The general rule of thumb regarding oil change intervals has always been every 3000 miles. Quick change oil shops all over the country put stickers on vehicles every day with a 3000 mile oil change interval. Why wouldn’t they? More business for them. I have read that car companies came up with that oil change interval somewhere around 1968 based on the engine oils available at the time. The composition of engine oil has changed dramatically, to say the least, over the last 50 years and now every 3000 miles is probably too conservative. When in doubt you should always follow what your vehicle owners’ manual says regarding oil change intervals. Newer vehicles use a computer to calculate the life of the oil based on driving conditions, driving style, air temperature, traffic conditions and multiple other factors. This allows owners to change their oil much less frequently than the recommended 3000 miles. Often times these vehicles will go 10,000 or even 12,000 miles before the oil change light comes on. Changing your oil every 3000 miles is still a safe bet, albeit an expensive one. For those of you who do not have a vehicle that keeps track of oil life, the rule of thumb we use at On Demand Mechanic is 5,000 miles for conventional oil, and 7,500 miles for a fully synthetic oil, and that may still be a little conservative.
Here is a link to some good videos on the Edmunds.com website debunking some of the motor oil myths out there:
Also be sure to check your oil regularly. Even though you may not see any oil leaking, engines can and do burn small amounts of oil that are not noticeable. Always try to keep your oil level between the hi / lo lines on the dip stick and never overfill your crankcase. Try to get into the habit of checking your oil every time you fill up with gas. Stopping at the gas station is good reminder and it gives you something to do while the gas is being pumped into your car! For those people who don’t or can’t check their oil regularly, On Demand Mechanic offers customized services including a monthly service where we will come to your location to check and top off all fluids.
Remember that engine oil is the life blood of your vehicle. Of all of the maintenance tasks a person should be doing regularly, making sure the engine oil is full and changing the oil and oil filter on a regular basis is probably one of, if not THE most important. Today’s cars and trucks are very reliable and built to last a long time with the proper maintenance. On Demand Mechanic’s goal is to help you keep track of your vehicles’ maintenance providing you with a dependable vehicle for many years.