Want to hear a lot of opinions about something? Ask any car-person about how often to change the oil in a car. You’ll hear all sorts of recommendations and we can guarantee that the most common one 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. In this article, we will look at the top five recommendations concerning the motor oil and weigh in on their veracity.
Change your oil every 3,000 miles
OK, let’s start with the biggy: “Change your oil every 3000 miles and your engine will go forever.” Boy, does this recommendation have some sticking power. Problem is, it isn’t true anymore. Many years ago, maybe even 50-60 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, though. This is because they are mostly synthetic-based and have advanced cleaning additives. The result? According to our friends at Cars on Market of Wilmington, NC, the average interval for 2010 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.
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, 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 thousands of miles. The take-away? Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations on the first oil change interval for your new car.
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 but this doesn’t mean 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.
Once you switch to synthetic oil, you always have to use it
This is a real myth, it never was true. In fact, the line between synthetic oil and petroleum-based oil is quite blurry because the two types of oil are often blended together today. 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
Ha, ha, trick question! This one is quite true. Oil filters perform a critical job in your engine’s oiling system 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.