The length of time you should go between oil changes is debatable, and depends a lot on how you drive your car. If you tend to accelerate quickly, drive fast, live in an extremely hot or cold climate, drive your car often on dirt or dusty roads, or frequently haul heavy loads on or behind your car, you will probably have to get it changed more often. Oil needs to be changed in a car because of the high temperature it reaches when it is running through the car. It undergoes the process of thermal breakdown and doesn’t work as well as a lubricant over time. If the oil is allowed to degrade long enough without being changed, you can damage your engine because the lack of lubricant makes the parts of the engine rub together. In addition, the ingredients of car oil include additives that help neutralize acids. The additives are used over time and eventually become ineffective. Lastly, oil can get just plain dirty as it absorbs water, dust and dirt, and other materials from within the engine. All of these extra materials reduce the effectiveness of oil as a lubricant, so it’s a good idea to change it out. Again, the recommended distance traveled between oil changes can vary, but most recommendations fall between 3,000 and 5,000 miles, as that is about the length of time it takes for all the factors mentioned above to start becoming real problems.
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