In an age of sky-high gas prices and cash-strapped consumers scrimping and saving every spare dollar, caring for an automobile comes with important questions.
These include: how do you really know when to change your car's oil? And is paying extra at the pump for premium gas a rip off, or is it really worth it?
We posed these questions to Jeff Allen, Flat 12 Gallery owner and the star of
When Is It Time for an Oil Change?
When it comes to oil changes, common knowledge likely varies according to the decade in which you grew up.
"When I was growing up, I was always taught that you changed your oil every 3,000 miles, right, or every three months, whichever came first. I think that was a little too frequent," said Allen.
"As the cars got newer and more sophisticated, you see it go to 5,000 miles," he added. "Now, we have cars out there that they're saying you don't have to change your oil until every 15,000 miles. I think that's too long."
Allen says a simple rule to follow is to change your car's oil—no matter how new or old—every 5,000 miles. But, if your car runs on synthetic oil, change it every 10,000 miles.
New oil starts out as a golden color. As it's reused by your car's engine, it gets darker and darker until it will eventually turn into "a black goo" if not changed. So a simple way to keep your car running smoothly is to keep the oil clean.
Simple things like changing your car's oil and rotating its tires can keep a car running for a very long time, Allen said.