The oil inside of your car’s engine plays a vital role in keeping metal parts lubricated, which prevents them from rubbing against each other. However, over time, engine oil will break down and transform from a smooth liquid into a thick gooey mess. If you don’t change the oil on a regular basis, it can clog the engine and increase the risk of serious damage to your vehicle.
How Often Should Engine Oil Be Changed?
You may have heard that you’re supposed to change your engine’s oil every 3,000 miles. However, that is largely outdated advice that only serves to help your local service station make more money. Generally speaking, you can go at least 5,000 miles before you need an oil change. Your owner’s manual will likely mention how often the oil should be changed as part of an overall vehicle maintenance schedule.
If you use a synthetic oil in your car, you might be able to go 7,500 miles between oil changes without causing any damage to your vehicle. In fact, some products will allow you to go between 10,000 and 15,000 miles without an oil change.
It’s worth noting that you’ll still need to swap out the oil at least once a year even if you don’t hit these benchmarks. For most passenger vehicles, oil will start to break down after about 12 months of use even if you have driven less than 5,000 miles during that span.
Factors That Might Dictate Your Oil Change Schedule
There are a number of factors that will dictate how often you’ll need to take your car in for an oil change. For instance, if you drive on dirt roads, your engine will likely suck in a higher level of dust and debris compared to if you drive on paved roads. This means that your engine oil will become highly contaminated in a shorter period of time, which hinders its ability to protect the engine.
The type of oil that you use will also play a role in how often you’ll need to have this service done. Typically, conventional motor oils have a shorter useful life compared to synthetic blends or fully synthetic oil. Conventional oils may only last for 5,000 miles while synthetic products will typically get closer to 7,500 or 10,000 miles before breaking down.
It’s also worth noting that synthetic oils tend to be a better job in environments that experience extremely hot or cold temperatures. Therefore, you may be able to go a bit longer between oil changes without hurting the engine if you live in an area that experiences cold snaps in the winter or heat waves in the summer.
The Importance of Sticking to a Suggested Oil Change Schedule
As a vehicle owner, it is your responsibility to maintain your vehicle to ensure it operates safely on local roads and highways alike. Failing to maintain your vehicle could expose you to liability if you get into a car wreck in West Virginia or anywhere else.
Typically, damage caused to a vehicle as the result of owner negligence is not covered by your insurance policy. Therefore, if your engine stopped working because it was full of old oil, you will likely need to pay the full cost of having the engine repaired. You may also void any warranty that came with the car if you don’t change the engine oil as directed.
Even if the engine doesn’t give out, you could still suffer from poor gas mileage or excess noise when the car is being driven. Furthermore, engine components may wear faster than they should, which can lead to increased maintenance costs.
If Negligence Was Involved
If you were involved in a wreck caused by a negligent driver, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills or other damages. Your car accident lawyer may use vehicle maintenance records to prove that the defendant violated his or her duty of care toward you. Typically, failing to change the oil or engage in other routine maintenance is considered to be negligent as it makes a car less safe to operate.
To find out if you may have a potential claim, don’t hesitate to reach out to DiPiero Simmons McGinley & Bastress, PLLC today. We can answer any questions you may have about your accident and help you determine what your next step should be.