How Often Should I Change My Oil?
So it’s about that time when you notice that the mileage on your odometer has just exceeded the figure written on the sticker from your last oil change. Which makes you wonder: should you change your oil as often as the sticker says, or can you wait a little longer?
Like many people, I get a little skeptical when someone who has a vested business interest in working on my car tells me I should come by as often as possible. Many shops will tell you to come in every 3,000 miles. That number may seem like a lot, but what if you reside outside the urban sprawl? Maybe you commute 10-15 miles to work and take a road trip every month. That means you could end up driving nearly 1,000 miles per month. So if you go by the recommended 3,000 miles/change, you’ll need to change your oil every 3 months. At $30 a pop, you pay $120 per year based on potentially biased advice.
Read literature on the subject and you’ll find that you can hold out beyond 3,000 miles per change. For example, Consumer Reports says that you can typically go around 7,500 miles between changes without negatively impacting your engine. Many cars also have an oil monitoring system to tell you when to change your oil.
Regardless of the numbers, conventional wisdom says you should change your oil based on the kind of car you have. Fivecentnickel.com recommends dispensing with the “one-size-fits-all” mentality and simply reading your owner’s manual to learn about your car’s unique needs.
In any event, you can save money by going above and beyond your local lube shop’s recommendations. Knowledge is power, so stay well-read and proactive.
- posted by Taeho Lim