When Does A Vehicle Need An Oil Change?

Few things are as important to keeping a car, truck, or SUV on the road as much as getting a regular oil change. Getting into an oil change shop can be a minor inconvenience, so you may wonder when it's appropriate to schedule work. Take a look at four times when you'll want to get an oil change performed on your vehicle.

Every 3,000 to 10,000 Miles

This one varies a lot depending on the model of the car and the type of oil it requires. Some vehicles are very hard on oil, such as some classic VW Beetles that lacked sufficient airflow to their rear-mounted engine. These types of vehicles may need to have their oil changed more frequently.

If you've heard that an oil change should come every 3,000 miles, then you probably dealt with a vehicle from the 1970s to 1990s at some point in your life. That rule still applies to most of those vehicles. Most modern cars that use synthetic oils can stand between 5,000 and 10,000 miles of use.

It's Been More Than 6 Months

Once a vehicle has gone without service for more than 6 months, it should be presumed that it requires a change of oil. This applies even if you don't drive your vehicle a lot. What happens with a vehicle that's not run very often is that the oil can start to separate. This can encourage sludge to build up in the bottom of the motor.

The Engine Is Getting Noisy

Regardless of time and mileage, an engine will try to tell you when the oil is running low or thin. If you hear tapping or knocking sounds, it's worth seeing whether the oil is the problem. You'll get used to this pattern with some cars because certain models tend to have very oil-hungry lifters that get noisy when they're not being fed. It'll become second nature for owners of these cars to seek oil change service.

Before and After a Long Trip

If you're planning a long trip, get an oil change done just so that it won't be on your mind. This is particularly the case if you're going to have to climb hills or mountains. Someone doing a coast-to-coast trip that will take them over the Rockies, for example, will put more strain on their vehicle's oil. Once you've gotten home, schedule another oil change just to be on the safe side.