How Often Should You Change Your Oil?

close-up pouring oil into vehicle

If you’re a first-time car buyer or someone who recently purchased another new or used vehicle, your car maintenance routine is something you should establish early on, and getting your oil changed is a must.

So, how often should you get an oil change?

The frequency of changing your car engine oil can depend on various factors such as your car’s year, make and model. For this reason, your safest bet would be to check your car owner’s manual, which should give you the full rundown on your car’s maintenance and operations information.

Many newer makes and models also come with service reminder monitors that alert drivers when to change their oil. If this is the case for your vehicle, you want to make sure you get an oil change as soon as you receive an alert. Checking your car’s oil levels is also an effective way to monitor and top off your oil in between changes.

How often should you check your oil level?

According to Consumer Reports, you should keep an eye on your car’s oil level at least once a month. If you have a leak, be sure to get repairs done as soon as you detect it. While older models may come with a traditional dipstick for manual inspection, some newer vehicles come with electronic oil monitors.

If you’re checking your oil manually, turn your engine off, open the car’s hood and pull out the dipstick from the engine. Once you wipe the oil away from its end, insert the dipstick back into its tube and push it all the way back in. Pull it back out and look at both sides of the dipstick to see where the oil is on the end.

Every dipstick has some way of indicating the proper oil level, whether it be two pinholes, the letters L and H (low and high), the words MIN and MAX, or an area of crosshatching (again, check your car owner’s manual). If the oil is below the minimum mark, you’ll need to add oil.

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