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Benson, NC 27504

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How Often Do I Change The Oil In My Car?

Learn how to determine the right time for an oil change in your car. Discover signs, oil change intervals, and step-by-step instructions for DIY oil changes.
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The frequency of oil changes can vary depending on several factors. As a general guideline, most vehicle manufacturers recommend an oil change every 3,000 to 5,000 miles or every three to six months, whichever comes first. However, it’s important to consult your car’s owner manual for the manufacturer’s specific recommendations as they may vary based on the make and model of your vehicle.

Factors such as driving conditions, climate, and the type of oil used can also influence the recommended oil change interval. If you frequently drive in severe conditions like extreme temperatures, dusty environments, or stop-and-go traffic, you may need to change your oil more frequently.

It’s worth noting that modern synthetic oils tend to last longer than conventional oils and may allow for extended oil change intervals. Always follow the recommendations provided by your vehicle’s manufacturer and consider your driving habits and conditions when determining the appropriate frequency for oil changes.

Signs that indicate the need for an oil change:

  1. Engine oil level is low: If the oil level on the dipstick is below the recommended level, it’s time to add oil or change the existing oil.
  2. Oil appears dirty or dark: Check the color and consistency of the oil. If it appears dark, dirty, or gritty, it’s an indication that the oil has lost its effectiveness and needs to be changed.
  3. Strange engine noises: If you hear knocking, ticking, or other unusual sounds coming from your engine, it could be a sign of insufficient lubrication due to old or contaminated oil.
  4. Decreased fuel efficiency: If you notice a sudden decrease in your car’s fuel efficiency, it may be due to the engine working harder as a result of inadequate lubrication. Consider changing the oil to improve fuel economy.
  5. Dashboard warning light: Many modern cars are equipped with oil pressure or oil change indicator lights. If the light illuminates or stays on, it’s time to check the oil level and schedule an oil change if necessary.

How to check the oil level in your car:

  1. Park your car on a level surface and turn off the engine.
  2. Open the hood and locate the dipstick, usually labeled “Engine Oil.”
  3. Pull out the dipstick and wipe it clean with a cloth or paper towel.
  4. Reinsert the dipstick fully into its tube, then pull it out again.
  5. Check the oil level by observing where the oil film reaches on the dipstick. It should be between the “Low” and “Full” marks.
  6. If the oil level is low, add the appropriate type and amount of oil as recommended by the vehicle’s manufacturer.

Steps to change the oil in your car:

  1. Gather the necessary tools and materials:
    • New oil (check your owner’s manual for the recommended oil type and quantity)
    • Oil filter
    • Oil filter wrench
    • Drain pan
    • Funnel
    • Gloves and safety goggles
  2. Locate the oil drain plug and oil filter:
    • Consult your car’s owner manual or a repair guide to find the exact location of the oil drain plug and oil filter.
  3. Drain the old oil:
    • Place the drain pan under the oil drain plug.
    • Use a wrench to loosen and remove the drain plug.
    • Allow the old oil to drain completely into the pan.
    • Replace the drain plug once the oil has drained.
  4. Replace the oil filter:
    • Locate the oil filter and use an oil filter wrench to loosen and remove it.
    • Take a new oil filter and apply a thin layer of fresh oil to the rubber gasket.
    • Install the new oil filter by hand, turning it clockwise until snug.
  5. Add new oil:
    • Use a funnel to pour the new oil into the oil filler opening, as recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer.
    • Check the oil level using the dipstick and add more oil if needed.
  6. Dispose of the old oil properly:
    • Transfer the used oil from the drain pan into a sealed container.
    • Take the container to a recycling center or an auto parts store that accepts used oil for proper disposal.

120 W Main St, Benson, NC 27504

MON-FRI 7:00 AM – 6:00 PM

SAT 7:00 AM – 3:00 PM


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