From teenagers who have just passed their drivers’ education course to veterans of the road who have been driving 50-plus years, anybody who drives knows that a car needs to have its oil changed. If nothing else, we’re often told, this is the one area in vehicle maintenance that we should not skimp on or put off. And that’s very true—having your oil properly and routinely changed will help your car get better gas mileage and help your engine live longer.
What some people do not understand, however, is how often oil changes are actually required. There’s some old, confusing and contradictory information out there, and because they way cars are built and how we drive have both changed over the years, so have the general guidelines for getting your oil changed. As a mechanic shop that provides oil changes in Lansing, MI, we know that figuring out how often to come in for an oil change can be difficult for some of our customers. Here are a few guidelines to help you determine how often your car needs oil changes in Lansing, MI.
- The general rule: If you aren’t even sure where to start with oil changes, an old general rule of thumb is to have your oil changed every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. This is a pretty good guideline, especially if you have an older car. There are, however, many exceptions to this rule, including the following factors.
- Synthetic oil: These days, many different cars use synthetic rather than natural oil. Synthetic oil is designed to stay clean longer than the real thing, meaning that those who use synthetic oil will need to change it out far less often than those who use conventional oil. If you use synthetic oil, ask your mechanic what a good schedule is for you.
- Climate: It can get very cold here in Michigan, and if you’re driving a lot in extreme weather, you may need to change your oil more often. It’s a good idea to have your oil changed at least once during the harshest part of winter. Remember, it is always better to change your oil too often as opposed to not often enough!
- Short drives: You car puts a lot of work just into starting its engine up. If you typically make very short drives that are less than four miles long, then the general 3,000-mile rule might not be often enough for you. If your workplace or school is within four miles of your home, ask a mechanic for a recommended oil change schedule.
- Check your manual: Finally, if you are unsure about how often your car requires an oil change, consulting the manual will likely give you a more concrete answer. If you don’t have the paper version, there is a good chance you can find the digital version online. And if even that doesn’t give you a definitive answer, you can always ask advice from your friendly local mechanics at PFS Auto Repair. We’d love to be your go-to source for oil changes in Lansing, MI!