Beginners Guide to Cars: How Much Oil Does My Car Need?

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Owning your first car is a huge step forward in personal freedom, but it can also come with many confusing moments. After buying a car, you’re suddenly expected to know all kinds of “common sense” information on how to keep a vehicle running.


For example, everyone talks about the importance of changing a car’s oil. First-time car owners are often too embarrassed to ask beginner questions such as “What does changing the oil mean, exactly?” and “How much oil does my car need?” Here is your simple, judgment-free guide to changing the oil in your car.

Identify Your Car’s Engine Type.

Before planning any maintenance for your car, you need to know what type of engine you have. Here are a few of the most common engine types for modern vehicles:

  • Inline internal combustion engine.
  • V-style internal combustion engine.
  • Hybrid combustion and electric engine.
  • Electric engine.

Inline internal combustion engines are the most common and traditional engine type. V-style engines provide more power for larger vehicles such as trucks and SUVs. Electric engines work completely differently from combustion engines and do not require oil changes. They still require brake fluid, transmission fluid and coolant changes.

To find your car’s engine type, consult the owner’s manual. If you can’t find the owner’s manual, check the manufacturer’s website and search for your make and model. Manufacturers provide compies of all of their owner’s manuals online.

Determine the Oil Change Interval.

The owner’s manual should also tell you how often to get your oil changed and how much oil to use. Most cars require an oil change every 7,500 to 10,000 miles. Look into oil change specials near me to find seasonal discounts.

The number of months between required oil changes will vary greatly depending on how often and how far you drive. Check how many miles you’ve driven by consulting the odometer on your car’s dashboard.

Select the Correct Type of Motor Oil.

To protect your engine, it’s vital to choose the correct type of motor oil for your car. There are three main types of motor oil: conventional, synthetic and high-mileage.

Conventional motor oil is best for older cars and low performance demands. Synthetic oil contains additives that can help the engine withstand extreme temperatures or demanding tasks, such as towing weight or driving fast. High-mileage oil is specially designed to break down gunk that accumulates over time, keeping older engines running.

Choose Professional Oil Changes.

After learning about your engine, you may be tempted to do an oil change yourself. However, it is often wiser to have your oil changed professionally.

Oil changes are inexpensive, and professionals have specialized tools to make the process much faster and easier than it would be at home. You also reduce the risk of damaging your engine by performing an oil change incorrectly. After the oil change is done, AutoZone oil recycling programs dispose of used motor oil responsibly.

It’s ok to not know how to change your car’s. Consult the owner’s manual and choose the right oil to get started with this important part of vehicle maintenance.

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