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Categorized | Auto Life

Are 3,000 mile oil changes really necessary?

(ARA) – For years, drivers have been hearing about changing their motor oil every 3,000 miles, but times have changed, and the 3,000-mile mantra may or may not apply to you and your car.

The 3,000-mile oil change is a conservative approach to maintaining your vehicle that, according to General Motors, dates back to 1968. It’s also an oil change interval that continues to be encouraged by the automotive oil change industry.

Automobile manufacturers cite modern oil and engine technology as the reason why oil change intervals can be extended. Numerous factors come in to play in determining the oil change interval you should follow including: The car you drive and the way you drive it, oil and filter selection and whether your vehicle has an oil life monitoring system.

Every automobile manufacturer establishes recommended oil change intervals for each model they manufacture. Oil change intervals are now between 5,000 and 7,500 miles for many new cars.

You should follow your car manufacturer’s recommendations on oil change intervals while the car is under warranty. If your car is no longer under warranty, you can extend your oil change intervals by upgrading to synthetic motor oil. This will reduce the number of oil changes saving you time and money, and reducing the amount of oil purchased and disposed.

There are a number of quality synthetic motor oils available to choose from. Most lubricant manufacturers will give a recommended number of miles you can drive between oil changes under normal conditions. The number of miles you can allow between oil changes will depend on the way you drive and the oxidation stability (useful oil life) of the motor oil.

Oxidation stability can be measured by international standards board ASTM’s rigorous Thin Film Oxidation Uptake Test (TFOUT). The test is so severe that it lasts 1,300 minutes. Conventional motor oils typically last less than 300 minutes. Synthetic motor oils typically last less than 500 minutes. One high performance synthetic motor oil, Royal Purple has been shown to outlast the duration of the test. Royal Purple motor oils are recommended to extend oil changes intervals to as much as 12,000 miles under normal driving conditions. The motor oil has also been shown to improve fuel economy. You can find out more at www.royalpurple.com.

If you elect to upgrade your motor oil, you should also upgrade your oil filter. Low quality filters are often made with the 3,000-mile interval in mind and may go into bypass mode shortly thereafter. There are a number of premium oil filters on the market from manufacturers such as Wix, Purolator and Royal Purple. Check the recommended filter change interval on any filter your purchase.

A fairly new technology impacting oil change intervals is the oil life monitor. Many people are unaware that oil life monitor systems are simply computer software algorithms that determine when to change oil based on engine operating conditions. An oil life monitor looks at mileage, speed and idling time to calculate when you should change the oil. A better name for the oil life monitor might be oil life predictor.

There is no actual oil condition sensor or a chemical analysis of the oil. In fact, you could drain the oil and replace it with any fluid and the oil change monitor would have no way of knowing it. Additionally, the oil life monitor does not monitor how well your oil filter is filtering the oil in your system. Contaminated oil is just as, if not more harmful than oxidized motor oil. The bottom line is that an oil life monitor is a useful tool that should be used in concert with common sense and good judgment.

Whether or not you have an oil change monitor, if your car is still under warranty, stick with the car manufacturer’s recommended oil change intervals. If your car is no longer under warranty, you can go beyond the typical 3,000-mile oil change or beyond the oil change monitor’s recommendations by upgrading to a high performance synthetic motor oil and high performance oil filter.

Courtesy of ARA Content

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One Response to “Are 3,000 mile oil changes really necessary?”

  1. What a gem. It’s too bad more people don’t know about this site, this had everything I needed to know!!!

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