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Wondering when to get your next oil change?
You should get an oil change when your car is approaching the end of it's oil's (and oil filter's) useful life. Usually you will have an oil change reminder sticker, or in some cases your vehicle will let you know on the dashboard. If you don't have a sticker, and you can't remember your last oil change, change the oil as soon as possible and keep a maintenance log or routine moving forward.
There is a stigma associated with the "Quick Lube" industry, that they recommend replacing the oil much more frequently than needed for their own business gain. There may be some validity to this claim, but in large part the 3000 mile or 6000 km guideline for conventional oil change intervals exists because of various vehicle and part manufacturer guidelines stretching back to 1968. For instance Hyundai still recommends in the 2016 user manual to service a Hyundai vehicle every 6,000km, whereas Honda employs its "maintenance minder" technology and can recommend a driver change the oil after 8,000km.
If your last oil change was a synthetic oil change, your synthetic oil will have a useful life of at least 12,000km depending on the quality of the oil. If your last oil change was a conventional oil change, your conventional oil will have a useful life of at least 6,000km. The useful life of your oil can also be impacted by other factors like the environment. Generally we recommend changing your oil every 4-6 months regardless of the distance traveled because engine oil can be contaminated by moisture, gasoline, and other elements over time.
It's also important to note that oil changes serve a greater purpose than a simple oil drain and refill. For many modern vehicles, the oil change or service appointment is the only time a vehicle is inspected to ensure safe, reliable operation for years at a time. Loose lug nuts, nearly flat, cracked, or bald tires, damaged suspension components, burnt out indicator bulbs, worn u-joints, low fluids and many other maintenance items often unnoticed by the average driver can create potentially dangerous on-road circumstances, especially at high speeds.