An oil change is one of the most common and more simpler auto maintenance services. Although this may be so, there may be some things about oil changes that you don’t know – one of the most common questions drivers have about oil changes is “how often do I need an oil change?” Oil is as vital to your car’s engine as blood is to the human body, so it is important to understand the basics around maintaining and replacing it. After all, oil changes are one of the most common maintenance services you will get for your vehicle and you will need them fairly often. Below we have answered some common questions about oil changes and discuss how to schedule an oil change.
What is included in a full-service oil change?
The first thing you should know about oil change services is the different types of oil changes that exist. There are two main types of oil changes: basic and full-service. Some shops may also offer a “mid-service” or “mid-range” oil change, which is a basic oil change with only some of the additional services included in a traditional full-service. A basic oil change is exactly that – just a simple replacement of your motor oil and filter with new oil and a fresh filter. A full-service oil change will include this as well as a handful of other small checks and maintenance items to ensure your vehicle is in good shape.
A full-range oil change will typically include the following services:
- Oil change
- Air filter change
- Coolant level check/top-off
- Power steering fluid top-off
- Brake fluid top-off
- Washer fluid top-off
- Chassis lubrication
- Tire pressure check
- Battery check
- Windshield wiper blade inspection/replacement (if needed)
Note that getting a full-service oil change at every oil change interval is often unnecessary. A full-range service is typically done during every other or every third oil change. A basic service will suffice for the rest of the oil changes.
How often should you change engine oil?
Your oil change interval will vary depending on the make and model of your car and as the auto industry continues to innovate and improve, how often you need an oil change will change as well. This makes answering the question of how often do you need an oil change tricky. Back in the day, when the automotive industry was still young, it used to be standard to get your motor oil changed every 3,000 miles, as there was only one kind of motor oil (conventional) and engines were less efficient. Thanks to decades of technological advancement, the general rule of thumb these days is to get an oil change every 5,000-7,500 miles.
Keep in mind that this rule of thumb is bound to change in the future. As we’ve mentioned, innovation in the automotive industry will allow your vehicle to go further in between oil changes one day. In some cases, such as with fully electric cars, you won’t need any motor oil at all! In the meantime, check what the manufacturer recommendation on oil change intervals is for your specific car make or refer to your vehicle’s owner manual to find out what your current oil change interval should be.
What kind of oil should you use?
With several different kinds of motor oil available on the market, you might be wondering which is the best for your vehicle. There are two main kinds of motor oil: conventional and synthetic. A third kind of motor oil, known as a synthetic blend, is a combination of the two in one product.
Conventional oil is the first kind of motor oil that was used in vehicles. It is still used today in a lot of older vehicles as well. Conventional oil today is formulated in a wide range of viscosity grades – a measure of oil quality at specific temperatures – to match the specific needs of your vehicle. You will typically only need conventional oil in cars with a “simple” engine design and in certain vintage vehicles.
Synthetic oil can in many way be considered the “new and improved” version of motor oil when compared to conventional. Synthetic motor oil is chemically designed to have fewer impurities and tends to perform much better and cleaner than conventional oil. They also contain additives that allow it to perform better in high-temperature environments. For most modern cars, this is the type of oil that you’ll be using, however it is more expensive than conventional oil.
A synthetic blend motor oil is part synthetic, part conventional oil mixed together. This makes the oil more resistant to oxidation than conventional oil while also adding better low-temperature performance than just straight synthetic oil. It is also a more economical option than fully-synthetic oil.
The last type of motor oil that you can get is high-mileage motor oil. Use this type of oil if you drive a late-model car with over 75,000 miles on the odometer. High-mileage blends are specifically formulated for older engines to prevent oil leaks and reduce burn-off.
CarAdvise – an easier way to schedule oil changes
When it’s time for an oil change, schedule your appointment through CarAdvise. Pay 10-40% less on all car maintenance services when you book through CarAdvise! Simply search for shops near you, select your service, and schedule your appointment to save.
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