You’ve probably heard it a million times. Maybe your parents drilled it into your head when you got your first car. You should change your car’s oil every 3000 miles. That’s the way it was done for decades, so why is it any different now? Well, things change, and in some cases that 3000-mile interval has doubled, or even tripled.
Why you need oil
The main reason that a car’s oil needs to be changed is that the oil becomes dirty. Oil is the lifeblood of a car, and without it, a car cannot run. Engines can become hot, abrasive, and can fail due to dirty oil. Oil lubricates a car’s engine, but it also cools and cleans it, too. A lack of oil, no oil or dirty oil can prevent these things from happening, causing breakdowns or worse – damage to your car’s key components.
Older cars that use conventional oil often need their oil changed more frequently. These automobiles generally require an oil change at the recommended 3000 miles. However, modern cars should be able to go slightly longer. It is best to consult should your car dealer or manual for the recommended interval.
There are two reasons why newer cars can often go longer than older cars before they need an oil change. First, newer cars utilize modern technology that has ultimately increased the efficiency of the vehicle overall, including the utilization of the car’s oil. Secondly, motor oil itself is evolving. Newer types of motor oil last longer. These two factors combined, increase the amount of time oil can survive in your vehicle before it breaks down and needs to be changed. In just a few decades’ time, motor oil has become cleaner and doesn’t clog up engines like it used to. Thanks to these new engines and advanced motor oils, new cars can go up to 5000 or even 7500 miles before an oil change is needed.
While it may have been true in the past, an oil change every 3000 miles is probably not necessary for most car owners, unless they own an older vehicle or continue to use conventional oil as opposed to newer synthetic blends or full synthetic oils. Because there are more options for types of oil, and because car design is constantly changing, owners should pay closer attention to their car manuals, or use a web service like Blitzify to check what type of oil is recommended for their vehicle.
Remember – regularly changing your oil also improves your gas mileage. The relatively low cost of changing your oil at the appropriate intervals prevents you from spending more than you have to on gas in the long run. However, spending on unnecessary oil changes when your car can go far longer than 3000 miles, can cause you to spend thousands of dollars when you don’t need to. Just because you’ve gotten used to changing your oil every 3000 miles, doesn’t mean you still have to. Just because you have a newer car, doesn’t mean you can drive 10,000 miles on conventional oil.
Like most questions concerning your car maintenance, the answer isn’t always simple, but it is always available. Consult your trusted mechanic or your manual to determine what is best for your car and follow those intervals. Your wallet, and your car will thank you for it.