You should change the oil in your car every 3,000 miles.
Don’t Believe That!
The idea that you need an oil change every 3,000 miles has been around for a long time, for one good reason – it used to be true. The 10W-40 oil in older car engines did become dirty and needed to be replaced every 3,000 miles. But, that is not the case for modern cars, which have improved engineering and use higher-quality lubricants.
Generally, the lower limit on cars produced in the past 15 years or so is 5,000 miles, with many manufacturers recommending 7,500 or even 10,000 (check your manual)! Synthetic oil costs more but lengthens this period even further. Oil changes may be required more often if you frequently drive your car in extreme conditions. Since 2010, most cars have a built-in system that monitors your mileage and driving characteristics and will alert you when you are due for an oil change.
This myth doesn’t just waste money but has an environmental impact, as well. A 2011 California study by CalRecycle, for example, said that half of all Californians changed their motor oil every 3,000 miles, utilizing 114 million gallons of oil per year. If motorists were to follow manufacturer recommendations, an estimated 10 million gallons of waste oil per year would be saved. And that’s just one state.
Bonus Fact: You can check your car’s recommended oil-change interval online at http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/UsedOil/OilChange/FindInterval/