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The 3,000-mile oil change myth

Oil change

Photo Credit: Flickr/Jeff Wilcox

The 3,000-mile oil change myth

By Carolyn Hauck on April 28, 2015

Still changing your car’s oil every 3,000 miles? You might want to think again.

According to oil experts and car manufacturers less frequent oil changes have become the norm and it’s outdated information that keeps people returning to service stations for oil changes every 3,000 miles.

Since 2013, most automakers recommend oil changes every 7,500 to 10,000. If your car is closer to 10 years old, changing your oil every 4,000 – 5,000 miles is a better idea, but even some cars a little older can handle oil changes every 7,500 miles. Older cars and those that operate under “severe weather conditions” are the only types of cars automakers still recommend having the oil changed every 3,000 miles.

Engines and oil manufacturing have vastly improved since the 3,000 rule of thumb was created to help with pollution and other environmental concerns. As Ron Z, a verified Mechanic of JustAnswer confirms, “The way engines are designed these days, they do not require the oil to be replaced as often as older cars. This was done for environmental reasons as well as engine performance and longevity reasons.”

Ron also recommends checking to find out what oil is optimal for your car. Service technicians will sometimes try to sell you on a more expensive, higher quality oil, but as Ron puts it, “The "quality" of the engine oil will not extend the life of the oil. Always use a mid-grade, name-brand engine oil, unless otherwise recommended by your car’s manual or manufacturer.”

Want to know what type of oil and mileage change recommendations are best for the make and model of your car? Ask a Mechanic and get a fast answer now.