Nobody wants to see their car on top of auto wreckers, and many people worry that skipping an oil change will end up permanently damaging their car.
One questions I get asked frequently is “how often do I REALLY need to change my oil?”. Many people who ask me that question think that 5000 miles is too often, while other people are worried that 5000 miles is not frequent enough!
In addition to this question, I’m often asked which oil is best, synthetic, synthetic high mileage, traditional, traditional synthetic blend, etc.. The questions and opinions are endless!
Today I’m here to tell you MY opinion among the millions of other opinions out there.
As an ASE Certified Master Tech I’ve seen my fair share of disasters. From the 90 year old woman who hasn’t changed the oil in her oldsmobile for the past 70,000 miles, to the 20 year old who just got a loan for a new WRX STI and insists on changing his oil every 200 miles, I’ve seen it all!
In the case of the old woman who drove 70,000 miles without an oil change, her engine was hanging onto life by a thread. We actually ended up rebuilding that engine, and the sludge caked into the block was a nightmare to remove. It took lots of scrubbing and hot-tanking to get rid of that massive mess.
The fact of the matter is really common sense. 70,000 miles is obviously far too long to go without an oil change, but how about 7,000 miles?
My recommendation is to change your oil every 3,000 miles and that’s based on both experience, and some simple math. When you think about it, the average new car costs about $30,000. An oil change at my local oil change spot costs $30 with a re-usable coupon (although I do it myself on my own cars).
If you change the oil on your brand new car every 3,000 miles, that ends up being about 33 oil changes per 100,000 miles. This means that by 100,000 miles you have spend about $990 on oil.
If you change the oil on your brand new car every 5,000 miles, that ends up being 20 oil changes per 100,000 miles. This means that by 100,000 miles you have spent about $600 on oil.
Ultimately, the cars I see that change their oil and keep up to date on their maintenance every 3,000 miles end up lasting years longer than those who change their oil every 5,000+ miles.
The question really becomes, is $300 worth keeping your brand new car in better shape and possibly avoiding issues in the future? In my mind the answer is a clear YES, so change that oil every 3,000 miles!