When and Why Your Car Needs an Oil Change

By Justin Cupler | July 25th, 2018

Your dad told you. Your grandfather told your dad. His dad told him. And so on. You’ve got to keep your vehicle’s engine oil fresh, or it is bound to cause issues down the road. But when do you need to change your oil and what are the reasons for changing it?

We cover all that and more below.

The 3,000-Mile Myth

Oil-change facilities and some repair shop love to spread the myth that your vehicle needs an oil change every three months or 3,000 miles, whichever comes first. In today’s engines, this is far from the truth. In fact, there is no one set of correct numbers across the board. Instead, each vehicle varies because there are different tolerances among different makes and models of vehicle.

Instead of going by that outdated 3,000-mile myth, check out your vehicle’s owner’s manual. In there, you will find what really matters: the manufacturer’s recommendations. Many manufacturers recommend 5,000 miles and some are as high as 10,000 miles. So, instead of wasting your money changing your car’s oil too early, take a minute and see what the manufacturer has to say.

Why Do We Change Engine Oil?

Engine oil in an interesting fluid as it has many functions, including reducing friction, cooling, and even cleaning. Here are the technical reasons for changing engine oil.


Oil’s got a dirty job. As it flows through the engine and over moving parts, it picks up small metal particles and even unburned fuel and flushes it away to the oil pan. Over time, these contaminants reduce its ability to flow smoothly and lubricate. Changing the oil restores its ability to flow smoothly again.


Oil’s viscosity has a lot to do with how well it can lubricate. And as oil goes through the heating and cooling process time and time again, this viscosity can break down, causing the oil to become almost watery. At this point, the oil can no longer lubricate the moving parts effectively, nor can it remain stuck to the components when the engine is off to help with lubrication on startup.

Putting fresh oil in restores this viscosity.

Detergent Break Down

Yes, engine oil has detergents to help keep the inside of your engine clean. Over time, these detergents break down and lose their ability to keep things clean. Replacing the oil restores these cleaning components.

Is it time for your car’s oil change? Stop by our service department serving Bradenton, Florida today here at Nissan of Bradenton to check out our oil change specials. And no, you do not have to own a Nissan vehicle for us to provide you with our top-notch service.

Posted in Service