Do you follow mileage or time for an oil change?

My driving distance varies from time to time, so sometimes I will need an oil change well before the date that is written on the sticker in the upper left-hand corner of my windshield. Most dealers place these stickers after an oil change. So my question is, which one should I follow, the mileage or the date recommended for my next oil change?

Johnny C., Irvine, Calif.

The common recommendation by automakers and service centers is to perform the oil change at whichever interval comes first, whether it’s the mileage or recommended date. Even if it’s only been two months, while the sticker say three months, if you’ve racked up enough miles to surpass the mileage recommendation, it’s time for an oil change. Oil change intervals aren’t an exact science, as many factors affect the oil’s lubrication life — engine condition, dirt, contamination, engine temperature and driving style — so always follow the manufacturer’s recommendation.

The average oil change recommendation we see on new cars is around five months or 5,000 miles — some more, some less; refer to your owner’s manual and try not to exceed the outlined date or mileage to keep your engine healthy.

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Answered by Joe Bruzek on November 15, 2007 in I'm Just Wondering , What Does This Mean? | Permalink

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