For maximum protection, most oil companies say to change the oil every 3,000 miles or three to six months regardless of what type of driving you do.
A new engine with little or no wear can probably get by on 7,500 mile oil changes. But as an engine accumulates miles, it dumps more unburned fuel into the crankcase which dilutes the oil. This causes the oil to break down. So if the oil isn’t changed often enough, you can end up with accelerated wear and all the engine problems that come with it (loss of performance and fuel economy, and increased emissions and oil consumption).
Regular oil changes as part of preventative maintenance are cheap insurance against engine wear, and will always save you money in the long run if you keep a car for more than three or four years. If you are planning on moving or going on a long trip you should have your car’s oil, tires and all fluid levels checked.
WHAT ABOUT THE OIL FILTER ?
To reduce the costs of vehicle ownership and maintenance, many car makers say the oil filter only needs to be replaced at every other oil change. Most mechanics will tell you this is false economy.
The oil filters on most engines today have been downsized to save weight, cost and space. The “standard” quart-sized filter that was once common on most engines, has been replaced by a pint-sized (or smaller) filter. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that a smaller filter has less total filtering capacity. Even so, the little filters should be adequate for a 3,000 mile oil change intervals but may run out of capacity long before a second oil change at 6,000 or 15,000 miles. Replacing the oil filter every time the oil is changed, therefore, is highly recommended.
A week or so before you leave, have regular maintenance done, like oil and filter change. Specifically, ask the shop to check the air filter and change it if necessary. Changing the air filter is an inexpensive way to enhance fuel economy and performance. Also have them check the tires again. If the pressure has gone down since the last check, you may have a leak that can be fixed on the spot.
HAVE YOUR REPAIR SHOP CHECK THE RIRE PRESSURE AND ADJUST IT.
If the pressure is too low, it can cause a blowout at high speed. Also have them check the tread on the tires for excessive wear. (You can also do this yourself by placing the head of a penny into the tread of the tire. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, you probably need new tires.) Be sure to have your repair shop check to see that the spare tire is inflated and the appropriate tools are available to install it if necessary.
HAVE THE AUTO REPAIR SHOP CHECK THE COOLANT
Are you going somewhere with a warmer or colder climate? Let your repair shop know so your mechanic can adjust the mixture of water and antifreeze to ensure the car is protected against temperature extremes.
BY A ROAD ATLAS OR GPS
If you don’t have a current road atlas, get one. Hours and hours of expressway can get boring. Getting off the beaten path can add an entirely new dimension to your trip.
CLEAN OUT YOUR CAR
The day before you leave, thoroughly wash and vacuum the car. It’s much nicer to have your trip in a clean car.
MAKE SURE YOUR PAPERWORK IS IN ORDER
Make sure your license, registration and insurance are all current and accessible.
FILL THE GAS TANK.
Might as well get it out of the way now. Besides, gas is often more expensive on the road.
LOOK AT WHAT YOU’VE PACKED
Open your suitcases and take one last look — do you really need all that stuff? Did you forget anything?
Enjoy your trip!