Think Twice Before Having Your Oil Changed

August 19th, 2014 by

Oil Change Misconceptions

I’m not suggesting that oil changes are not essential to properly maintaining a  vehicle, but I am saying there may be some misconceptions over when an oil change is necessary. An industry standard is looked to by almost the entire driving population, your car needs an oil change every 3,000 miles, right? This automotive law has been passed down for generations. While it may have been true for previous generations, is grossly inappropriate with today’s technology. It is a misconception that has been furthered by the service industry to increase business and has resulted in a lot of wasted money and a huge amount more waste oil than was at all necessary.

Why Oil Change Intervals Have Changed

Innovations in both the sustainability of engines and of motor oil have completely changed the required intervals of oil changes. It’s difficult to imagine that there ever could be the exact same  hard maintenance rule for every different vehicle type and model. Most manufacturers have adopted oil life monitoring systems which analyze the oil in you engine and calculate when you need to change it. We actually turn away customers that come in for an oil change without an alert from the system. Oil is innately hazardous to the environment and should not be disposed of until necessary.

If your vehicle doesn’t feature  an oil life monitoring system, check you owners manual. Every vehicle will have a manufacturer recommended oil change interval , which will be much more applicable to your vehicle than a generic 3,000 mile rule. Not only will you help your environment by only changing your oil when necessary but your wallet will thank you. Win-win right? One estimate, calculated from an experiment on the oil requirements of a 2007 Honda Fit, found that over a 5 years period they would save $1,847 and 125 quarts of oil from being disposed of when comparing the  3,000 mile recommendation with the manufacturer guidelines.

For those who are leery of breaking away from their 3,000 mile routine, just know that there’s a reason manufacturers have moved toward an automated oil life monitoring system. The systems are in place because they work and automotive manufacturers realize the environmental impact that their industry is responsible for. This is a prime way for them to be responsible and limit their impact. They have proven that there is no benefit to your vehicle’s performance or efficiency by changing oil more frequently than recommended, so why not save some cash and delay your oil change until its actually necessary.

So next time you’re thinking about taking your vehicle in for an oil change, thumb through your owner’s manual and don’t blindly follow the recommended interval from your local quick service station on the sticker they put on your windshield.