When, Why, and How to Change Your Car’s Oil

An essential part of engine maintenance, almost every driver knows they need to change their oil, but very few know when, why, and how. For that reason, allow us to answer several frequently asked questions, and touch on some do’s and don’ts, should you decide to change your oil yourself.

1.) When should I change my oil?

While the mile range varies, routine oil changes are crucial to keeping your engine healthy. In the old days, a general rule of thumb was to change your oil every three months, or every 3,000 to 5,000 miles to be safe. However, the newer models of today feature engine designs capable of driving upwards of 10,000 miles before needing an oil change. The point is that you should change your oil according to the make and model of your car and at intervals outlined in the manual.

It’s also important to note that almost every car on the road today features engine oil lights to remind drivers it’s time for a change or that there are other related issues like low oil pressure.

2.) What happens if I don’t change my oil?

If you fail to change your oil at the recommended interval range, you are jeopardizing the health and life of your engine. The longer you wait, the more at risk of failure your engine becomes as it doesn’t have the proper lubrication to run efficiently. As a result, various parts of your engine will begin to overheat and wear away.

As time goes on and the oil still hasn’t been changed, the possibility of complete engine failure increases as well. A costly fix, many drivers at this stage must decide between shelling out thousands of dollars for a new engine or scrapping the car altogether to buy a new one.

The moral of the story—change your oil when recommended and save yourself from a major headache and financial burden in the future.

3.) How do I change my oil? Do’s and Don’ts

While many drivers opt to have their oil changed by auto technicians, many prefer to do it themselves. Should you choose the DIY route, follow these steps and reference the following do’s and don’ts to ensure you get the job done right and that your engine gets exactly what it needs.

Oil Changing Do’s

  • Allow your engine enough time to cool down (30 minutes after driving) or heat up (run the car for 3 minutes) before changing the oil. This allows the oil to reach a temperature that improves its viscosity and won’t burn you.
  • More obvious than most, use a drain pan to catch the dirty oil and avoid free-flowing oil in your garage or driveway.
  • Use the recommended oil and correct weight for your car as specified in the manual. Different models have different oil requirements.

Oil Changing Don’ts

  • Don’t use oil additives as they may do your engine more harm than good. Your oil and routine engine maintenance should be enough to keep it healthy and running efficiently.
  • Don’t leave the filter seal dry. A loose-fitting filter can come undone and result in significant oil spillage. Make sure you spread a small amount of oil around the seal to prevent any loose fits or leaks.

For additional information on oil and engine-related products, contact or visit the knowledgeable technicians and employees at Sanel NAPA today, and keep your engine running long and healthy.

About Sanel NAPA

Since 1920, Sanel NAPA has been a leading auto parts, heavy-duty truck parts, and body shop supplies distributor with over 42 store locations throughout New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, and Massachusetts. We deliver quality car parts, heavy-duty truck parts, automotive paint and body supplies, and tools and equipment that are durable, dependable, and long-lasting in order to provide our clientele with the best products and services possible. For more information, call (603) 225-4000 or click to find a store near you.

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