The 3 month 3000 mile oil change rule has been around forever. Many service shops still adhere to it, and use it as the standard when putting that reminder sticker on your windshield. Getting your oil changed can cost between $35 and $100, as well as eat up valuable time out of your day. You could save yourself time and money if you could safely change your oil less often. The good news is that today’s cars and engine oil are designed to last longer. But just how many miles can you go over on your oil change?
Where Did The 3 Month or 3000 Mile Rule Come From?
In older cars, the carburetor would overfuel the engine resulting in unburned fuel leaking into the oil pan. After 3 months or 3000 miles either the oil would be saturated with fuel or the mechanical wear of the engine had reduced the ability of the oil to properly lubricate the engine.
Why Can Today’s Cars Go Longer Between Oil Changes?
Today’s cars have fuel injection systems that reduce the amount of wasted fuel. Also, as engines got smaller the viscosity, or thickness, of the oil could be decreased. These changes in engine design resulted in engine oil lasting longer than the old 3 month or 3000 mile rule.
How Many Miles Can You Go Over On Your Oil Change?
The first thing a car owner should do is check the owner’s manual. The car manufacturer knows the engine design intimately, have done rigorous testing on the engine, and have a good idea as to the approximate lifespan of engine oil. Many of today’s newer cars can go 6000 miles or more between oil changes.
Is Synthetic Oil Worth it?
Synthetic oil is more expensive than conventional motor oil. For example, with conventional oil my bill will be around $40. If I choose synthetic oil, it will be about $100. The good news is that I can go much further with synthetic oil, usually about 10,000 miles.
How Accurate Is The Oil Change Needed Light?
The light on the dashboard is supposed to alert you to when your oil should be changed. Web searches suggest that information is pulled from various electronic systems in the vehicle to calculate when the light should go on. The guy at my oil lube place said that it is simply based on revolutions of the engine. The bottom line is, it is an approximation, and not necessarily a true indicator of when your oil is ready to be swapped out.
How Often Should You Check Your Oil?
Another indicator as to whether you need an oil change is to check your oil frequently. A good habit is to check your oil each time you fill up your engine. That might be overkill, but it can be done in seconds while your filling up. New, clean oil will be amber colored almost appearing clear on your dipstick. As oil gets dirty it will turn darker.
When Should I Change My Oil?
Use the mileage in your owner’s manual as a base. If the oil gets dirty before you hit that number, you might think about changing your oil early. This will usually only happen when you experience extreme driving conditions. Once you hit the number in your owner’s manual, or if your change oil light comes on in the vehicle, make sure you check your oil often. If it doesn’t look dirty, you might be able to hold off for awhile. Your driving habits and driving conditions are major factors in how many miles you can go over on your oil change.
The old 3 month 3000 mile oil change rule is outdated. It may be easy to follow, but today’s engines and engine oil are designed to last much longer than that. By following the information in this article you can go longer between oil changes saving yourself the hassle of getting the service done, and some money.
How about you, Clever Friends, how long do you typically go between oil changes?
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