Angie's List: Tips for a healthy engine

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - In this week's Angie's List report, a lot of factors go into determining how often you should change your oil. It may not always be after just 3,000 miles.

"Years ago, the time to change your oil was really simple," says Angie Hicks. "With the improvements made to engine oil as well as cars, you need to depend on your owner's manual for the best recommendation of how frequently your car may need an oil change. It could be 3,000, 7,000, even 10,000 miles."

Vehicles that use conventional motor oil should have their oil changed between 3,000 and 5,000 miles. Those who use synthetic motor oil can go up to 7,000 miles. If you're not sure, check your owner's manual.

Where and how you drive your vehicle can also play a role. If you're in extreme climates or in stop and go traffic frequently, you may want to increase your oil changes to help out the engine.

Regular oil changes are critical in ensuring your car's engine runs properly and will have a long life. If you ignore this maintenance item, damage can occur.

Auto Shop Owner Jim Trump compares it to lawn maintenance.

"If you skip a lawn treatment you can always catch up and recover your lawn, but your engine will wear and you won't get that back."

Checking under the hood and vehicle during an oil change can also help your mechanic spot needed repairs or services before major work is needed.

Angie's List says a common complaint they hear regarding oil changes is up-selling. Your best defense against being up-sold is to find a mechanic you trust and learn what the manufacturer recommends at specific intervals for your car.

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