At our auto repair shop in Paso Robles, oil changes are a
common service and we are often asked by customers if they should be getting
their oil changed every 3,000 or 5,000 miles.
The answer may surprise you!
Your owner’s manual is the first place you should look to
determine the interval for oil changes as the design of the engine is a major
factor. But it isn’t the only
factor. If your owner’s manual suggests
an oil change every 3,000 miles it is their recommendation without knowing you
and your driving habits. Newer vehicles
will often suggest an oil change every 5,000 miles, but it’s the same story –
it’s their recommendation without taking everything into account, like the age
of your vehicle; 5,000 miles might be right when it is still new, but that may
change over time.
When we’re asked about an oil change in Paso Robles, we
usually ask a few questions to learn about your driving habits: are most of
your trips in town or on the highway; do you regularly drive less than 10 miles
each way; how old is your vehicle; how many miles are on your vehicle? The answers here matter. If the majority of your trips in your car,
truck, or SUV are under 10 miles each way, you’re putting a lot of wear and
tear on your engine by starting it frequently and your engine isn’t getting hot
enough to boil off excess condensation or moisture in the system, which means
you need an oil change more often. In
fact, some vehicles should be getting their oil changed every 1,000 miles,
although this isn’t common. 1,000-mile
oil changes are more common for commercial vehicles that start and stop their
engines frequently, but in today’s age of ride share services and food
delivery, some non-commercial vehicles need frequent oil changes, too.
Now, if you drive short trips but drive infrequently, you’ll
be looking at time and not mileage. If
you put less than 10,000 miles per year on your vehicle, you’ll want to
schedule your oil change for every 6 months, regardless of mileage, as the oil
breaks down over time even without being driven.
Long-Trip Vehicle Oil
If you commute for work, you’ll rack up the mileage faster
and, more importantly, your vehicle is likely seeing mostly highway and freeway
mileage, which means less-frequent oil changes.
Cars less than 10 years old that mostly go on long commutes at higher
speeds can actually go longer between oil changes and wait until every 5,000
miles. Some drivers prefer to use synthetic oil
in their vehicles and for commuters, this can mean you’ll only need an oil
change every 10,000 miles. Switching to
synthetic isn’t necessary for everyone, but vehicles that do heavy hauling or
are prone to oil build up (called sludge) can have benefits that outweigh the
costs of the synthetic oil.
Somewhere in the
Most drivers are somewhere in the middle between trips under
10 miles and long stretches at freeway-speeds.
For this reason, many manufacturers suggest an oil change every
3,000-5,000 miles. Newer vehicles may
have a sensor that looks for dirty oil, but checking the dipstick is still a
tried-and-true way to check the status of your oil and we’re happy to check
your oil free of charge. If you don’t
remember when your last oil change was, or if you think your driving patterns
have the need for more frequent oil changes, stop on by our auto repair shop in
Paso Robles and we’ll take a look for you.
If you’ve had your oil changed with us in the past, we can always look
up what your mileage was at your last change.
Time for an oil
change? We are now offering an oil
change punch card – buy 4 oil changes with us at the regular
price and the 5th one is free! Some exclusions apply, so
be sure to ask when it’s time for your next oil change and we’ll get you a