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When Should You Change Motor Oil

Its Different For Every Vehicle

Frequent oil changes can be costly. You’ve probably heard that you should receive an oil change every 3,000 miles, but is that still a reliable rule of thumb? Learn how often you should change your oil and where you can go for a reliable oil changing service in Chicago, Illinois.

Basic Oil Change Intervals

For most vehicles and most drivers, the old 3,000-mile rule is outdated and unnecessary. Modern oil and engines can last longer than 3,000 miles and three months, so changing your oil this often is typically spending more money than necessary. However, some drivers may need to change their oil even more frequently than 3,000 miles. To determine how often to change your oil, find out which of these intervals matches your driving style:

  • Every 1,000 miles or six months
  • Every 3,000 miles or three months
  • Every 5,000 to 7,500 miles
  • Every 10,000 to 15,000 miles or six months

Factors That Affect Your Oil Changing Schedule

Drivers who make short trips should consider more frequent oil changes. While it may be convenient to live just around the block from your workplace in Chicago, consistent commutes of less than 10 miles can actually be harder on your oil than longer drives.

For maximum mileage, driving a new vehicle and synthetic oil can allow you to travel as much as

15,000 miles before you need an oil change. Check with your owner’s manual and synthetic oil before attempting to drive this long without an oil change, as not all vehicles are capable of achieving this impressive distance on a single change.

The two middle-of-the-road oil change frequencies are for most drivers. If you drive a mixture of long trips and short commutes on synthetic or a synthetic blend, you can probably safely drive 5,000 miles before changing your oil.

Enjoy a Hassle-Free Oil Change in Chicago

The next time you need an oil change in Chicago, stop by Midwest Performance Cars. Discover why we’ve been featured as one of the Best Auto Repair Shops in Chicago by Expertise and contact us today to schedule an appointment for your reliable oil change and other premium services by talented mechanics.

Oil Types: Explained

Read This Before Buying New Motor Oil

Does your high-performance car run on the right oil? If you’ve heard about full-synthetic and conventional oils, you know that some oils are engineered to help high-end luxury vehicles perform better. You understand that not all motor oils are the same! If you don’t already know about the different types of motor oils, Midwest Performance Cars has you covered. Here’s a quick summary of the different options available and an idea of which vehicles they are designed for!

Full-Synthetic

The top-shelf of motor oils, full-synthetic helps new vehicles achieve high-end performance, including superior gas mileage and power. It’s designed to provide a high level of lubrication to prevent overheating and damage in high-performance vehicles. All the benefits of this option come at an expensive cost, which you’ll surely notice at your next oil change.

Depending on what kind of vehicle you own, you may not have an alternative choice to the least-budget friendly motor oil. Most of today’s new vehicles have to run on full-synthetic to keep all systems running properly. If you own a luxury performance vehicle, you won’t want to skimp on oil changes as it could cause serious and costly damage to the engine.

Synthetic Blend

Those looking to get more from their vehicle have a more affordable option of motor oils — a synthetic blend. This offers some of the additional benefits that come with full-synthetic, like improved quality in low-temperatures and resistance to oxidation, but doesn’t leave such an impact on the wallet.

Drivers who use a blend also have the option to easily transition between full-synthetic and conventional oil over the course of their vehicle’s lifespan. If your driving purposes vary seasonally, this might be a good option for you!

Conventional

The average and most common motor oil found in cars on the road is conventional oil. A fresh oil change every few thousand miles with conventional oil is all it takes to keep the average vehicle performing its best. As long as you stick to your schedule, you can protect your car and wallet with this motor oil.

Drivers who want a budget-friendly option for frequent oil changes land on conventional oils.

High Mileage

Lastly, there’s an option for the senior vehicles on the road. If your car has over 75,000 miles, it’s not the end of the line. A high mileage motor oil will protect your experienced engine from damage, overconsumption, and excessive emissions.

Reaching 75,000 miles doesn’t mean it’s time for a new vehicle, it means it’s time to show your aging vehicle some extra care with the helpful additives found in high mileage motor oil.

Oil Change

It is a familiar refrain around here at Midwest Performance Cars; “DO NOT NEGLECT YOUR OIL CHANGES! It’s the cheapest form of protection against premature engine wear and potential failure.”

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words however, so here are a couple of pics which will hopefully illustrate the point. Imagine the 5, 7, or 10 quarts of engine oil being pumped throughout your car’s engine for 6 months or 7500 mile, with this cute little paper filter being the only thing working to trap contaminants, microscopic metal bits, and any other substances that can damage precision engine surfaces and cause major, EXPENSIVE problems. Is it really worth trying to get another few hundred or thousand miles out of this filter and the old, broken-down, dirty oil?

Automobile owners should also be aware that vehicle manufacturers are incentivized to keep pushing out longer and longer recommended service intervals, with oil change time and mileage being the most common one to be extended. You might be asking yourself, “Why would they do that, what do they care how often I change my oil? Wouldn’t they WANT me to change the oil more frequently?”

Not necessarily. Keep in mind that manufacturer recommended service intervals affect the “cost to own” numbers, and manufacturers do not want their cars to be known and rated as more expensive to own and maintain. Hence the advent, along with synthetic oil development, of the 10,000 mile oil change interval. You should see how filthy even the highest quality synthetic engine oil becomes after just 5000 miles! By the time you’ve hit 10,000, it looks like tar and smells like a toxic stew of petroleum compounds and burned & unburned fuel. That is why at Midwest Performance Cars, we recommend an oil change interval of 7500 miles for MOST vehicles.

It’s not an optical illusion, this is a very small oil filter!
We stood this used filter from a Mazda sedan, next to a new Mann oil filter for comparison. The new filter on the left is what typically goes into a Porsche Macan or Cayenne.

Many engine oil systems have built-in pressure relief devices, which function to keep oil flowing when things may be getting plugged up. As this little filter struggles to trap gunk after 5000 miles, without blowing apart, that pressure relief system will begin to let a certain amount of oil bypass the filter, so it does not even get a cursory cleaning. In Porsches, the oil relief mechanism is a small spring-loaded valve at the bottom of the filter cup, pictured below:

A pressure relief mechanism such as this is just one in a chain of devices designed to regulate and distribute oil throughout the engine. It is not uncommon for these relief valves to fail over time, and their failure results in large quantities of unfiltered oil circulating in oil passages, hydraulic actuators, down into the oil pan where heavier contaminants and metal bit collect, and back through the oil pump, around and around. Driving a few hundred or even thousand miles with a weakened or failed pressure relief valve will usually not harm your engine, but driving through a few improper oil change procedures where the valve does not get replaced, or driving well past your oil change interval CAN cause serious harm. This all can be avoided for the price of a proper oil service!

One component of performing a proper oil service is TIME. There is no getting around the fact that it takes time to get the maximum drainage of contaminated oil out of your engine. At MPC, our techs put the vehicle on the rack and begin draining the oil immediately, then use their remaining time to perform a complete digital, tablet-based inspection of the vehicle, complete with pictures, video, and descriptions. You might be surprised at how much oil continues to make its way down to the drain hole after the first 15 minutes. And having specialized knowledge of the particular model vehicle we are working on helps to set us apart from our competition. Did you know, for instance, that on a Porsche Cayenne hybrid, removing the oil filter without allowing it to pre-drain can result in excess oil splashing down into the hybrid-electric drive motor, which can render it totally inoperable? That hybrid unit costs more than $20,000 to replace and comprises a large portion of the value of a hybrid Cayenne. It is pretty crucial that your technician is aware of this ultra-sensitive component and how to protect it during an oil service!

Hopefully these pictures serve to illustrate why it is so important to keep up on your regular oil changes, and to have your vehicle serviced at a quality shop that knows the particulars of your vehicle, and appreciates that doing the job correctly takes a bit more time, not 5, 10, or 15 minutes. The life of your car’s engine depends on it, and these protection devices in the lubrication systems are not designed to last forever. So be smart with your automotive dollars, and give your vehicle the care it needs, so it can keep you rolling for many years to come!