Here’s a money saving tip for you… Don’t change your oil any more than necessary. The idea of changing you oil every three months or 3,000 miles has been pounded into our heads by the oil change industry for years. But is it really necessary? Maybe, maybe not. But many people buy into the idea that frequent oil changes are “cheap insurance,” so why not do it?
While changing your car’s oil too often won’t hurt it, doing so is a waste of money. And besides, if you go to one of those Quicky-Lube places to get your oil changed, do you really want a minimum wage grease monkey messing with your car any more than is absolutely necessary?
According to Tom and Ray Magliozzi (a.k.a., Click & Clack of Car Talk fame), a general rule of thumb would be to change your oil and filter every 5,000 miles. They do, however, recognize that this will be too soon for many people, and a bit late for a few.
As far as I’m concerned, the best approach is to check your owner’s manual. While some cars still need to have their oil changed every 3,000 miles, others can safely go as far as 10,000 miles between changes. Keep in mind that most manufacturers recommend a shorter interval between oil changes if you drive under ‘extreme conditions’ such as extremely high temperature, exceptionally dirty/dusty operating conditions, regularly towing a load, or frequent short trips in cold weather. If you’re concerned, err on the side of the extreme driving conditions. But there’s no need to blindly follow the 3,000 mile rule of thumb.