Service, Repairs and When to Change the Oil on your VW, Honda, Toyota, BMW, Audi or any other import for that Matter . . .

How Often Should You Really Change Your Oil?


Service, Repairs and When to Change the Oil on your VW, Honda, Toyota, BMW, Audi or any other import for that Matter in Louisville Kentucky, KY and surrounding areas.

Checking oil

Oil change protocol might be among the most contentious topics for gear-heads, and now even America’s lowest rated auto service shops join the fray to throw their two cents in. While there certainly are a plethora of options to choose from and a slew of advertised advantages associated with each brand, there’s a lot that can be said for following a few old-school rules.

Take oil change frequencies for example: For over half a century, people have had this notion in their heads that a car needs an oil change every 3,000 miles. It was pretty sound advice for the time, since engine oil serves as both the lubricant and lifeblood of a motor, and erring on the side of caution is far cheaper than replacing a blown block.

But as time has advanced, so too have the additives we put in our cars, the filters we attach to them, and the engines that rely on both. Today’s combustion engines work more efficiently than ever before, and when paired with the manufacturer recommended lubricants, can run smoother and longer on a single oil change than you would expect.

Long gone are the carbureted engines of yesteryear, where inaccurate torque tolerances resulted in small shards of metal gumming things up if an oil change wasn’t conducted every 3,000 miles. Modern car owners don’t have to worry about that sort of thing because if you pop open that little owner’s manual in the glovebox, chances are the automaker will suggest an oil change every 5,000 miles or more, along with a recommended oil brand and weight.

Following the suggested weight is pretty crucial, as is making sure the vehicle gets the recommended amount of liquid, but as for going with one brand over another, that’s really up to you. I feel that oil brand affinities are a lot like craft beer preferences, and while some people may jump around to whatever is new or on sale, certain guys will always be dedicated IPA drinkers.

Another key bit of advice when it comes to oil changes is not listening to the dealer. If they tell you to bring your car in more often than what the owner’s manual suggests, they are after your hard earned cash and not the longevity of the car. With recent advancements in synthetic oils, developments in detergent benefits, and new filtration engineering, there’s no need to change your oil that often anymore, so point them to the manual and tell them you’ll let them know when it’s time.

Something to keep in mind too, is that an oil change is only as effective as the filter that goes on the vehicle, and that there are quite a few options available to the average car owner. While the cheapest thing off the shelf will undoubtedly work, having a poorly constructed filter poses just as much harm to your engine as not changing the oil at all.

Don’t run the risk of having a filter fall apart on you; buy a top-tier filter every time and enjoy the piece of mind and added filtration levels that come with it. The more gunk a filter can hold, the better your car is going to run as it tiptoes toward the 5,000- to 10,000-mile oil change mark.

There are a few exceptions to the rules regarding what specialty oils to use because for as new as that car may be right now, it’s going to age. So if you find that your engine is starting to reach a “mid-life crisis,” don’t just go out and buy high mileage oil and expect a miracle. Are you going to opt for a different weight in order to reflect the seasons, or play it safe and go with what the owner’s manual suggests? Some people have had great success with high mileage motor oil, especially when engine seals begin to leak. Others recommend changing your oil more frequently when a car gets a bit older, and while it couldn’t hurt, it does do a number on your pocketbook over time.

Again, when in doubt, consult the owners manual. If that doesn’t turn anything up, type in your year, make, and model and see what the World Wide Web has to offer in regard to the matter of high mileage and alternative options. Chances are you’ll at least find a page from the automaker that explains what to do.

So if you have an older car that has a crap-ton of miles on it, go ahead and change that oil every 3,000 miles or so, but if you go over by a 1,000 miles or so, don’t sweat it either. The only thing that might happen (if your engine isn’t on its last leg), is that you’ll get slightly worse gas mileage.

As for newer vehicles, going with the recommended oil viscosity and drain intervals that are recommended from the manufacturer (not the dealer) is always your best bet. If you want to save some dough and have the tools to change your own oil, go ahead and give it a whirl — this will give you the chance to try out different synthetics from different manufacturers, various high-grade filters, and an assortment of drain plugs.

Oh, and speaking of drain bolts, when you notice the bolt-head on your plug is beginning to round off, order a fresh one that fits your car from a local auto parts store or online, and make sure that it’s magnetic. This way you’ll have a fresh drain bolt that won’t get stripped, and being magnetic it will capture any little shards of metal that might be floating around in your engine. Just make sure that the head on it is not aluminum because that’s too soft of a metal and will strip easily. For more money-saving maintenance tips and oil change info, be sure to check out our feature on choosing the right motor oil, and how to use automotive promos and rebates to save a fortune.

At ImportDoktor, formerly known as the VolksDoktor in Louisville Kentucky, KY, a specialist for repairs and service of most any and all imports including: Volkswagen, VW Passat / Touareg, Honda, Toyota, Audi, BMW, and other foreign cars.

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