When should I change my oil?

This seemingly simple question has become a very complicated, contentious topic as there are so many different opinions as to when you should you get an oil change in your car. Yet is also perhaps the most important topic because lack of maintenance is the leading cause for the need of auto repair service due to mechanical failure in Bedford PA. For years the automotive service community has agreed that changing your oil every three months or 3,000 miles was common practice however auto manufacturers and oil producers have insisted that the interval for changing your oil is much greater.

In order to properly answer this question we need to look at some of the reasons why these service intervals have been established and the advantages for each.

A new way of thinking

In 2003 auto manufacturers began to release documentation showing that their vehicles could extend the oil change  service interval beyond 3,000 miles between oil changes. They attributed this increase to better engineering and use of newer materials that decreased friction within their engines. While this sounded good on paper, very few actual tests performed by independent agencies could actually duplicate their claims. While it is true that modern engines use lighter weight materials and employee high-end lubricants such as synthetics; many independent studies still found that the engine operating temperature as well as friction ratios still remain constant in spite of their claims of improvement.

A perspective reason

Auto manufacturers constantly compete with one another in a variety of areas from performance, comfort, styling, features and cost of ownership. Cost of ownership has become a hot button topic for many auto manufacturers as they attempt to show consumers that their vehicle is cheaper to maintain than their competitors. For example: a BMW’s cost of ownership would be higher than a Toyota, at a dealership level, because the parts and labor traditionally are higher for high-end vehicles. However, the purchase price of a Lexus and BMW are very similar, so in order to attract customers to purchase their vehicle Lexus, for example, would show the cost of ownership over a five-year period of time as being less expensive than owning a BMW. By increasing the oil change intervals from 3,000 miles to 5,000 miles that allows Lexus to show the cost of ownership to be less, at least on paper. BMW quickly followed suit by raising their intervals to 7,500 miles between oil changes. Manufacturers today commonly set their oil change intervals at 15,000 miles; yet cannot show any dramatic engineering changes in the oil delivery system or reduction of friction to compensate for the additional mileage.

How long do you expect to keep your car?

One area that contributes to maintenance costs is lease vs. ownership. If you’re leasing a car and the manufacturer says the change the oil every 15,000 miles; who cares right? You’re going to turn the car in at 25,000 miles anyway so it doesn’t matter to you whether the engine is damaged because of lack of lubrication. Ownership however means that you will more than likely keep that car, in some cases, until the wheels fall off. In that case the wise choice would be to maintain the vehicle in such a way that would extend the life of the engine and lubricated components reducing the auto repairs in Bedford PA needed from engine wear and fatigue. It is for this reason that Town Hill Auto Repair Service in Bedford PA recommends to maintain a 3,000 to 5,000 mile oil change interval depending on the filter and oil used.

Valvoline Oil and Napa Filters – The perfect match

Friction and heat are the leading causes of engine wear and break down for cars causing premature auto repair needs; regardless of the engine, year or model. One area where the aftermarket industry has excelled is the creation of synthetic lubricants that significantly reduce friction within the motor. Valvoline is leading the industry with lubricants designed to work with traditional, conventional and modern engines to not only reduce wear but increase the useful life of an engine. Napa’s oil filters utilizing premium filter components significantly remove more contaminants from the engine than traditional oil filters and in many cases original manufacture oil filters. This combination of better oil and better filters can certainly help protect your engine and increase the time needed between oil changes; However; despite the advantages of synthetic fluid and premium oil filters; a conventional engine still produces, by design, operating temperatures that continue to contribute to wear and metallic component break down. This must be considered especially on older, higher mileage engines.

At the end of the day

At the end of the day Town Hill Auto Repair Service in Bedford PA recommends maintaining your car in a way that will extend the life of your engine and driveline components for many years to come. By using quality Valvoline oil and Premium Napa oil filters we can help increase the oil change interval. However; we do not endorse the mindset of 15,000 miles between oil changes. Much of our recommendations also stem from the vehicle themselves and the reputation of engineering that a particular engine or engine design has. Click here to learn more about Town Hill Auto Sales and Service in Bedford PA.

Examples would be:

  • Japanese vehicles such as Honda, Toyota and Lexus produced after 2008 can easily go 5,000 miles between oil changes using quality Valvoline oil and Premium Napa filters. Prior to 2008 though we would recommend remaining at a 3,000 mile oil change interval.
  • American produced vehicles such as Ford and Chevy we recommend oil change intervals of 3,000 miles for vehicles produced through 2012; even with quality Valvoline oil and Premium Napa filters. This is because of how the engine is designed in the oil delivery system. American vehicles produced after 2012 generally can handle up to 5,000 miles for oil change intervals using quality Valvoline oil and Premium Napa filters.
  • European-style vehicles, such as BMW, Mercedes and Volvo, Town Hill Auto Service recommends a 3,000 mile oil change interval regardless of year. This is because European vehicle’s cylinder head design, in most cases, does not allow for oil to flow as freely as it does on other style engines. For this reason our Town Hill Auto sales experts also recommend synthetic oil be used on all European vehicles produced after 2003.

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Article written by Rick Brewer – Inventive Support Services

Why is it more complicated to work on modern cars that it was before?

At Town Hill Auto Repair Service in Bedford PA. one of the most often asked questions that we get is “Why is it more complicated to work on modern cars that it was before?”

While the simple answer is that technology has made improvements in all areas of the vehicle systems and components, that answer is not necessarily the best one.

Our 2 cents on the matter

To be honest we don’t believe that all improvements that have been made by the auto industry over the years are necessary or beneficial. Many of the areas of the vehicle’s system, on cars driven in Bedford PA., were not changed for the reason of better technology but rather the increase in governmental regulations. These particular changes were instituted in 1996 and steadily increased over the years with major jumps in 2001, 2003, 2007 and 2012. These changes were mandatory by the federal government to auto manufacturers placing emission monitoring equipment and exhaust recirculation components that were advertised as a way to make a vehicle easier on the environment; but in reality, they have decreased fuel efficiency on many vehicles along the way.

Now there’s no reason to “cry over spilt milk,” these emission system components are mandatory and because of the computer systems that are on modern vehicles your car simply will not run correctly without these emission systems functioning properly. You can also rest assured that if your vehicle is experiencing any problems with these emissions systems that your trusted ASE Master certified, dealer trained technicians at Town Hill Auto Repair Service in Bedford PA. has been thoroughly trained on all aspects of emissions technology and can quickly diagnose and repair problems if they should arise.

Why does my car have a computer?

An automobile computer is probably one of the biggest reasons why a vehicle is more difficult to work on today than it was before. The PCM, or powertrain control module otherwise known as an ECU or electronic control unit, has steadily grown in its ability to monitor and regulate everything from engine timing and emissions to the temperature of your seat heater. These Computers have also been tuned with the engines on cars produced after 2007 so much that they can increase horsepower and increase fuel economy. In some cases you can even control from the dash the driving conditions, a common feature of modern muscle cars.

These computers, however, have a catch 22 for auto repair service technicians in Bedford PA.. While these computers can make the repairs, at times, more difficult they can also assist greatly in the diagnosis of a vehicle repair. Vehicles manufactured after 2012 can monitor dozens of sensors that, with the proper diagnostic equipment, can quickly narrow down a problem.

The ASE Master certified, dealer trained technicians employed by Town Hill Auto Repair Service in Bedford PA. are expertly trained in diagnosing these modern vehicle systems. Relying on years of experience combined with state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment we can quickly narrow down the problem and present options and solutions for the vehicle repair.

Are there any vehicle improvements in technology that are beneficial?

That’s actually a great question. There is no doubt that safety improvements over the years, whether federally mandated or not, has greatly improved the safety of most modern cars. Compare just the last 10 years in front end collision technology. With the use of the crumple zones and energy absorbing materials used in the construction of bumpers and the firewall; the likelihood of surviving a crash has been greatly increased. With the advances in anti-brake locking systems (ABS), stability control and computer-assisted steering there is no question that these improvements, while at times difficult to diagnose and repair, are well worth it.


There are many reasons why modern vehicles in Bedford, PA. are more difficult to work on today versus before. The few things that we’ve looked at in this article just scratch the surface of the complexity of many modern systems. One thing you can be sure of is that Town Hill Auto Repair Service in Bedford PA. is up for the challenge. Whether you’ve got a ‘69 Mustang or ‘12 Honda Civic our ASE Master certified, dealer trained master technicians are ready and able to keep your car running in top condition.

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