If you own a vehicle–a car or truck with a gas motor–you likely need to know how often you need to change your oil. Motor oil is crucial for your vehicle; mainly, motor oil provides the essential lubrication needed for moving parts. Without the proper motor oil level, the parts can rub together, causing friction and damage. In no time, the vehicle’s engine could be destroyed. Motor oil for cars also helps provide supplemental cooling for the vehicle and helps keep the engine clean. Even so, oil change intervals can vary by time and miles driven. Here, we’ll explore how often you should get an oil change for your vehicle engine.

How Often Should You Get Your Car’s Oil Changed?

The first rule of thumb when considering oil change frequency for your car or truck engine is to consult its owner’s manual. Every vehicle owner’s manual will address its proper oil change intervals, noting how frequent oil changes are needed and how many miles driven necessitate a car oil change. The owner’s manual for vehicles will also recommend whether you should use synthetic oil or conventional oil.

It used to be standard for just about any car owner’s manual to recommend changing the car’s oil every 3,000 miles or every six months–whichever came first. However, improvements in car oils can extend the oil’s life, requiring drivers to obtain fewer oil changes. Again, the best thing to do is to check your vehicle owner’s manual for its recommendations for engine oil changes. Otherwise, the new rule of thumb, according to auto experts, is to get an oil change every 5,000 to 7,500 miles driven if you drive a newer vehicle. Some cars that use only new and specially designed synthetic oils may only need to get oil replacements after every 10,000 miles driven–a substantial improvement from that old 3,000 miles recommendation of the past. 

Additionally, if you don’t put a lot of miles on your newer vehicle, you may only need to get an oil change once each year, providing you don’t exceed the miles driven recommendation for oil changes or you may need to plan on getting more frequent oil changes. To avoid confusion on these points, always consult your owner’s manual. Additionally, if your car has a oil life monitoring system as many newer cars today too, you may be able to rely on it to help you determine when to get a car oil change. You should also change your oil filters as part of your car ownership maintenance routine.

Synthetic Oil vs Conventional Oil

Your car’s owner’s manual will also discuss the type of oil you should use for oil changes. Synthetic oils cost more money than car conventional oils or crude oil, but they perform better for your vehicle. Car synthetic motor oil might not be specifically recommended by your owner’s manual, but it does offer substantial benefits. For instance, synthetic oil is more resistant to oil deterioration, so it lasts longer than other oils. Synthetic oil withstands higher temperatures better than another oil type and is more chemically stable. For car owners who want to limit engine wear, synthetic oil is the best option when it comes to oil changes. 

Oil Change FAQs

Do you really need to get car oil changes every 6 months?

While it’s a good rule of thumb to have your oil changed or change your own oil yourself every 6 months for most cars and to safeguard its engine, newer vehicles may not need an oil change more than once per year provided that you don’t go over the recommended miles between oil changes (which may be every 3,000 miles, 5,000 miles, or even 10,000 miles; consult your car owner’s manual). Your driving habits will impact how often you need to change your oil. Older cars may need more frequent changes.

Is it okay to change oil once a year?

It may be advisable to get oil changes once per year if recommended in your car owner’s manual and if you don’t put a lot of mileage on your vehicle. More frequent oil changes are necessary for cars if you drive longer distances or put a lot of mileage on your auto. The miles between oil changes depends on the type and age of your vehicle and its engine. Modern engines don’t need frequent oil changes unless your driving routine and mileage necessitates more frequent oil changes. Also, synthetic motor oil has a longer oil life than other oil types, is better for your car, and extends the oil change interval.

How many months should you go between oil changes?

Older vehicles may need an oil change every 6 months while newer engines and certain vehicles may not need an oil change more than once a year so long as the driver doesn’t go over the recommended mileage between oil changes. Keep in mind that oil breaks down, which is why used oil needs changing in accordance with mileage driven or time between changes. Driving too long on old oil can result in engine damage and the need for severe service repairs. Simply by getting a new oil filter for your engine and changing motor oil regularly can reduce the need for severe service repairs.

How long can you go without an oil change?

It’s important to change your oil as directed by your vehicle owner’s manual or you risk damage to your car engine. It’s always safest to abide your vehicle manual’s exacting standards. You can check your oil by testing the oil dipstick to ensure that there is enough oil present. Old residual oil can’t do the job of lubricating your engine properly. While a frequent oil change routine will cost more money, the right oil freshly changed can enhance your engine operation. Many drivers prefer to stick to a normal oil replacement routine or request that an oil service center checks their oil and whether a filter change is needed.