First of all, you need to make sure that you use the proper type of oil. There are different thicknesses of oil and newer cars use some pretty thin oil. That’s because the moving parts inside of many newer engines don’t have much clearance between them like older engines did.
Your engine oil has to flow between all of the moving engine parts in order to keep them lubricated. If you use the wrong type of oil, it won’t flow through the engine properly, especially when you first start the vehicle. That will wear your engine out in no time.
Engine oil wears out faster if you are doing a lot of short trips and driving in stop and go traffic. That’s because your engine is rarely warming up to a good operating temperature and you are starting and stopping the engine a lot, which is when a lot of the wear and tear happens.
On the other hand, if most of your miles are on the interstate and you drive for longer periods of time, your engine oil is going to last longer. That’s because your engine is warmed up when you are driving and you are not stopping and starting the engine over and over again.
Oil filters are another part of the oil change issue because they need to be replaced as well as the oil. Many new oil filters are a fraction of the size of older oil filters and that is very important. An oil filter is the only thing that is removing a lot of contaminants out of your engine oil and you can imagine that a much smaller oil filter is going to clog up faster than the larger, older style filter.
Because driving conditions can vary from vehicle to vehicle, there is no magic number to go by for changing your oil. But be careful because if your oil gets too dirty it turns into a gel and won’t flow through the engine. That will kill the engine in no time.
My recommendation is to always check your owner’s manual to find out the exact type of oil that you need and how often the manufacturer recommends that you replace it for your particular driving habits. Don’t try to push it too far between oil changes or you might end up pushing your vehicle right into the repair shop.
Many newer vehicles have oil life monitors that can tell drivers when it is time to change their oil. Most monitors work by tracking things such as miles driven, engine temperatures and day to day driving habits of that particular vehicle.