Oil Change Intervals: How Often Should I Change My Car Oil?

Is it OK to change car oil once a year? What happens if I don’t replace my car oil? Are car oil change intervals the same? These are questions many car owners often ask our vehicle technicians, especially those who don’t drive too often or have vehicles with low mileage. The truth is, oil change intervals depend on several factors and in this article, we will explore them in detail. This will help you can ensure that your vehicle remains in excellent condition without any nasty surprises.

What Are Car Oil Change Intervals?

Keeping up with your vehicle’s oil change intervals is essential for proper maintenance and engine longevity. Each manufacturer provides specific guidelines about when you should get an oil change, based on the type of engine, driving conditions, and what kind of oil is used. For a traditional petrol or diesel car, it’s recommended to switch out your car oil every 3 to 12 months or every 3,000 to 10,000 miles – whichever comes first!

Factors That Affect Oil Change Intervals

The type of oil:

There are different types of oils available in the market, such as conventional oil, synthetic oil, and high-mileage oil. The type of oil you use can impact how often you should change your car’s oil. For instance, synthetic oil can last longer than conventional oil, so you might not need to change it as often.

Driving conditions:

If you’re driving conditions often involve stop-and-go traffic, dusty roads or extreme temperatures, it’s likely that your car oil change intervals will be more frequent than someone who mostly drives on highways and in milder climates. As you can tell, the way you drive plays a vital role in deciding how often you should change the oil.

Driving habits:

If you’re an aggressive driver who often revs up the engine and drives faster than you should, your car oil change intervals will be shorter than someone who is more gentle on the throttle.

Age of the car:

The age of your car can also affect how often you should change your oil. Older cars tend to have more wear and tear on their engines, which can result in more frequent oil changes.

Also Read: Driving Habits That Can Damage Your Car

How Often Should You Change Your Car’s Oil?

As mentioned earlier, the frequency of car oil change intervals depends on various factors. However, as a general rule, most car manufacturers recommend changing your car’s oil every 5,000 to 7,500 miles or every six months, whichever comes first. This is based on normal driving conditions, which means that if you frequently drive in harsh conditions, you may need to more frequent oil changes. That means two oil change per year in most cases!

It’s important to note that this is just a general guideline, and you should always consult your car owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommendations for oil changes. Alternatively, you can also contact your local car dealership or your nearest Elite Garages.

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Signs That Your Car Needs an Oil Change

Are you uncertain if it’s time for an oil change? Then you’ll be glad to hear that there are some tell-tale signs that you should keep an on:

  1. Check Engine Light: If your check engine light comes on, it may indicate that your car’s oil needs changing. You should get your car checked by a professional mechanic to confirm the issue and make sure you follow the recommended oil change intervals as per your vehicle’s manufacturer.
  2. Dirty or Dark Oil: If you check your car’s oil and notice that it’s dirty or dark, it’s time to change it. Fresh oil is golden or amber in colour, while dirty oil is darker and may have debris in it.
  3. Loud Engine Noise: If your engine is making loud or unusual noises, it may be due to dirty oil and a low level of oil. You should get your car checked by a technician immediately.

Which Is The Best Car Oil For My Car?

In the UK, the most common types of car oil are 10W-30, 5W-30, and 0W-20. 

  • 10W-30 is an ideal oil for all kinds of vehicles, providing optimal protection in both cold and hot climates.
  • 5W-30 synthetic oil is the perfect choice for drivers in cold climates, as it offers a thinner viscosity than other car oils.
  • 0W-20 is a synthetic oil formulated specifically for cars that need the thinnest oil which means it is not a recommended for vehicles that typically operate in hotter climates.

5W-30 and 5W-40 car oils are compatible with some models of common cars, including the Ford Focus, Ford Ka, Honda Civic and VW Golf. Several other car models, such as a Vauxhall Astra, Vauxhall Corsa and MINI Cooper recommend 0W-30 oil, which is similar to 5W-30 but less viscous at lower temperatures.

How Do I Change My Car Oil?

When your car oil change intervals roll nearer, you could change the oil at home but only if you are comfortable doing your own vehicle maintenance. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Park your car on a level surface and let the engine cool down.
  2. Locate the oil drain plug underneath your car and place a container underneath the sump plug to collect the old car oil.
  3. Remove the oil drain plug and let the oil drain out.
  4. Replace the oil filter.
  5. Add new car oil. Remember to check your car’s owner manual for the type and amount of oil required. Pour the car oil slowly and check the oil level frequently with a dipstick.
  6. Replace the oil cap and start your engine to check for any leaks.
  7. Dispose of the used oil and oil filter properly by taking it to a local car parts store or recycling centre.

If you’re not comfortable doing your own oil change, we highly recommend taking your car to a professional technician. They have the tools and expertise to change your oil quickly and efficiently.

Car Oil Change Intervals And Car Servicing At Elite Garages

You should always follow the recommended car oil change intervals which is typically every 5,000 miles but other factors may play a part. By driving too fast and aggressively, it can put an immense amount of stress on the engine, the oil filter and oil. Also, when operating at higher speeds, over time there is more wear-and-tear to certain parts in the engine which may lead to faster oil consumption and more frequent oil changes.

Don’t wait until it’s too late; book your oil change and car service at Elite Garages. Our friendly, professional and highly experienced team of vehicle technicians are here to assist in any way they can. They can also answer any questions you may have about car oil change intervals, the benefits of using good quality oil and regular servicing.

If you never do an oil change, then your engine will eventually become clogged with dirt and sludge buildup. This can lead to a decrease in performance of the engine, as well as reduced fuel economy and increased emissions. Over time, this buildup can also cause serious damage to your engine components, leading to costly repairs or even a complete engine rebuild.

The best way to decide when to get an oil change is by taking a “whatever comes first” approach. If you drive frequently and accrue mileage rapidly, then it’s crucial that you get your car oil changed as soon as possible, even if the suggested 6 months hasn’t passed yet. This could be especially effective for those who often commute or simply returned from a long road trip.

Even if you don’t drive very often and you are not nearing the recommended oil change interval in terms of mileage, it’s best to get your oil changed at least every 3 to 12 months. That means at least once a year but ideally twice depending on how often you drive and the driving conditions.