Regular maintenance for your vehicle is critical to keeping your car safe and avoiding the costs of major reactive engine repairs. Oil is an essential element for your engine and should be handled in a proactive manner, rather. Oil is what keeps the engine parts clean, cool and lubricated for daily driving. Motor oil also protects against engine wear when you start your car. For most vehicles, the oil should be changed out every 3,000 to 4,500 miles or every 3 to 4 months. This is table stakes for good car care and there is simply no vehicle maintenance more important to the vehicle’s long-term health. That said, there are times when oil needs even more attention.
If you use your vehicle for commuting in stop and go traffic or you use it recreationally in the mountains, your oil should be changed more frequently. Making short distance drives without letting your engine’s oil heat up first can also contaminate it and require more service.
There are many schools of thought regarding how often you should have your oil changed. Recently, many auto manufacturers have adjusted their recommendations on oil change frequency and suggest every 5,000 to 7,500 miles for “normal” driving conditions. Reasons for the extended recommendations include higher quality lubricants available and more modern engines but there is extensive evidence that still supports the theory that shorter intervals are better. Since the extended intervals were recommended, there has been a dramatic increase in engine failures due to poor oil maintenance. The fact is that most drivers today are not driving under “normal” conditions but rather under more “extreme” conditions. They are subject to rush hour commutes with stop and go traffic, regular short trips, long idling time, and driving in extreme hot and cold conditions. This is especially true for parents taking kids to and from school or other activities. If you live and drive in the Colorado Springs area, you certainly fall into the “extreme” driver category. Because of this, we continue to advocate for more regular service intervals and also the use of higher quality oil, especially in newer cars.
As a guiding principle, we suggest that you stick to the old school recommendations of having your oil changed every 3,000 miles or every 3 months to avoid the possible risks of expensive engine repair. While some may disagree with this philosophy or think of it as wasting money, the alternative is a far more costly one, usually ranging from $4,000-$12,000. Just think of the number of oil changes you could have had for that amount of spend!