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How often should my vehicle be serviced for oil and tire rotation? Do I need synthetic oil? What do you think is a fair price for this repair?

Answers from the Automotive Experts

Stephanie Gutierrez, Marketing Communications Coordinator at Victory Auto Service & Glass Jeri, For standard oil, the recommended oil change interval is 3,000 miles. Depending on your location and driving conditions, it may be up to 5,000 miles. Check your owner's manual or bring your car to a shop with an ASE certified technician that if familiar with your areas conditions and vehicle requirements. When in doubt, you’ll never go wrong doing it every 3,000 miles. Going over your recommended oil change interval is where it can cause excessive friction and wear on your engine. Synthetic oils are great and have much better lubricating properties and will typically go double the distance of standard oil. Some newer cars or cars equipped with turbo chargers require synthetic oil. Again, check your owners manual or a ASE certified technician on your specific vehicles requirements. A regular priced standard oil change will normally run around $30 for a new filter and up to 5 qts of oil and a synthetic oil change will normally run $50-60 depending on the grade of oil. Keep in mind, these prices do not include all vehicles and can vary if your car requires a non-standard filter or more than 5 quarts. As far as tire rotations, most tires require rotation every 6-8,000 miles, or every other oil change to get the best wear and avoid chopping or cupping of your tires tread. If your car is equipped with low profile high performance tires, it may be required as much as every 3-5,000 miles. Your local repair shop or tire professional can tell you exactly what your tires need. As far as cost for rotation, we offer FREE lifetime tire rotation with the purchase of 4 tires. Otherwise, we charge $18 for a rotation and feel that if you are charged within a few dollars of that price, it would be reasonable. Best wishes! -Stephanie

Amanda J. Pierce, MBA Jeri, You Should have a regular maintenance schedule in your owners manual listing recommendations. If not, you can visit your local dealership and they should be able to provide you with a schedule for free. Newer vehicles are offering extended drain intervals from 3k miles to 5k miles. You will need to check with you dealer if this applies to you! Synthetic Oil is preferred by many over conventional oil, as this can prolong life and slightly increase fuel economy. The initial investment is higher, but may allow you to extend the life between oil and filter changes. Cost varies by area and location. A. J. Valle

Amy Mattinat, Owner and Author at Auto Craftsmen Ltd Deciding on how often to get your car's oil change depends on the following: 'what part of the country / type of weather you live in. 'how many miles you drive on a regular basis 'what type of driving you do on a regular basis: Mostly in town - stop & go, or mostly highway miles For example: If you lived in CA. and drove mostly highway miles, I would suggest you get your oil changed ever 7,000 miles. If you lived in Vermont and drove mostly stop & go driving, I would suggest you get your oil changed every 3,000 miles. Talk with your automotive service provider and ask them how often with your driving habits your Focus should get an oil change. With a Ford Focus you would be fine to use regular motor oil. A fair price would be somewhere around $30.00 - $35.00.

Kerri Papajohn, Marketing Director at USA Sealants, Inc. What year is your vehicle? I am assuming you use synthetic oil currently, right? Service is typical on 2008+ year olds every 5,000 miles. (But you will also hear 3 months or 3,000 miles from Ford's website.) Are you highway miles mostly or in stop and go traffic? Stop and Go traffic is worst and may require closer to the 3,000/3 - 6 months depending on your specific drive. Around $55. I prefer synthetic.

Lori Johnson, Owner and Instructor at Ladies Start Your Engines Dear Jeri, You can find maintenance information in your owner's manual. Since each vehicle is different, it's best to look there for oil changes and tire rotations. It should also tell you if you need to use synthetic or not. If it came from the factory with synthetic, then you must use it. If not, you can decide to use it or not. As for prices, take a look at www.repairpal.com. You can also call around and get prices. You may want to ask family or a friend where they go for service or find an Ask Patty female friendly shop near you. Lori Johnson www.ladiesstartyourengines.com

Pat Fleischmann, Director of First Impressions at Community Tire Pros & Auto Repair Jeri, Any and all questions asked can answered in your owners manual of your vehicle. This is your guide to all routine services needed on your car. It will state also if your car requires the synthetic oil too. It's SO important to have a relationship with a competent repair facility. ASKPATTY.COM takes the guessing out of choosing, picking, questioning, & worrying about looking for a auto repair facility. They have examined these companies wishing to be part of this extraordinary informational team for you, and feel confidant the pricing, their creditability, reputation in their industry & their areas, & BBB ratings are at their highest to be considered to be associated with the ASKPATTY.COM family. Charging fair prices and quality repairs is always a safe bet they are inline with others quality repair shops. As always, ask questions at the counter- this is your Investment!

Suzanne Grego, Technician at City of Philadelphia Fleet Management JERI, In years past, oil changes were recommended every 3,000 miles. However, as oil and filters have advanced, many newer recommendations go as far as 10,000 miles between oil changes. Check your owners manual for your specific recomendations. Tire rotations were usually scheduled for every other oil change, but if you are going more than 6,000 miles between oil changes, you may want to have them rotated every time you get an oil change. Your owner's manual should also include this schedule. Synthetic oil, in my opinion, is not necessary unless the vehicle was originally with synthetic. Prices for an oil change and tire rotation will vary. You can call around for the best deal and be aware of specials and coupons in your area. Sue

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