Tuesday, November 11, 2008

How Often Should I Change my Oil??

(Questions taken from msnbc.com)
I own a 1997 Camry with 54,000 miles on it. I have been changing the oil every 3 months or 3,000 miles. Now I drive less, about 3,000 miles in 5 or 6 months. Should I still change the oil at three months or wait till I reach 3,000 miles? Also, since I bought the car I have been using Valvoline oil. Is it OK to change to another brand?

I remember getting my first car (a hand-me-down) and how my father kept telling me how important it was to change the oil every 3,000 miles. A lot has changed since then. Today’s oil is much better and it can last a lot longer.

Here’s what to do: Check your owner’s manual and follow the manufacturer’s recommendation. If it says change the oil every three months or 3,000 miles and you haven’t traveled 3,000 miles in that time, change it anyway. But, I think you’ll find that the recommendations are much longer than that. For instance, Acura suggests that I change the oil in my car every 7,500 miles or one year.

Tom and Ray, the hosts of Car Talk on National Public Radio, recommend an oil change every 5,000 miles, although they admit knowing when to change the oil is not an exact science. “It may be too soon for many people and too late for a few,” they say, “but for the vast majority, 5,000-mile oil changes will help your engine last to a ripe, old age.”

Here are a few reminders:
You should always change the filter when you change the oil. You don’t want to contaminate the new oil with the gunk that’s in the old filter.

Check the oil level every few hundred miles. “If you add oil, don’t overfill,” cautions Phil Reed, Consumer Advice Editor for Edmunds, “because that can cause serious engine problems.”
And it’s not a problem If you want to switch from one brand of oil to another, says John Ibbotson, an automotive expert at Consumer Reports. “Just make sure to stick with the manufacturer’s recommendations for engine oil weight,” Ibbotson says. You should also use a product with the API Certification Seal for gasoline engines, which means the oil meets the American Petroleum Institute’s latest requirements and that it is energy conserving.

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