The Los Angeles Times reports that many drivers are changing their vehicle's oil too often.
Many automobile owners are spending more than they need on motor oil, believing that it should be changed every 3,000 miles even though almost no manufacturer requires such an aggressive oil-change schedule.
The long-held notion that the oil should be changed every 3,000 miles is so prevalent that California officials have launched a campaign to stop drivers from wasting millions of gallons of oil annually because they have their vehicles serviced too often.
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Improvement in oils, friction proofing and car engines have lengthened the oil-change interval, typically 7,500 miles to 10,000 miles for most vehicles.
Changing motor oil according to manufacturer specifications would reduce motor-oil demand in California by about 10 million gallons a year, the agency said. The state has created a website, checkyournumber.org, where drivers can look up the suggested motor-oil change interval number for their vehicles.
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"The 3,000-mile oil change just says that the marketing campaign by quick-lube companies has been effective," said Steve Mazor, manager of the Auto Club of Southern California's Automotive Research Center. It made sense years ago, when "we had cast-iron block engines with cast-iron pistons that would expand when they got hot and older lubricants," Mazor said.
There's more at the link.
Intrigued by this report, I went to the Web site it mentioned (checkyournumber.org) and entered the year, make and model of my vehicles. Sure enough, the site came back with recommended oil change intervals of 5,000 miles for both, rather than the 3,000 miles recommended by the service facility I normally use for the job. If one looks at an average cost for an oil change of about $30 (by the time all taxes and fees are included), switching to a longer interval between oil changes can save a useful sum of money each year. It might stretch well into three figures over the life of the vehicle.