How Long Do I Have Before The Check Oil Light Becomes Urgent?

Your oil maintenance light may pop up when you least expect it, and sometimes, that's not a convenient time in your life. So it's always good to know whether you need to drop everything to run to the auto service shop or if you can safely ignore it for now. Hint: you likely have some time.

Oil Change Times Are a Suggestion

The mechanic will program your return to an auto repair shop based on the recommended range for your manufacturer. Check your user's manual; some cars need an oil change every 5,000 miles, while some people stretch their oil changes to intervals of 10,000. The urgency of your oil change depends on a couple of factors:

Age and Mileage of the Car: Older cars will guzzle oil quicker. Their weakened engines also require good oil more. So, with older cars, get them into the shop sooner rather than later.

How Hard You've Run the Car: If you've gone easy on the car in the past several thousand miles, your oil change might not be necessary or urgent; if you've taken a cross-country trip, get to the shop.

Overall Maintenance Condition: A vehicle in great shape will economize oil.

Quality of Oil: High quality oil will keep the engine cool better and spread out the necessity of an oil change.

Getting Inspections Done with Your Oil Change

One of the good things about waiting until you have enough time to do an oil change is that you can bundle much-needed inspection and repair services with your oil change. When you have an hour or two to wait, you can order a more comprehensive package that includes tire rotation, brake and engine inspection, or other services that need to be done on a yearly basis. Your car has to go on the rack to get an oil change, anyway; why not take some time to show it some love in other areas while you're at it?


In the end, you don't want to wait so long to get an oil change that you completely put it out of mind. But in the span of a few weeks of light, commuter use, you probably have some leeway to schedule your next oil change when it's most convenient for you. If you want to help guarantee that you won't have oil problems in between your oil changes, opt for a higher quality, synthetic oil if your car calls for it; this oil removes some of the impurities that build up in oil and make an oil change necessary in the first place.

If you want more information, visit GSBP Automotive.