Anyone who grew up with a mechanically-minded father – or mother – is likely to remember the 3,000-mile oil change. As regular as clockwork, when the next 3,000 miles rolled around, it was time to throw the car up on blocks, haul out some stained jeans and a wrench, and spend an afternoon cleaning out the car’s engine.
That conventional wisdom, though, seems to have expired – with new cars and new oil, reports the New York Times, it’s better to keep the oil in the car for an average of 7,500 to 10,000 miles.
The difference, say sources like Edmunds.com and the California Integrated Waste Management Board, is that modern engines and oil chemistry simply last longer on a single helping of oil. The lubricant no longer breaks down and the engines run cleaner, producing less particulate matter and keeping more dirt out.
Philip Reed, the senior consumer advice editor for Edmunds.com, says that there’s "tension" in the industry over the oil issue. "It feels good to get an oil change. If you fill up the car with gas, wash it and change the oil, it runs better," he told the Times. "Of course, it doesn’t. But it’s the perception."
So you can save yourself some money and time – and be kinder to the environment – by just driving right through your next 3,000-mile change – and the one after that.