Some facts are only facts for so long. As technology advances, certain ideas and ways of thinking about how we use technology become obsolete. There aren’t many people still spinning the dial of a rotary phone to place a call, but there are still plenty of people changing their oil every 3,000 miles, just because it’s what’s always been done. Your vehicle is smarter than ever before, and now IT, not your mechanic, can let you know when it’s time to change your oil.
Now that oil and engine technologies have drastically improved in the last 10 years, the 3,000-mile oil change is now a thing of the past. There are many reasons that popular thinking has changed over time. The first reason is that there are different types of driving. Your normal driving routine can affect when you should get your oil changed. Do you do a lot of “stop and go” driving? Do you take a lot of short trips? This will decrease the amount of miles you should drive between oil changes. On the other hand, if you do mostly highway driving, then the time between oil changes will be extended. But like most people you probably do a bit of both, bringing the period between changes somewhere in the middle.
The best piece of advice is to simply check and see what your owner’s manual suggests. Your car’s manufacturer has done extensive testing on your specific vehicle to let you know exactly when an oil change is due. Another option is to simply send an oil sample to a company that will analyze your oil and give you specific instructions as to how many miles your car can go between oil changes. Of course, the simplest answer is to get a car that has an oil minder. The sensors inside the car monitor the cleanliness and level of your oil and will simply turn on to remind you when you need to change your oil.
There are many reasons to pay close attention to your car’s oil and when it should be changed. The first and most obvious one is money. Yes, the old rule says you should change your oil every 3,000 miles, but if that doesn’t hold true for your specific car, then you will either save money—if you can go longer between oil changes—or you’ll have a better-running car—if you need your oil changed more frequently. Trust your owner’s manual to determine when you should get your car serviced.
Another reason to make sure you’re getting your car’s oil changed at the right time is the environmental impact of the use of motor oil in the millions of cars around the world. According to autochannel.com, one gallon of oil can pollute one million gallons of water. Each gallon of oil we save can potentially save millions of gallons of water from pollution.
Of course, we all enjoy the satisfaction of knowing that we are taking care of our cars. The feeling that your car is performing just a little bit better is a comfort to everyone. However, be sure to maintain your car to your manufacturer’s specifications and not necessarily your parents’ age-old recommendation.
How often do you change your oil? Do you stick with the 3,000 miles, or do you have a different system?