Let’s change how often we change our oil
If we’re serious about reducing our use of oil, why does every dealership, repair shop and quick-lube joint I’ve ever visited still recommend changing the oil in our cars every 3,000 miles or 3 months?
The maintenance manual for my 2007 Suzuki recommends changing the engine oil every 7,500 miles. My Honda recommends every 10,000 miles. Yet anywhere I go, the little sticker on the windshield says to come back in 3 months.
I’m thinking this is an example of recommending unnecessary oil changes to pad the bottom line, when perhaps we should require that shops adhere to manufacturer recommendations. I’d even go so far as to suggest we change our oil one time per year, if an adequate filtration system could be developed to extend oil life another couple thousand miles.
In the U.S. alone, we’ve got about 250 million vehicles. If each uses 5 quarts of oil every 3 months, that’s 20 quarts (or 5 gallons) every year. Five gallons multiplied by 250 million cars is a big number: about 1.2 billion gallons. That’s 22 million barrels of oil each year.
Switching from 20 to 5 quarts per year would reduce the number of barrels we’d use by an astounding 17 million.
Though I admit changing the oil in our cars once per year isn’t feasible currently, it is feasible to follow the recommendations in your manual and not let your repair shops coerce you into a 3-month schedule.
That is a simple and effective method we can use right now to conserve our dwindling oil supplies.
I want to know: How often do you change your oil and why?