To calculate how often you should have your oil changed, you can consult your driver’s manual or visit checkyournumber.org.
Manufacturers suggest you change oil more often for “severe” driving conditions.
But what constitutes “severe” conditions?
- Drive on short trips of less than 5 miles in normal temperatures or less than 10 miles in freezing temperatures.
- Drive in hot weather stop-and-go traffic.
- Drive at low speeds of less than 50 miles per hour for long distances.
- Drive on roads that are dusty, muddy or have salt, sand or gravel spread on the surface.
- Tow a trailer, carrying a camper (if a pickup truck) or transport items on a roof rack or in a car-top carrier.
These conditions attract moisture and dust into the engine. If the engine isn’t run long enough to burn off the accumulated moisture, the acid compounds build up and adhere to engine parts, hamper operations and accelerate wear. This sludge can cause permanent engine damage, and negate the oil filter’s job of sifting contaminants, which reduces fuel economy, increases emissions and can potentially lead to engine failure.
Therefore, more frequent changes and part replacements can be necessary.