How Often Do I Really Need an Oil Change?

auto mechanic pouring oil into a car engine

Let’s Unpack the Oil Change Service 

Nearly every person who drives a vehicle with an internal combustion engine understands that it will need lube, oil, and filter changes throughout its lifetime. However, what’s not always clear is when your vehicle needs an oil change and what type of oil it uses. Some old-school mechanics recommend getting an oil change every 3,000 miles. However, others argue that you should get an oil change every 5,000 miles, and some vehicle service manuals recommend an oil change every 10,000 miles. So what's the correct answer?

At T.O. Haas Tire & Auto, we feature a team of expert mechanics who provide exceptional Omaha oil change services. We perform maintenance and auto repair services on all make and model vehicles, and we consider ourselves true experts in the care and repair of your car. Let's unpack the oil change service and break down how often you truly need one. When it's time for your vehicle to receive its recommended maintenance services, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with our facility today and enjoy an oil change in Omaha that you can trust.

The Importance of an Oil Change

Because motor oil is the lifeblood of your engine, it's vital that your oil is always clean and fresh. Your oil is responsible for lubricating the many moving parts inside your engine to minimize friction and cleaning carbon deposits that can get trapped and cause trouble for your motor. As it cleans and lubricates, it also cools excess heat that could cause damage to your engine.

If you press your hands together and begin to rub them vigorously, you will notice that the palms of your hands warm very quickly. This is because friction causes the surface temperature of your hands to rise. This same effect happens inside your engine; however, were it not for oil, the temperature would be so high that your vehicle's internal parts would overheat and self-destruct. This is why oil is so important. However, oil's ability to cool and lubricate your engine does not last forever, so it must be changed regularly. 

How Often Do You Need an Oil Change? Well, That Depends on Your Oil Type

Now that we've established why your car’s oil needs to be changed, let's discuss the all-important question — how often?

The frequency of your vehicle's oil change will largely depend on the type of oil that your vehicle uses.

Conventional Oil — 3,000–5,000 Miles 

Conventional oil changes are often the lowest in cost, but they also offer the lowest degree of protection for your engine. Derived from crude oil and refined enough to protect your engine, this oil is suitable for many economical and non-turbocharged engines. However, conventional oil is not compatible with every engine type because of its limited protection. This type of oil oxidizes at temperatures around 275°F. When oil oxidizes, it can no longer cool and lubricate your engine because its molecular structure has been destroyed due to high temperatures. 

Since many high-performance engines reach internal temperatures much higher than 275º, conventional oil cannot be used in these engines. Additionally, this type of oil tends to leave a residue if it is not changed regularly, which is why it is recommended that it be changed most frequently.

Synthetic Blend — 5,000-7,500 Miles

Synthetic blend oil uses a conventional oil base and manufactured additives to offer additional protection. Often used for high-mileage engines that may not tolerate the thin viscosity of full synthetic oil, synthetic blend features specialized detergents to help break down carbon deposits commonly found in high-mileage engines and specialized sealants to address gasket leaks. Due to the additives’ better protection, a synthetic oil blend provides enhanced protection over conventional.

Full Synthetic — 7,500-10,000 Miles

Synthetic oil is also made from crude oil; however, it has been distilled and chemically modified to offer superior protection against oxidation, friction, and carbon buildup. Full synthetic oil can withstand temperatures of more than 450°F, making it ideal for many high-performance and turbocharged engines. Because oil exiting a turbo can reach temperatures of 400° and beyond, it's important that synthetic oil is used in these vehicles. In addition, synthetic oil burns cleaner than conventional oil and offers lasting protection that resists oxidation. Because of these engineered properties, full synthetic oil needs to be changed least frequently. However, it is commonly the most expensive oil of the three. 

Other Factors To Consider

Although we've discussed in detail how often you should change your vehicle's oil, your individual driving habits may require your vehicle to be serviced more frequently. We recommend shortening service intervals if you do any of the following activities:

  • Towing 
  • Racing
  • Fleet services
  • Drive offroad
  • Drive in a dusty/sandy environment 

Schedule an Oil Change Service at T.O. Haas Tire & Auto in Omaha Today

At T.O. Haas Tire & Auto, we go the extra mile to provide quality oil change services in Omaha, NE. We employ ASE-certified mechanics who use quality replacement parts and fluids to ensure that your vehicle enjoys lasting protection. To guarantee that you enjoy a quality oil change in Omaha without breaking the bank, we also feature money-saving service coupons that help you enjoy added savings.

Whether you drive a sedan, a pickup truck, or a van, schedule service at T.O. Haas Tire & Auto and enjoy a trustworthy Omaha oil change

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