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Every car owner knows they need to get their engine oil changed—the question is: how often?

If you’re like many drivers, you’ve probably heard about the standard 3,000-mile rule, which dictates that you should perform an oil change on your vehicle every 3,000 miles. This, however, is an outdated rule.

T5_OC_Guide to Oil Change Time

Today, mechanic shops consider other factors when deciding if a car needs an oil change, including engine type, oil type, and the car’s auto company recommendations. This raises an interesting question: should you change your oil based on time intervals or mileage?

Time vs. Mileage Oil Changes: Which Is More Important?

Is it better to change your oil based on how many miles you’ve driven or follow a time-based measurement rule? The truth is that both mileage and time intervals are important when determining when you should change your oil.

The mileage recommendation is important because the longer your drive, the more your oil becomes exposed to high temperatures. Eventually, the additives meant to keep your engine clean begin to diminish. Some cars are equipped with time components that basically state how long your vehicle should go without a proper oil change.

On the flip side, the length of time between oil changes is a key deciding factor because the quality of your oil deteriorates the longer you avoid a change. Over time, your oil will oxidize, which causes slushes to form. When this happens, your oil won’t be able to preserve your engine like it used to.

So even if your car doesn’t spend much time on the road, a scheduled oil change is always a good idea.

4 Rules to Follow When Scheduling an Oil Change

As you can see, when talking about oil change time vs. mileage, there’s no definitive answer. Both factors play critical roles in optimizing the life of your engine and your vehicle. With that said, here are four rules you should follow when deciding if it’s time to bring your car to a shop for a routine oil change:

1. Check Your Engine’s Oil

Conducting regular oil checks can make a big difference if you want to preserve your engine throughout the life of the car.

To check your oil, turn your engine off, let your car rest for at least 20 minutes, and then pop the hood. Next, pull out the dipstick, wipe away any excess oil with a paper towel, reinsert the dipstick, and pull it out again. Take note of the oil level.

If your dipstick line indicates that your oil level is low, then it’s time for a change. Remember, your engine oil can be affected by other car-related problems. For example, if you have a dirty air filter, you’ll have dirty particles contaminating your oil. At Take 5, we offer air filter replacement services so you can keep your engine free of any debris.

2. Consult Your Owner’s Manual

Think of your owner’s manual as an instructional checklist. It has all the information you need to properly take care of your vehicle, including troubleshooting tips and info on tune-ups and oil change schedules. It’s best to stick to the recommendations laid out in your manual, since the information applies specifically to your vehicle.

Your manual will also determine how often you should change your oil filter—this is a small filter that removes any contaminants from your engine and keeps your oil flowing properly.

Some manufacturers recommend changing your filter every time you get an oil change. When in doubt, consult your manual.

3. Check the Oil-Life Monitoring System

Some vehicles come equipped with an oil-life monitoring system. This is a computerized system that takes into account how your vehicle was driven to determine the best time for an oil change. It accounts for speed, climate conditions, distance traveled, rough terrain, etc.

If your car has this system, keep an eye on it, especially after returning from a road trip or a long drive, as your oil-life monitoring system should tell you how much engine oil you have left.

4. Determine How Much Load Your Vehicle Carries

The more weight your vehicle carries, the more strain it inflicts on your engine. If you've been towing something or carrying a heavy load recently, you may need an oil change sooner rather than later.

A heavy-duty pickup truck may be capable of hauling a boat without destroying its engine oil, but that doesn’t mean your minivan can do the same.

Get Your Oil Changed with Take 5

Your engine is the backbone of your vehicle, so why not equip it with the care it deserves? Here at Take 5, we provide our customers with simple, fast, and reliable services, including oil changes. Best of all, you can take advantage of drive-thru oil service, so you won’t have to leave the comfort of your vehicle.

Here’s a bonus: We also check your windshield as part of our windshield wiper replacement service

Find your closest location for an oil change today!

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