If you drive around Long Beach, you’ve probably heard that you should change your oil every 3,000 miles. This is a widely accepted standard for oil changes, but is changing your oil after 3,000 miles really necessary?
Like most things, the answer depends on your vehicle. But for newer vehicles, in most cases you don’t need to change your oil every 3,000 miles. Recommended oil change intervals can vary greatly between vehicle manufacturers, so it is always best to familiarize yourself with your owner’s manual to stay on top of recommended maintenance. Because of advances in engine materials and tighter tolerances, most manufacturers today recommend intervals of 7,500 miles or more. Ford and Volkswagen recommend oil changes only every 10,000 miles. BMW says owners using synthetic oil can go up to 15,000 miles between oil changes. Make sure that you know how often to change the oil in your vehicle and what type of oil to use.
There is one exception – manufacturers suggest that you change oil more often for “severe” driving conditions such as trailer towing, extensive stop-go driving or idling, driving in extreme temperatures, or frequent short-distance driving where the engine doesn’t reach full operating temperature.
Some manufacturers today equip their vehicles with oil-life monitors that tell car owners when it’s time to change the oil based on vehicle speed, engine temperature, climate conditions, number of cold starts and other factors. They can all cite examples from owners who say the oil-life monitors indicated they could go even longer than the recommended change intervals.
If you’re nervous about going 10,000 miles or more between oil changes, then do it every six months, when you probably should also have your tires rotated (also explained in your owner’s manual). GM says to change your oil at least once a year even if the service indicator warning light doesn’t come on. With longer recommended intervals between oil changes, it’s more important to check the oil level at least once a month to make sure you have enough.
But to change oil every 3,000 miles is probably wasting money. Environmentalists say it also adds to the glut of used oil that must be recycled or disposed, and the state of California is trying to discourage the practice.
If you’re not sure when to get your oil changed or think that it might be time, come in to Orozco’s Auto Service in Long Beach for an inspection or oil change.