How often should I change the oil for my car?

By Julia Freeman

The short answer to this question is to check the owner's manual. Car manufacturers recommend the time period or mileage between oil changes for each particular model. Some modern cars have a dashboard reminder light to tell you when your change is due.

Oil Change

In reality, the ideal frequency changes according to how you use the vehicle and how old it is. A variety of factors can make changing it more often advisable, including extreme weather and traffic congestion.

What if I don’t change my oil?

The oil removes engine heat and lubricates components to minimise wear. However, time and heat eventually degrade it and it stops doing its job properly. As a result, the engine gets hotter, internal wear accelerates, and metal particles may even begin circulating in the oil. Water vapour combines with it to produce sludge that makes circulation even harder. Eventually, the engine is irreversibly damaged.
The number of vehicles still written off because drivers forget to change their oil is surprisingly high.
Every driver should check their oil monthly – but remember, topping up oil is not an oil change. An oil change means draining and completely replacing the oil. In fact, you should hardly ever have to top up motor oil unless there is something already wrong with the engine or the oil supply.

How to change your oil

Changing oil is a dirty job so we recommend letting our qualified fitters do it for you as part of your annual car servicing. Most manufacturers advise two oil changes a year, so call in for a light intermediate car servicing between your annual service dates. Protyre offers a range of inexpensive vehicle checks and tune-ups.

Some older cars require more frequent oil checks and changes, perhaps as often as every 3000 miles.
Doing it yourself entails releasing a drainage nut in the sump underneath your vehicle and catching the used oil in a bowl. You are legally responsible for disposing of this oil in a responsible way: never simply pour it down a drain. Take great care to replace the nut securely before refilling the oil repository with new oil and be careful to refill to the correct level. You will also need to replace the oil filter.

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Regular inspections

Engine oil should be checked when the engine is cold. If you’re not sure how to read the dipstick, consult the manual. Healthy oil is a clear golden colour. It gets darker as it ages but should never be cloudy or contain particles.
If you aren’t confident about checking your own oil levels and oil condition, why not use our online contact form to book in with your local Protyre garage. Our qualified fitters are happy to do this for you and can check your tyre pressures and tyre condition at the same time. These checks are usually free at Protyre garages and you only pay for new oil or new tyres when you need them.
All Protyre garages have a great stock of quality oils, and a full range of premium tyre brands from Bridgestone, Pirelli, Michelin, Avon, Continental, Sumitomo and more.

Different types of oil

Sometimes the correct “weight” of oil for your car is printed on the oil cap, otherwise, check your manual. In our experience, there is little to be gained from more expensive oils provided that you maintain regular oil checks and oil changes.
Traditional oils are derived from crude oil, but there are new synthetic ones on the market. They are longer lasting and delay the need for fresh oil but are typically more expensive and can lull drivers into a false sense of security. You should still check and change oil regularly according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Book with Protyre

To find out more information about the safety checks we offer contact your local Protyre today. Alternatively, we offer a great range of service and MOT packages designed to suit any budget.

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About the author

Article Author Photo
By Julia Freeman
Julia is Head of Brand Marketing for Micheldever Group and loves engaging with customers and the business as a whole to deliver their automotive needs.
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