Most of us can relate to an oil change interval of every 3,000 to 5,000 miles right? After all, that’s what your Grandad and Dad taught you right? Well……not anymore!! In fact, if anyone is telling you a 3,000 mile interval oil change is necessary, they are simply profiting from it. Environmentalists have claimed changing oil every 3,000 to 5,000 miles only adds to the excessive amounts of oil that must be recycled or disposed of. In fact, California is doing its best to discourage such frequent oil changes. Modern day engines, designs and oil give us the luxury of longer intervals which has a direct impact on your wallet and the environment.
When Should You Change Your Oil?
First of all, during the warranty period and beyond you should always follow the manufacturers recommendation on intervals, viscosity of oil and whether you use conventional, a blend of conventional and synthetic (semisynthetic) or full synthetic oil. We will get into types of oils and viscosity at a later time.
In modern day vehicles, oil change intervals can vary from one manufacturer to another. A typical interval is every 7,500 miles or 3 months which ever comes first. However, there are several manufacturers that recommend an oil change interval of 10,000 miles and up to one year between and some can go up to 15,000 miles between oil changes (using full synthetic oil). Most all modern vehicles are equipped with maintenance features that alert you when it is time to change the oil or for any other required maintenance by the manufacturer. In your manufacturers owners manual you will find this information and what to look for in the maintenance schedule section.
Typically a manufacturer will offer a recommendation to change your oil more frequently depending on your driving conditions. Some examples would be a frequent towing environment, extreme hot or cold climate, driving habits such as short frequent stop and go traffic or sever driving conditions in general. In those instances you should consider changing your oil every 7,500 miles.
Can I Change My Own Oil?
Sure you can…but why would you want to?? For those that insist on being hands on with the maintenance of your vehicle, you should consider a few things before getting into this. you are changing your oil yourself, make sure you are aware of the correct oil filter to use and only use the manufacturers recommended oil confirming the viscosity, type of oil and required standard whether conventional or synthetic and keep all of your records and receipts especially during the warranty period.
There are many aftermarket oil filters available that are completely ok to use, however be sure its design is up for the task and its size is a direct fit and it is sealing properly otherwise you could cause severe engine damage. When in doubt, the manufacturers oil filter will be available to purchase from your local dealership. Also consider where you would be performing your own oil change as safety is of the highest concern. Face it, this cannot be performed without crawling under the vehicle in order to drain the oil. From an environmental standpoint, you have multiple guidelines to follow or else you could be slapped with a fine whether its your HOA or local government. Oil must be contained and disposed of properly.
Most auto parts stores will have a used oil drop off program at no cost to you or check with local government for waste oil drop off locations. You can purchase an oil drain catch reservoir for proper disposal at any store offering auto parts and accessories at a reasonable cost. This will limit a spill and contain the oil until its proper disposal. If you consider all of the time and costs involved with containing and disposal of the oil and not having to crawl under your vehicle, choosing to go back to the dealership or an oil change specialist is the best option. In most cases the cost is the same or very similar to have your oil changed versus changing it yourself and most shops will offer free complimentary multipoint inspections that are very important.
So, instead of you changing your oil this Saturday, let a specialist do it and go get in a game of golf !!