When I turned sixteen, it was my dad’s responsibility to teach me good driving habits. Even after passing drivers ed, he wouldn’t let me drive alone or with my friends for several months.
My dad didn’t stop there. He took it upon himself to teach me basic car maintenance, too: checking the tire pressure, how to jump a battery and how often you should change your oil. There was no going to the local Jiffy Lube in my family. We changed our oil the old fashioned way—in the driveway with a jack and a bucket.
Despite my father’s rugged wisdom, he was guilty of giving me a bad piece of car advice. “Change the oil every 3,000 miles, no exceptions,” he said, as if it were auto doctrine. I took his recommendation to heart, and rarely let my car go more than 3,000 miles without an oil change (I was sure the car would fall apart if it went 4,000 or heaven forbid 5,000 without that change).
I don’t want to disparage my dad. Virtually every other piece of car advice he gave me was accurate and extremely helpful. But he was simply off base about how often you should change the oil.
Improved Oil Chemistry
OK, I’ll admit it. My dad wasn’t exactly wrong about oil changes. It’s just that in the last 10 years the technology of engines has improved dramatically, making cars more fuel efficient and oil efficient. For a newer car, say one made later than 2009, it’s entirely possible to go longer than 10,000 miles before you need to change the oil.
Back in my father’s day, 3,000 miles was a pretty good recommendation. But for modern-day automobiles, changing oil that often is simply wasteful.
Enter the Oil Change Companies
The “3,000 myth’’ lasted much longer than it should have. Auto makers have known for a long time that cars don’t need an oil change every 3,000 miles. In fact, take a look at your car’s operations manual. I guarantee that there isn’t a manual printed in the last decade that recommends 3,000 mile oil changes.
Of course, companies who perform oil changes can benefit immensely from getting you to bring your car in more often. Some of the bigger oil change companies even put stickers on the windshields of their customer’s cars recommending the 3,000 mile mark. It was only in 2010 that they stopped the practice, instead pointing customers to the operations manual of their car.
So, How Often Should You Change Your Car’s Oil?
The simplest answer to the question of how often you should change your oil is to consult your owner’s manual. For my particular car, my owner’s manual recommends a change every 7,500 miles if you primarily drive on the highway, and 5,000 miles if you drive mostly around the city. You can also check your number online.
Changing your oil every 3,000 miles won’t hurt your car, but it won’t help it run any better, either. Stick to your manufacturer’s recommendations, and your car should keep chugging for years to come!
Check back with our blog for more helpful tips. You can also visit our title loan pages for Utah Title Loans and Las Vegas Title Loans.
How often do you change your oil? Let us know in the comments sections below!