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How often should oil and filter be changed?
Change oil and filter often enough to protect
the engine from premature wear and viscosity breakdown. For most cars
and light trucks, the standard recommendation is to change oil and filter
every six months or 3,000 miles, whichever comes first.
Most late model owner's manuals say that
except for "Severe Service" applications, oil change interval
can be safely stretched to once a year or every 7,500 miles, with filter
changes at every other oil change.
When auto makers make such recommendations,
one assumes they are based on extensive durability testing. After all,
auto makers themselves would have to bear the warranty costs should
their maintenance recommendations prove inadequate.
Except for Chrysler's 7/70 powertrain warranty,
and a few others that go up to 5/50 or 6/60, most new car powertrain
warranties don't go beyond 3/36. So where's the risk? There isn't any.
With proper maintenance, there is no reason
an engine shouldn't go 100,000 miles or more without developing a thirst
for oil. That is why most oil companies, as well as aftermarket service
professionals, recommend changing oil and filter every six months or
They also make such recommendations because
many motorists are not aware that they should follow the "Severe
Service" maintenance schedule in their owner's manual, calling
for oil and filter change intervals of three to six months or 3,000
miles. Severe service (as defined by auto makers themselves) includes:
frequent short trips (less than five miles)
frequent short trips (less than 10 miles) when temperatures are
in hot weather stop-and-go traffic
idling and/or low speed driving for long periods of time (taxi,
police, door-to-door delivery, etc.)
at sustained high speeds during hot weather
in areas with heavy dust (gravel roads, construction zones, etc.)
additives in a motor oil do not hold up as well under such driving conditions
for several reasons. If the engine is not running long enough to get
the oil hot, condensation and fuel vapors will not boil off. Contaminants
will accumulate in the crankcase, leading to formation of corrosive
acids and sludge.
idling and high operating temperatures from towing and high speed driving
during hot weather accelerate viscosity breakdown. Exposure to dust
can put dirt particles in the crankcase.
filter also needs to be changed every time for two reasons. Today's
pint-sized filters do not contain as much filter material as their quart-sized
counterparts. The filter contains dirty oil that can contaminate fresh
oil added during an oil change.
what four quarts of oil and a filter cost, versus the cost of replacing
an engine, it is better to change oil and filter a little more often
than might be absolutely necessary rather than risk not changing it