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How Long Can My Used Car Go Without an Oil Change

If you want your used car to last a long time, getting the car’s oil changed regularly is a must. You should abide by your auto manufacturer’s guidelines regarding intervals for an oil change, but intervals may change as your vehicle gets older.

The standard interval to change the oil of a vehicle used to be every 3,000 miles, but since better lubricants have been developed, recommended oil change intervals have stretched to every 5,000 to 7,500 miles. Car engines that require full-synthetic motor oil may go as far as 15,000 miles before they would require an oil change.

According to AAA, oil change intervals can change as a vehicle ages. Over time, older cars may need oil changes more often. As a car engine wears, so does its oil usage. A vehicle that needed an oil change every 5,000 miles or every six months, may now have to have its oil changed every 3,000 miles or every three months if they fall in the “severe service” category. This includes cars primarily driven for shorter trips of five miles or less, that tend to be located in extreme hot, cold, dusty conditions, and experience sustained stop and go driving or carry or tow heavy loads.

Oil becomes less effective as it ages and can lead to shorter engine life. If you don’t drive your car often and not for very many miles, the oil may not get warm enough to burn off the moisture and impurities.

It is important to note that running your vehicle beyond the set time will not be as risky as running it without oil. Check the oil in your car at least once a month. Some newer cars have electronic oil monitors on their dashboard, while others have a dipstick.

If your car has a dipstick, with the engine turned off and the car parked on level ground, lift the hood of the vehicle, find the dipstick, pull it out and wipe the oil off the dipstick. Insert the dipstick back into the tube, pull it back and look at where the oil level is according to the maximum and minimum indicators on the dipstick.

Also pay attention to the color and texture of the oil. Clean oil has an amber to dark brown color and is slightly translucent. If it appears dirty or is sludgy, that means it is time for an oil change.

Use the type of oil required by your car’s manufacturer. Synthetic oil is supposed to last longer and withstand higher temperatures. It also can help engines prone to building sludge, but it is more expensive and a waste of money if your car can run on standard motor oil. Only use synthetic oil if your auto manufacturer recommends it, or if your car falls under the “severe service” category.

When in the market for a used car, stop by Carousel Preowned. CarouselPreowned serving Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, Davenport, North Liberty, Marion, and Coralville, IA, is proud to be an automotive leader in our community. We do our best to ensure your complete satisfaction every time you step into our car dealership. This is why we offer the widest selection of used and pre-owned cars, trucks, and SUVs and provide true ease of purchase in Iowa.

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