What You Should Know About Oil Changes

close up of an oil change

There are a lot of questions car owners have when it comes to the oil in their cars. They can range from how to check oil, how to change it, or even what type of oil is best for their car. All of these questions are understandable, but the amount of information available can be overwhelming and does not always clear things up. Consumer Reports outlines important information car owners need to know about their car and oil.

Checking Oil

Newer cars defy a lot of the norms when it comes to oil, however checking your oil has not changed. While the method of checking can be different, some newer cars do not have dipsticks to check with but instead have electric oil monitors, you should still check once a month. Studies have shown that even newer cars need their oil to be topped off before an oil change.

Changing Oil

When it comes to changing your oil, Consumer Reports says to not rely on assumptions based on past experiences or mechanics that profit from that work. The timing on newer cars for oil changes is longer than in older cars. If in doubt, always check your owner’s manual in either the car maintenance or operation bible.

Many newer cars also have alerts for when it is time for your car’s oil change. When the alert pops up, do not wait to get it taken care of. You should change your oil as soon as you can when the alert appears.

How often should I change my oil? This is a common question for car owners. When in doubt, always look in your owner’s manual. Changing your oil is not just about miles. If you drive a lot or very little, you should get an oil change twice a year. Fresh oil is imperative to the function of your vehicle.

Choosing Oil

Many newer cars have the weight of the car’s motor oil printed on the cap. You can always check your owner’s manual too. If you have an older car, you do not necessarily need a special type of oil if your car is running well.

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Do I Need Synthetic Oil?

There are many reasons why a car owner might need synthetic oil. However, unless your manufacturer calls for it, it could be best cost-wise to stay with conventional oil. Consumer Reports does suggest that if you make frequent short trips, live in a region with very hot summer or cold winters, tow heavy materials often or have a car that is prone to sludge, synthetic oil might be beneficial for extending your vehicle’s lifespan.

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