


The hand picked properties that make up each blend result in superior performing lubricants, greater engine protection and increased intervals between oil changes.Engines using high quality synthetic oils are proven to operate within a greater temperature range, with higher performance and a decrease in the number of required oil changes. This is the reason that synthetic oils are more expensive than conventional oils.


If the manufacturer of your vehicle recommends synthetic oil for your car, you must use it all the time. If you use a lesser grade of motor oil it will void your warranty and could cause major internal damage to your engine. If your car doesn't require synthetic oil, you can use it, because it is a better quality of motor oil.


Oil Viscosity and Oil Weight


Oil weight is the same thing as oil viscosity. The thickness of motor oil is measured by its corresponding viscosity grade. A thicker oil with a higher viscosity number (SAE 40) will flow more slowly than an oil with a lower viscosity rating (SAE 20). Think of the viscosity as being similar to maple syrup. Maple syrup has a high viscosity making it more resistant to flow, compared to water which flows more naturally with a low viscosity.


Don’t confuse the weight with that big “W” on your bottle. Any oil that has been tested in cold temperatures will be accompanied by the large “W”, which stands for winter. These multiple weight oils (5W20) are produced by adding agents to the oil, enabling the oil to maintain separate weights at varied temperatures. The first number identifies the thickness at 0 degrees F. The second number identifies the thickness at normal operating temperatures.


Engine oils with 0W20, 5W20, and 10W20 sustain the same viscosity during operating temperature at 210 degrees. However, when starting your car in cold conditions, the 0W20 will flow faster through the engine oil system compared to the 10W20. The thicker lubricant takes longer to warm up and pass through the system during a cold start. The quicker the oil flows, the less stress on your engine’s components.


It’s important to use the correct motor oil grade in your truck or car. When operating your vehicle in extreme heat or cold, the manufacturer might recommend different weights of oil. Check your owner’s manual for the recommended grade of oil for all driving conditions. Many vehicles list the oil weight on the engine oil fill cap. Your mechanic or express oil change facility will look up the correct oil weight for your vehicle.


What is the best motor oil?


It really depends on whom you ask. There are many brands of motor oil to choose from Castrol, Pennzoil and Valvoline are a few of the top brands. Make sure to follow the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendation for oil change frequency to prolong the engine life of the vehicle. Engine oil provides the layer of protection between the moving parts in your engine. The correct viscosity of motor oil, and regular oil changes, are more important than the brand.


Oil Change Coupons


Many of the auto repair shops on our website offer coupons for oil changes. Be sure to look for coupons and specials on these pages.