What is oil for?
Engine oil is used to keep all the internal moving parts lubricated and help keep components from overheating. Changing oil is an extremely important part of keeping your engine in good condition and is often done as part of a ‘service’.
What is a service on a car?
Basically a service is a series of checks made on a car to ensure it is safe, roadworthy and working at optimum performance. Every car has its own servicing schedule – which you can usually find in your owner’s manual or service book – and this should be followed in order to ensure your car lasts as long as possible.
Often there are two types of service, interim and full. Basically included in a service is: an oil and filter change, air filter change, spark plug change, fuel filter change, any other fluid check/change, it can also include checking the brakes if required.
A service can vary due to the vehicle, age and what is needed.
How will I know when to change the oil?
Some cars have an internal counter to tell you when the next service is due. It is usually a light or short message on your dashboard, depending on the type of display and car you have (see pics).
Once a service is due, the light/message will usually pop up to notify you each time you start the engine.
If you are unsure of your lights and what they mean or don’t have an actual message come up, you can always check your car manual to see when you need to change the oil.
How often is recommended to change the oil?
Once upon a time, it was recommended that a service be done every 3,000 miles or every 6-12 months. The confusion nowadays is that many cars can go 5,000 – 10,000 miles between changes. This is due to differences in engine design and better quality oils.
According to some research, most carmakers now recommend oil changes between 7,500 and 10,000 miles, although some specify 5,000-mile intervals.
The type of engine oil, the age and make of your vehicle and driving habits dictate when to change engine oil.
According to Ford Motor Company, drivers with typical driving habits that own 2008 and newer models should change their engine oil every 7,500 miles or six months, or whichever comes first. Meanwhile, drivers should change the oil in vehicles 2007 and older every 5,000 miles or six months, or whichever comes first.
Drivers with less typical driving habits should change engine oil every 5,000 miles or six months for vehicles 2008 and newer, and every 3,000 miles or three months for cars 2007 and older. According to Ford, less typical driving habits include frequent off-road driving or driving in dusty conditions, towing or carrying heavy loads, excessive idling or driving at low speeds for long distances.
The advice above may sound a little complicated; as with a lot of things in life, there are so many differences of opinion and so many conflicting answers it can be totally confusing! So if in doubt, you could ask your mechanic, the manufacturer or simply check your service schedule.
You could always ask for some advice by sending us a message and someone will get back to you as soon as they can.