Best Time for a New Car’s First Oil Change

Best Time for a New Car’s First Oil Change

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You drove away in your new vehicle after spending hours, days, or more researching options. Not only did you compare different makes and models but also available colors, drivetrains, and trim levels.

Now that you have the car of your choice comes the task of taking care of it. To ensure it stays in optimum running condition, it's as simple as following the manufacturer's recommended service intervals for an oil change, filter changes, and spark plug replacements, among others. 

Regular oil changes are critical for proper lubrication, so your engine starts quickly, runs smoothly, and burns fuel efficiently. 

But when you have a new car, when should you change your oil for the first time? 

Some suggest changing the factory oil in a new vehicle before the manufacturer's recommended mileage interval, while others believe that's unnecessary. 

When you buy a new vehicle, when should you change your oil? How often should you change your oil?

Let's look at the subject of the first oil change on a new car.

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When to change the oil on a new vehicle

Today's vehicles feature more precise build quality and tighter parts tolerances than their predecessors.

Automotive manufacturing facilities now have stringent cleanliness rules, so the factory environment keeps components free of debris, ensuring the highest quality. 

Additionally, factories clean engine parts before assembly, so the motor runs like a precision timepiece. 

Not only are modern cars built to exact specifications, but the engine oil's come a long way too. With today's higher quality base stocks and the availability of synthetics, today's oils offer performance and protection far beyond earlier formulas.

So it’s not necessary to change the factory fill on a new car before the manufacturer's suggested service interval — typically 5,000, 7,500, or 10,000 miles. 

On the other hand, some believe in changing the oil on a new vehicle before an automaker's recommended mileage interval.

That's because, even with today's precision manufacturing methods, there's still the possibility of errant particles from new engine break-in. Changing the oil ensures their removal. 

And when you change the oil on a new car, you can fill it up with the oil of your choice. Knowing the brand and grade of oil in your engine can give you peace of mind — you can be sure of its quality and performance.

All about motor oil

Motor oil comes in two categories: conventional and synthetic. 

Every vehicle requires a specific weight and viscosity of oil as recommended by the manufacturer. You can typically find this information on the oil cap or in your owner's manual. 

Companies manufacture conventional motor oil using petroleum and, when first changed, it provides good lubrication and wear protection. But conventional oil degrades with time and lags behind synthetic oil when it comes to high engine loads and elevated temperatures. 

Synthetic oils come from artificial compounds designed for superb engine protection during heavy driving and hot conditions. 

For regular day-to-day driving, conventional oil works just fine. But full synthetic oil holds up longer and provides superior lubrication. 

Many passenger vehicles require conventional oil in a specific grade, like 5W40. Conventional oil provides adequate lubrication and protection for running errands and taking road trips. But on high-performance cars with turbos or high horsepower, synthetic oil keeps crucial parts lubricated during intense driving or high temperatures. 

Synthetic oils use base oils of a higher quality than those found in conventional oils. That makes synthetic oils less likely to acidify or oxidize due to their chemical stability, holding on to their lubrication and protection for the long haul. Because of that, some synthetic oils only require a change every 7,500, 10,000, or 15,000 miles. 

After deciding on conventional versus synthetic, you'll need to find the correct weight and viscosity recommended for your make and model, like 5W40 or 10W30. 

In a 5W40 motor oil, the 5W stands for its thickness during cold winter conditions. The 30 signifies its viscosity once the engine reaches its running temperature. 

Ensure proper lubrication and the longevity of your engine by only using the weight and viscosity required by the manufacturer. 

Understanding these details is crucial to prolonging your vehicle's lifespan. But when the inevitable time to look for a new car comes, remember, buying a used vehicle rather than a brand new car can easily save you thousands of dollars.

But locating an adequately maintained pre-owned car can be a hassle. Even though an advertisement may look nice, how can you know a pre-owned vehicle isn't hiding mechanical issues? But Shift takes the worry out of buying a used vehicle. Shift's website has a large selection of fully inspected cars, pickup trucks, and SUVs located across the country that are ready to go.

You can drive home confidently with a warranty offered in our Shift Vehicle Protection plan. Not only are essential components covered, but you also receive free roadside assistance if you run into trouble on the road. We’re ready to help you find and insure your car with a user-friendly website, and you'll be able to find various makes and models to suit your needs and budget. Whether you need a Honda, Toyota, or Subaru, Shift has what you need.

How often should you change your oil?

Like buying replacement parts, fuel, or tires, following original equipment manufacturer (OEM) recommendations for oil changes is essential. 

You can find that information in your owner's manual, where the maintenance schedule indicates the recommended mileage between oil changes. Typical oil change intervals for modern engines are 6-12 months or at 7,500 or 10,000 miles. 

Some vehicles have oil life monitors that notify you when it is time for an oil change. These systems check engine loads and miles driven to tell you when it's a good time for new oil. If you hear an alert from an oil monitor, it's prudent to have your car's engine oil changed soon. 

If your make and model of vehicle recommends an extended oil change interval, there's no benefit to doing so earlier, like at 3,000 miles. And with less frequent oil changes, you'll be saving money, too. 

That said, even if you don't drive often, you should still change the oil regularly. Short trips where the engine doesn't warm up can form condensation, reducing engine longevity. 

Aside from regular maintenance like oil changes, owning a vehicle brings other expenses like fuel and insurance. Finding ways to save money on auto-related costs helps keep extra cash in your bank account, so you have funds for additional obligations.

One way of doing that is by securing a good auto loan. Shift works with a network of trusted lenders who compete for your business, so you get the best deal on financing. Applying for financing with Shift is quick and easy, with no cost or obligation. Many applicants receive an offer within minutes instead of days.

Financing with Shift is so convenient that nine out of 10 customers choose us when they need a loan. If you have low credit, don't worry because we welcome cosigners.

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Author
Shift Editorial Team