Once upon a time, it was even the recommendation of automobile manufacturers that an oil change in your vehicle was appropriate every 3,000 miles. The fact that this recommendation is still alive and well is a testament that new car owners are not reading their owner’s manual.

Oil Change Enduring Myths

There are other old school service requirements regarding oil changes that need to be reviewed because, frankly, we are spending more than we need to spend in the maintenance of our new cars. As has always been recommended, read your owner’s manual! It is astonishing that the typical second-largest investment we make, the automobile, is approached with such carelessness. Let’s hit just a few old-school enduring myths that have changed with technology.

Change your engine oil every 3,000 miles. This was true years ago, but no longer. Technology advances in both engines and its lubricating oil have more than doubled this figure. It varies by manufacturer, but the average recommendation is now about 7,200 miles between oil changes. Read the owner’s manual!

Perform an oil change when the oil is black. If you were really diligent about this recommendation (which was never a manufacturer’s recommendation, and who should know better?), you would have changed your oil before 3,000 miles. Oil is supposed to turn black. It is evidence that it is doing its job. Color always was and will always be a poor indicator of the necessity of change. Use the indicator that is most easily monitored: your odometer; then your dip stick.

If you are taking a long trip in the car, change your oil before leaving. This only has merit if you will surpass the recommended mileage since your last oil change during your trip. It is a good idea to verify a number of operating systems before a long trip: the tires, wipers, coolant, etc, but there is no need to change the oil just because it will be a long trip. Let the oil continue to do its job. Worse case, if you drive further than anticipated and you do exceed the recommended mileage, change the oil during your trip; it implies a thirty-minute delay and you are on your way.

The oil put in by the manufacturer is break-in oil and it needs to be changed sooner than the regular schedule. It is? It is not if the manufacturer does not stipulate that condition; why impose it on them and yourself? Change your oil on their recommended schedule, not by the recommendation of an after-market oil provider. They sell oil. They’re happy to sell it to you even if it is not needed.

It is true that new engines may break-in with removal of engine part filings and it is claimed that these will do damage to the engine. Your car also has an oil filter. The filings that are large enough to potentially cause damage will be removed by the filter; you do not need to change the oil within your first 3,000 miles.

By applying common sense and following manufacturers’ maintenance recommendations will keep your oil changes to a regular schedule for your needs and budget and no one else’s.