Angie's List: Oil Changes, How Often? - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Angie's List: Oil Changes, How Often?


MADISON (WKOW/ANGIE'S LIST) -- Could your auto mechanic be upselling? In this week's Angie's List report, we talked with the experts about why you might not need an oil change as often as you think.

There was a time when oil changes were fairly standard, every 3,000 miles or three months, was sound advice.

"My new car is a fairly new car, so it has a computer that tells me that it's time for the oil to be changed, it's pretty simple," consumer Annie Adams said.

Adams is following the three month rule, but times have changed.

"With improvements made to engine oil, as well as cars you need to depend on your owner's manual for the best recommendation of how frequently your car may need an oil change," Angie Hicks, with Angie's List said. "It could be 3,000, 7,000 even 10,000 miles."

Be prepared, your mechanic might tell you one thing, your manufacturer another.

Vehicles that use conventional motor oil should have their oil change between 3,000 and 5,000 miles. Those with synthetic oil can go up to 7,000.

Where and how you drive can also play a role. If you're in extreme climates, or in stop and go traffic a lot you may want to increase your oil changes to help out the engine.

Regular oil changes are critical to ensure your car's engine runs properly and will have a long life.

"If you skip a lawn treatment you can always catch up and recover your lawn, but your engine will wear and you won't get that back," auto shop owner Jim Trump explained.

Checking under the hood and the vehicle itself during an oil change can also help your mechanic catch needed repairs or services, before the problem becomes a major job.

"Develop a good rapport with a regular mechanic who works on your car, because that trusting relationship will help you in caring for your car," Hicks said.

Angie's List says complaints of oil change upselling are common. Your best defense is reading your owner's manual. Consumer advocates say no one knows more about the routine maintenance a car needs, than the people who built it.

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