Do You Need Different Motor Oil in the Summer? | Scott's Fort Collins Auto

Do You Need Different Motor Oil in the Summer?

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Some people are concerned that they need to change the grade of their motor oil in the summertime, but is it truly needed? Here is what the summer months mean for you and your vehicle. 

Summer and Your Motor Oil 

When that summer heat starts up we change a lot of things. We hang up the sweaters until the fall and start reaching for t-shirts, shorts, iced coffee, and more. Another thing we tend to do as the seasons change is consider what that means for our cars. In the winter, we switch to snow tires, but is there something we should be switching up come summertime too? When it comes to your motor oil, not really. 

In the past, we’ve had to think about needing one oil in the winter and another in the summer. However, due to advances in motor oil technology, Firestone explains that we no longer need to switch up what we’re using in our vehicles, even though it used to be common practice. 

Motor oil in previous years used to only have one thickness, known as a ‘single grade’ motor oil. Drivers would have to use a winter grade oil during the winter as it was designed to be thinner and flow more easily in low temperatures. In the summer, we would have to swap out for a thicker oil since hot temperatures thin out oil. Today, thankfully, most motor oils are multi-grade, meaning that there is a wider range of protection for temperatures all year long. However, even though you don’t have to change the type of oil you’re using, it is still important to have frequent oil changes done. 

Old Car Motor Oil Changes 

While you don’t have to swap oil grades in the summer, you still need to have frequent oil changes done. Your car needs fresh oil to operate properly. AAA explains that how old your car is, the type of oil you use, and the driving conditions you see each day all change the frequency you need oil changes. Previously, it was common to need an oil change every 3,000 miles. However, with modern oil grades, an oil change isn’t needed until 5,000-7,500 miles. If your car uses synthetic oil, you might not even need an oil change until you’ve gone 15,000 miles. 

For older cars, oil change frequency is determined based on how you operate your car, in normal or severe conditions. Severe conditions include:

  • Only driving in primarily short trips (5 miles or less)
  • Extremely hot, cod, or dusty climates
  • Sustained stop-and-go driving 
  • Carrying heavy loads or towing a trailer 

If your car falls under a severe condition, then you will need to change your motor oil more frequently. However, if you only drive in normal conditions, you typically don’t have to take your older car in for an oil change as frequently. 

New Car Motor Oil Changes

Newer cars are equipped with oil-life monitoring systems that will automatically alert you on your dash when it’s time for an oil change. Most of the time these are time and mileage based alerts, although newer cars are able to analyze actual vehicle operating conditions to identify when the oil will begin to degrade. 

Is it time for another oil change? At Scott’s Auto, we know an oil change is just one more thing to try and squeeze into an already busy schedule. We promise to make it as quick and painless as possible. With four convenient locations in Fort Collins, Loveland, Montrose, and Grand Junction, we can easily get your oil renewed and have you back on the road in no time. 


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