How Often Should I Check My Oil?
The Importance of Checking Your Oil
When it comes to car maintenance, one of the things often overlooked is checking the oil. Many people do not check it at all and this can lead to serious problems if the car is run with old oil for an extended period. Checking your oil is quick and easy. If you drive your car almost every day, make a habit of checking the oil every time you fill up with gas.
Checking this often might seem like overkill, but it can be a lifesaver because if there is a problem with the oil, you will know about it before it can do extensive damage that could easily cost thousands of dollars to repair. If you do not drive your car often, try to check once a month. Also, make sure that there are no puddles of oil under the car if it has been sitting for an extended period of time.
When you check the oil, remember to look for two things. First, make sure the oil level is correct. This is shown on the dipstick and is easily checked. Too low is obviously not going to be good for your engine and you should add oil right away and make sure you do not have any leaks. Having too much oil in the engine can also cause damage. If this is the case, drain the excess oil as soon as possible so it does not stress the seals of your engine. Second, verify that the oil is not dirty, too thin or too thick. If you notice any of these, change your oil right away.
How Often Should Oil be Changed?
Speaking of oil changes, most cars can go between 3,000 and 5,000 miles between oil changes without any problems. If you drive on the freeway and avoid stop and go traffic, you can likely stretch it out to around 7,500 miles between changes. The opposite is also true. If you drive in heavy traffic all the time, or take mostly short trips with your car, plan on changing the oil more often to ensure the best engine life.
Sometimes, problems can still happen even if you maintain your car. Any problem to do with the engine oil is critical and should be looked at as soon as possible. For example, if the oil pressure light comes on, do not drive the car into the repair shop as you may cause serious damage to the engine. Get it towed instead.
Now that you know when and how often to check your oil, make it a habit and stick with it. Your wallet will thank you.
If you think your car is due for an oil change, feel free to schedule an appointment.