How Often Are Oil Changes Really Necessary?

High on the list of the most vital regular maintenance operations to keep your car in peak condition are oil changes. Oil changes are a cost effective service that will allow your vehicle to operate smoothly and efficiently. Frequent oil changes will also help prevent expensive repairs throughout the life of your vehicle.

As a rule of thumb, oil changes are typically recommended every 3,000 miles or every three months, whichever comes first. It is best to check your owner’s manual for the recommended maintenance schedule for your specific vehicle. With today’s engine designs and oil formulations, the required schedule for oil changes can really vary from vehicle to vehicle.

Why Oil Changes are Important

In much the same way that blood is essential to the functioning of the human body, oil is vital to your car’s operation. Motor oil serves a critical role as the lubricant for your car’s engine. Oil allows engine parts such as pistons, to move as needed, without compromising any other metal components. Metal friction creates a tremendous amount of heat, and without oil, eventually the surfaces of the metal components would weld together, causing the engine to seize.

Oil changes are necessary because the high operating temperatures of the engine cause the thermal breakdown of oil.  It becomes less effective as a lubricant because:

  • Dirt collects in the oil. Though the filter traps a lot of the dirt, the filter will eventually clog and the contaminated oil will bypass the filter through a relief valve. As oil becomes dirty and thick it also becomes abrasive and causes more wear.
  • Oil contains additives such as  detergents, dispersants, rust-fighters and friction reducers to improve its effectiveness. As these wear out,  the oil does not lubricate as well as it should.


The acid neutralizing additives in oil weaken over time, and oil eventually becomes saturated with dust, water and combustion residues that cause engine corrosion.  Oil changes will keep oil clean and improve vehicle performance so it runs safely and smoothly.

Are you keeping up on your recommended oil changes? Contact us today to schedule an appointment!