Driving Today

Changing Oil Too Often?

The Check Your Number campaign challenges 3,000-mile oil-change habit.

Many auto experts will tell you that you should change your car’s oil every 3,000 miles. But are they giving you the right advice, or are they just feeding you an old wives’ tale? Now an influential California state agency, the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle), is calling into question the 3,000-mile change. It has recently instituted the Check Your Number campaign to encourage drivers to rethink their current habits and only change motor oil as needed.

“With significant advances in auto technology, it’s important for drivers to understand that changing motor oil every 3,000 miles is an old default that may not be relevant for their vehicle,” says CalRecycle Director Caroll Mortensen. “Frequent oil changes do not necessarily mean better performance or longer engine life. By following the manufacturer’s recommendations, you will not only do right by your ride, but you’ll also benefit the environment by using fewer resources.”

A recent survey conducted by the agency indicated that almost 15 million Californians change their motor oil every 3,000 miles or fewer. However, many cars can go farther without an oil change while experiencing no problems. For example, Toyota recommends an oil change every 5,000 miles for a 2005 Tacoma pickup, while General Motors recommends a change after each 7,500 miles for its 2007 Chevrolet Malibu.

Reduced motor oil consumption reduces the risk of environmental damage, and changing motor oil according to manufacturer specifications would reduce motor oil demand in California by approximately 10 million gallons per year. Motorists can take the first step by checking their owner’s manual or by visiting CheckYourNumber.org to find recommended oil-change intervals for popular vehicle models.



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