I've always tried to keep my engine running on good oil. So about every 3k miles (3 months), I drain and pour new oil in it. This is pretty much the advice most of us have followed for years. But this might be not only a waste of money but also a danger to the environment, at least according to an article in the NYT: The 3,000-Mile Oil Change Is Pretty Much History.
At least, the California Integrated Waste Management Board tried for years to impact drivers' oil-changing habits in the state and convince them to wait longer. They were not only trying to save drivers' money but also care for the environment of course. They even published a list of cars in their website suggesting how often they should change their engine oil.
Since I drive an '87, I think I better stick to the 3-month schedule.
Are you willing to change your maintenance schedule or do you rather go by the service manual?
The "you can go more miles between oil changes" scenario came about due to manufacturers promoting FREE maintenance, along with their new-car warranty. So the bottom-line was they extended oil change intervals to save themselves money.
Nowadays, a lot of manufactures no longer include a maintenance schedule in the owner's manual. They now use more complex on-board maintenance reminder systems. These maintenance reminders take a lot of variables into consideration before turning on the light indicating service is due; not just mileage, but driving habits and ambient temperatures as well.
Today's motor oils are more refined and consistent than years-gone-by. So on new cars I suggest going by the maintenance reminder. Older cars, maybe a bit past the good-old 3k stand-by. But if it's a car you love, and plan on keeping it long-term, stick with the old fashioned way of thinking, using synthetic motor oil if it's a classic.
Some times it is good to think twice and do a little research before adopting industry-led programs. Great advice.
Last edited by Ritchy (9/24/2010 12:03 AM)
So does this mean that no one believes an oil company that claims more than 3 times the miles between drain intervals?
Go by the manufacturer's service intervals. No matter the quality of oil it still gets dirty.