When Does A New Car Need An Oil Change?

Got a new car just now or a while ago, and wondering when you should get an oil change? Here's a simple guide.

When does a new car need an oil change? Well, that can be answered very quickly and succinctly.

A new car needs its first oil change when the manufacturer says so.

That’s it. That’s all you need to do and all you need to know.

Check out this article for more information on why that’s the case.

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When To Change Oil On A New Car

Oil Change

When you buy a new car, it will have very few miles on it. The oil will have been topped up beforehand, ready to go when you receive the vehicle.

Your owner’s manual and service booklet will say exactly when the oil should be changed. Follow this advice, and never leave your oil change until the deadline passes.

Typically, you’d expect to need an oil change after about 10,000 miles or 12 months, whichever comes first. These can vary slightly.

Service Reminders

Change Engine Oil Soon

The service light will come on in your car. It looks like an oil can with a drop coming out of it.

You might also see the words “Service Engine Oil” or “Oil Change Due” on the car’s display.

No surprises here; this means that your oil change due date/mileage is coming up.

As soon as you see this message, book a service, including an oil and filter change.

Ignoring it means any problems with the oil (and anything else) will continue to worsen. In the end, you’ll end up paying much less if you just take your vehicle for a service.

Why Should You Follow The Manufacturer’s Advice?

Service Manual

You must follow what the manufacturer recommends regarding oil changes (and pretty much everything else).

Think of it this way: the manufacturer designed the car. They know the engine inside out. They’ve done millions of miles of testing. Why would you want to go against what they say?

If you don’t get the oil changed in a new car in time, you might invalidate your warranty.

Keeping your warranty valid is more than worth a simple oil change and service. Plus, it’ll keep your car running in good condition. 

Do You Need To Get An Oil Change In A New Car At A Dealership?

Ford Cars (Dealership)

You can get your oil changed anywhere because of the 1970 Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act.

If you want to maintain your warranty without hassle, get your oil changed by a licensed mechanic. Often, these are dealerships – but not always.

Mechanics can be licensed to work on certain manufacturers’ cars. They’ll have completed a course and earned their qualification.

Going to these shops can save money – they’re almost always cheaper than dealerships. Just make sure to ask for warranty-approved services before you hand your car over. The mechanic will be liable for any warranty breaches, not you.

Should You Get A New Car Oil Change Earlier Than The Manufacturer Recommends?

There’s nothing wrong with getting your oil changed early. Well, except for how much your wallet will complain.

Some engineers might suggest changing your oil within the first few hundred miles. This would mean catching any wear (from a new engine) early.

However, it isn’t really necessary. If your engine has a manufacturing defect (unlikely but possible), it’ll be covered by the warranty. Paying an extra two hundred dollars for an additional oil change isn’t needed.

Oil Maintenance On A New Car

Cars are engineering wonders. They’re man-made machines. Sometimes, it’s easy to forget that they aren’t magic carpets running on happy thoughts and good wishes.

In short, it’s important to look after them, no matter their age. Regular maintenance is paramount; a vital part of this is looking after your engine oil.

On a regular basis, it’s essential to check your oil. To do this:

  1. Park up on level ground.
  2. Pull the oil dipstick out and wipe it with a rag.
  3. Put the dipstick back in and then draw it out again.
  4. Read the level on the dipstick. It should be somewhere between the maximum and minimum marks.
  5. If it’s below the MIN, top your oil up. Ensure you use the correct multigrade. You’ll find this in your owner’s manual.

Conclusion: New Car’s First Oil Change

How Much Does An Oil Change Cost

There’s only one thing you need to do, and that’s following the manufacturer’s advice. This will come to you in many ways:

  • Salespeople, when you buy the car
  • Owner’s manual
  • Service booklet (sometimes online)
  • Oil change indicator
  • Car mechanics

Follow this advice, and it’ll be hard to go wrong.

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Benjamin Kitchen

Ben is an automotive author from England. With experience in a fast-fit garage, he's an IMI-qualified light vehicle technician. He aims to help drivers worldwide with common automotive problems. You’ll often find him working with his 1.2 Vauxhall Corsa – it may have a tiny engine, but in eight years it's never once let him down!

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