How often should you change your vehicle’s oil, oil filter and air filters?

Sep 5, 2012 1 minute read

Owning a vehicle makes it easier to get around town, go to work and to pick up groceries. But owning a vehicle comes at a cost; you have to spend time and money to maintain it. Before you schedule your next oil change, read our tips to learn how often you should perform regular maintenance.

How often should you change your oil?

An easy-to-remember guide is: change your car’s oil every 5,000 kilometres or every three to six months. It may sound excessive, but car companies recommend changing the oil frequently to avoid damage. Depending on the type of car you drive and your driving habits, you may need to change the oil less often. Newer engines and high-quality oil may allow you to drive further between changes. Check your owner’s manual or consult a mechanic on the best option for your needs.

How often should you change your oil filter?

The oil filter cleans dirt and particles from the oil that may cause damage. An easy way to remember to change your oil filter is to replace it at every oil change or every other oil change. Oil filters are inexpensive and range from $5 to $20 depending on the vehicle.

You can ask a licensed mechanic to change both your oil and filter at the same time. If you want to change your oil and oil filter yourself, be sure to purchase the correct filter for your engine and follow the filter manufacturer’s instructions.

Changing your air filters

Your vehicle should have two air filters: one for your engine and one for your passenger compartment. The air filters need to be changed less often than oil filters—usually once a year or every 24,000-48,000 kilometres. This number may vary based on the vehicle and your driving habits.

Surprisingly, a slightly dirty air filter cleans more efficiently than a brand-new filter. This is because the debris that gets trapped in the filter element helps screen out smaller particles.