Every 3,000 - 5,000 or so miles, you should perform an oil change on your car. Maintaining the correct level and type of clean oil is not only vital in preventing breakdowns, it can improve the performance and fuel economy of your car. Engine oil can be purchased in different types, weights and viscosities (thickness), which can make changing your oil tricky.
The first choice you'll have to make when performing an oil change is whether to go synthetic, conventional or a blend of both. Synthetic is the most expensive and is a good choice for high-performance vehicles. Conventional oil is the go-to for standard cars. A synthetic blend is a good choice if you're looking for something in between that won't break the bank. If you can justify the cost, full-synthetic oil will give you the best performance and require less frequent changes. For older cars, there are high mileage oils designed to help seal leaks and improve performance.
Once you've chosen a type of oil, the next decision is the oil weight and viscosity. Generally, the higher the temperature, the lower you need your oil's viscosity to be. This is because high heat does a natural job of thinning out oil. While many people use the oil recommended by their owner's manual, you may find it beneficial to let the weather and other environmental circumstances dictate which oil you use.
You should also change your oil filter when you perform an oil change. Oil filters are responsible for removing contaminants from your oil. Once you've found which oil filters are compatible with your vehicle, you can either get a cheaper standard oil filter or opt for a more expensive filter that's designed to remove more contaminants.
Whether you just bought a new car or have a vehicle with high mileage, it's important to make sure you're changing your oil often and putting the right type of oil in your vehicle.