Ask any car-person about how often to change the oil in a car and you are going to hear all sorts of recommendations. And we can almost guarantee that the most common one, though, is “every 3000 miles.” It’s the standard response from gearheads for over half a century now. The problem is that this recommendation is antiquated. Yes, it held true many years ago – like fifty- but not today. In this article, we will look at not only the old “3000 mile rule” but the top five recommendations you will bump into concerning your car’s motor oil.
1) Change your oil every 3,000 miles.
OK, let’s start with the big one. “Change your oil every 3000 miles and your engine will go forever.” Sounds good but problem is, it isn’t true anymore. Many years ago, it was recommended by car manufacturers that engine oil should be changed every 3000 miles. This was a nice conservative recommendation and it worked well. Today, experts agree that today’s oils last far longer. This is because they are mostly synthetic-based and have advanced cleaning additives. The result? According to our friends at Rotolos Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram (Charleroi, PA) the average interval for 2018 cars is around some 6,000-8,000 miles. Check your owner’s manual, or with your local dealer, to see what interval they recommend for your specific car.
2) When you buy a new car, change your oil at 500 miles.
This is another one. Decades ago, the car manufacturers recommended changing the “break-in oil” at 500 miles. Well, for most cars, this is not the case anymore. Today, most cars come from the factory with a special type of oil that doesn’t need to be replaced for many thousands of miles. Our advice, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on the first oil change interval for a new car. Your dealer will be able to tell you what they recommend.
3) Check the oil on the dipstick. If it’s dirty looking, change it.
Here’s another one that just isn’t true anymore. After a few thousand miles, your engine oil is going to look darker than it was when new; this doesn’t mean you have to change it. The oils today have additives in them that change color as they work. A darker oil actually means your engine oil is working properly! Change it at the manufacturers recommended interval which we learned previously that is some 6000-8000 miles.
4) Once you switch to synthetic oil, you always have to use it.
Yup, this is a persistent myth. In fact, let’s talk chemistry. Today, the composition of synthetic oil and petroleum-based oil is almost the same. Switch back and forth as much as you’d like. You won’t have any trouble.
5) You should always change your oil filter too.
False… Ha, ha, just kidding! This one is quite true. Oil filters perform a critical job in your engine’s oiling system, keeping oil clean, and they are cheap. It’s just good practice to install a new filter whenever you change your oil. And, get a good one too. It makes no sense to save a dollar or two when you are dealing with the longevity of your car’s engine.