Extend your car's life by changing your oil and oil filter regularly

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We know they can feel like a pain in the butt, but getting regular oil changes for your vehicle is the most important thing you can do to keep your car running smoothly and to get the best gas mileage. They can save you anywhere from $500 to $3,000 in repair and maintenance costs over your vehicle's lifespan, plus it will help your car live longer and save you up to 2% on gas costs.

So what does 'regularly' mean? Traditionally the recommendation was an oil change every 3,000 miles or every 3 months. However for modern cars and less severe driving, your owner's manual may suggest an interval as long as 7,500-10,000 miles or 6-12 months which can save money on oil changes. That can be the difference between 4 annual oil changes versus 1 or 2, which could me as much as $60 annual savings in your pocket.

In addition to oil changes, be sure to change your oil filter and to use the recommended motor oil for your car (check your owner's manual). Also, be sure to use the oil recommended in your owner's manual.

If you're a DIY kind of person, great! You'll save even more money by avoid labor expenses. Look for sales and rebates on motor oil to get your cost down to $1-2 per quart. Including the price of a new filter at ~$4, you're looking at $6-14 for a 3 to 5 quart oil change.

If you prefer to have a professional do the work, the cost of regular oil changes is still worth the investment and should save you money in the long run. Check for coupons in your local coupon brochures (e.g., Coupon Clipper) or Valpak mailers. Large auto maintenance chains such as Firestone often include coupons in their ads. Try to get your costs down to around $15-20 for a standard oil change (more for premium oil or speciality filters).

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