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?



  1. hope its not too late to jump in. i was a mechanic years ago working at a goodyear changing tires and oil and brakes etc. the owners always pushed for oil changes even if the oil looked fine. as a carguy all my life, my rule is to change oil by color. if it starts to get black, change it out. by that time the oil can start to get sticky when it touches really hot engine parts inside, especially a turbo. yes, the oil companies stand to profit from us changing our oil so often. dont listen to them. i remember when mobil 1 synthetic first came on the scene years ago. they bragged that oil changes werent necessary with their product until 25,000 miles. yes thats right. of course you had to fill it when it dropped below the required amount, but a full change wasnt necessary until 25k.

  2. been changing oil on my car about 7,000 – 10,000 miles, since I had my car in May 2004 with 88,157 miles and now with 176,190 miles and still going. Driving a mix of mostly city/town and small amount of highway driving.

  3. The 7,500 & 10,000 intervals are for driving long distances, not “severe driving” which is everyday “stop & go” driving. I try to maintain the 3,000 interval, however, it is more like 4,000.

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