One of the most important parts of caring for your vehicle is making sure that it has adequate amounts of all the right automotive fluids. Many auto manufacturers and mechanics recommend having oil changes performed at least once every three months or once every 3,000 miles. In reality, however, this schedule might be too frequent for many drivers. For others, it might not be often enough. Following is everything you need to know about timing and scheduling your oil change service.

An easy way to determine whether or not you’re in line for this service is by checking the color and viscosity of your oil. If it is dark, thick, sludgy, and burnt smelling, your engine would greatly appreciate this type of diligence. If it is still clear, amber in color, and if there is plenty in the pan, you should be fine for quite a while.

Older cars will need to have this service performed more frequently. These vehicles are more prone to leaks and they also tend to run a bit hotter than newer autos. As such, their fluids are routinely lost during operation. Moreover, those that remain tend to change in color and thickness as they routinely heat up and cool down.

Some people assert that having this work performed once every 5,000 to 6,000 miles is best. This is usually the perfect amount of time in-between visits for relatively new autos that aren’t driven too hard. During your next appointment, you can have your mechanic estimate your needs for this treatment based upon the age of your car, the type and amount of driving that you do, and other factors.

Another thing that can affect the frequency of services is the type of driving that you do. Freeway miles are far better for your auto than are miles that are racked up in stop-and-go traffic. If you do a lot of city driving during commute hours, you might consider setting up an appointment every few months.