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The Truth About Changing Oil When It Changes Color

As a responsible car owner, you've likely heard that changing your oil when it changes color is crucial for maintaining your vehicle's health. But is this advice always accurate, or is it just a widespread misconception? 

Today's blog will explore the truth behind this common practice and offer valuable insights to help you make informed decisions about your car's maintenance.

Understanding the Oil Change Interval

First, let's clarify the standard oil change interval recommended by automotive experts. Modern engines and high-quality engine oils have evolved, enabling longer oil change intervals compared to older vehicles. For many vehicles, the standard oil change interval ranges from 5,000 to 7,500 miles or every six months, depending on driving habits and the type of oil used.

Why Does Oil Change Color?

Engine oil typically appears amber or light brown when new. As it goes through its cycle, the oil accumulates dirt, carbon, and other particles that result from normal engine operation. Over time, this accumulation causes the oil to darken, giving it a darker hue. The color change is an indication that the oil is doing its job - cleaning and protecting the engine from harmful contaminants.

The Impact of Changing Oil When It Changes Color

Changing your oil immediately after it changes color may not be necessary and could lead to unnecessary expenses. Here's why:

1. Premature Oil Changes Waste Money:

Oil change services incur costs, including the price of oil and labor. If you change your oil solely based on its color change, you might end up performing oil changes more frequently than needed. This wastes both time and money.

2. Modern Engine Oils Are Designed for Extended Use:

Engine oil technology has significantly improved, allowing modern oils to maintain their effectiveness even as they darken. Following the manufacturer's recommended oil change interval ensures that the oil is replaced at the appropriate time for optimal engine performance and protection.

3. An Oil Analysis Can Provide Clarity:

If you're uncertain about the condition of your oil, consider conducting an oil analysis. This process examines the oil's properties, identifying its remaining useful life and determining if an early oil change is necessary.

When Should You Change Your Oil?

When it comes to determining the best time for an oil change, there are some essential guidelines to follow. First and foremost, it's important to refer to the manufacturer's recommendations. Your vehicle's owner's manual or an authorized service center can provide you with the most reliable source of information for oil change intervals. 

Additionally, you should consider your driving habits. If you frequently drive under severe conditions, such as extreme temperatures, stop-and-go traffic, or towing heavy loads, you may need more frequent oil changes. In such cases, it's best to follow the manufacturer's severe driving schedule. 

Performing regular maintenance checks is crucial. Pay attention to the "Check Engine Oil" or "Maintenance Required" light. If it illuminates between scheduled oil changes, consult a professional mechanic to inspect the oil and the vehicle's overall condition. By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your car's engine stays healthy and runs smoothly.

Changing vehicle oil is an everyday task here at X-tra Mile Auto Care; we have done it countless times with excellent results, so you know your car will be safe in our hands. Just book an appointment either by calling us or through our website today!