How Often to Change Oil in Car: The Ultimate Guide

As a car owner, it’s essential to understand the importance of regular car maintenance. Changing your car’s oil is one of the most critical maintenance tasks you should never overlook. But how often should you change your oil? This article will provide you with the ultimate guide to answering this question.

Manufacturer Recommendations

Having a professional change the oil ensures it's done properly and efficiently
Having a professional change the oil ensures it’s done properly and efficiently

Most car manufacturers recommend changing the oil in your car every 7,500 to 10,000 miles or every six months, whichever comes first. However, this interval can vary depending on the make and model of your car. Some car manufacturers require more frequent oil changes, especially for older models or those with specific engine types.

It’s important to check your car’s owner’s manual to find out the recommended oil change interval for your car. Following the car manufacturer’s recommendations ensures that your car’s engine runs smoothly and lasts longer.

It’s also worth noting that some car manufacturers offer oil life monitoring systems that use sensors to detect when your car needs an oil change. These systems take into account factors like engine temperature, driving style, and mileage to determine when to change the oil.

Driving Habits and Conditions

While following the car manufacturer’s recommendations is a good starting point, it’s essential to consider your driving habits and conditions. If you frequently drive in stop-and-go traffic, drive on dusty roads, or drive in extreme temperatures, you may need to change your oil more frequently.

For example, if you frequently drive in stop-and-go traffic, your engine may require more oil changes because of the increased wear and tear on your engine. Similarly, if you frequently drive on dusty roads, your engine may accumulate more dirt and debris, requiring more frequent oil changes.

Extreme temperatures can also impact your car’s oil life. In hot weather, the oil can break down faster, while cold weather can cause the oil to thicken, making it more difficult for your engine to circulate the oil properly.

Driving Habits and Conditions (Cont’d)

Other factors that can impact how often you need to change your oil include your driving habits and the type of oil you use. If you frequently drive in heavy traffic, do a lot of city driving, or frequently tow heavy loads, you may need to change your oil more frequently.

Similarly, if you use your car for racing or other high-performance activities, you may need to change your oil more frequently to prevent engine wear and tear.

It’s also important to consider the type of oil you use. Synthetic oils typically last longer than conventional oils and may not require oil changes as frequently. However, synthetic oils can be more expensive, so it’s important to weigh the cost against the benefits.

Signs that Oil Needs Changing

It’s essential to pay attention to the signs that indicate it’s time to change your car’s oil. Some of the most common signs include:

  • Dirty or dark oil: If your oil appears dirty or dark, it’s a sign that it’s time for a change. Over time, oil can accumulate dirt and debris, reducing its effectiveness in lubricating your engine.

  • Engine warning light: If your car’s engine warning light comes on, it’s often a sign that your oil needs changing. The engine warning light can come on for various reasons, including low oil pressure or low oil level.

  • Engine noise: If your engine is making unusual noises, such as knocking or ticking, it could be a sign that your oil needs changing. Over time, oil can break down and lose its viscosity, making it less effective in lubricating your engine.

  • Mileage: If you can’t remember the last time you changed your oil or if it’s been over six months, it’s probably time for an oil change.

By paying attention to these signs and changing your oil at the recommended intervals, you can ensure that your car’s engine runs smoothly and lasts longer.

DIY vs Professional Oil Changes

When it comes to changing your car’s oil, you have two options: do it yourself or have it done by a professional. There are pros and cons to both options, and which one you choose will depend on your personal preference and experience.

DIY Oil Changes

One of the main advantages of changing your car’s oil yourself is cost savings. Doing it yourself can save you money on labor costs, and you can purchase the oil and filter yourself, potentially reducing the cost further.

Another advantage is the convenience of being able to do it on your schedule. You won’t have to wait for an appointment or drive to a mechanic. Additionally, if you’re mechanically inclined, changing your car’s oil can be a satisfying and straightforward task.

However, there are also potential drawbacks to changing your car’s oil yourself. If you’re not experienced with car maintenance, you may make mistakes that can be costly in the long run. Additionally, you’ll need to have the necessary tools and equipment, and you’ll need to dispose of the used oil and filter properly.

Professional Oil Changes

Having your car’s oil changed by a professional mechanic has its advantages as well. For one, you can have peace of mind knowing that the job is done correctly. Professional mechanics have the expertise and experience to change your car’s oil quickly and efficiently.

Another advantage is that they’ll dispose of the used oil and filter for you, saving you the hassle of doing it yourself. Additionally, some mechanics may perform a quick inspection of your car while changing the oil, alerting you to any potential issues that need to be addressed.

The main disadvantage of having your oil changed by a professional is the cost. Labor costs and the price of the oil and filter can add up, making it more expensive than doing it yourself.


In conclusion, changing your car’s oil regularly is essential to keep your engine running smoothly and prolonging its life. However, the frequency of oil changes depends on several factors, including your car’s make and model, your driving habits and conditions, and the manufacturer’s recommendations.

If you’re comfortable with car maintenance and have the necessary tools and equipment, changing your oil yourself can save you money and provide a sense of satisfaction. However, if you’re not experienced or prefer to have a professional do it, the peace of mind of knowing the job is done correctly may be worth the extra cost.

At Auto Oil And Fluid, we recommend following your car manufacturer’s recommendations for oil changes and adjusting the frequency based on your driving habits and conditions. By doing so, you can ensure that your car’s engine runs smoothly and lasts as long as possible.

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