I know we all can hear our local oil change provider commercials telling us to come in every 3,000 miles or we will hurt our engines and our environment. Well unless you are running a cast iron engine of old in your car or doing some serious harmful driving you have been wasting not only your money but good oil every time you follow this advice.
Wasting good oil has gotten to the point that California is actually running an ad campaign to stop people from changing their oil so often. They have even set up a website so that you can check your vehicles individual requirements. Though they only go with the low end of mid range driving styles. So if you are easier on your vehicle, you can go longer (up to 10,ooo*), or do tons of stop and go with lots of idling, go shorter (3,000* is it). The best way to check for the best requirements is your owners manual, but that can be hard to understand too. Going to the makers website is also a good way to search for this information, but searching for it may take a while.
In the end it is really your best guess, unless you are lucky enough to have a late model car that runs a program. The program only does a best guess when to change your oil, as those that I’ve seen do not include a sensor in the engine. Though it is more accurate then the average driver as it runs all sorts of algorithms based on the way the vehicle is driven, which allows for changes in driving habits that is not included in the estimates given by the manufacture.
Keep in mind that these estimates are only for regular oil, if you use synthetic or partially synthetic, your numbers could be different. You best bet is to find a competent mechanic that you feel comfortable with and discuss the best strategy for keeping your vehicle’s oil changes on track. Or if you are mechanically inclined do your due diligence and become the expert yourself.
So in the end it seems that 3,000 miles as the correct time to change your oil is both myth and fact…..
*estimates are taken from the Ford website as that is the maker of my vehicle. Be sure to check with your individual vehicles’ maker for accurate estimates.