We have all heard the old saying. The adage we all grew up hearing is that “You HAVE to get the oil changed in your vehicle every 3,000 miles, or else!” While this is a common saying, is it true? And what happens if you do not? Is your car going to require more repairs down the line? Will your car be ruined? Will it explode?! Before diving into these questions we must first examine why you need to change your motor’s engine oil, to begin with.
Engines have many moving parts. In order to keep these parts moving, they need to be lubricated. Also, the moving parts rub up against each other creating friction that creates heat. Oil not only allows these metal parts to move but it also absorbs the heat from the friction. However, over time, the components in the oil start to lose their ability to lubricate as the oil breaks down. So the point of the oil change is to get the old oil out of the engine before it breaks down to the point that it is causing damage to the engine.
So the question then becomes, “How long does it take for the engine oil to break down?” While the old wise tale is, “Every 3,000 miles”, this is not really accurate. According to several studies, most folks are just fine getting their oil changed at 5,000 miles. Depending on the oil that’s used and whether it is synthetic, you may be okay to have an oil change every 10,000.
Less so than what oil you use, what seems to be the biggest factor in whether you need an oil change sooner or later than 5,000 miles, is how you drive and what you drive. If you drive an older vehicle, you may want to change the oil somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000 miles. Same goes to those of us out there with a lead foot. The harder you are on your vehicle, the more the oil is going to be prone to early breakdown. Remember, the oil not only lubricates but it is absorbing a tremendous amount of heat.
Changing your car’s engine oil is the second easiest thing you can do with your vehicle only behind filling up with gasoline. It is easy and for the most part and inexpensive. There are several “How to” videos online that give step by step instructions. Or if that’s too much for you to handle on your own, you can always go to your neighborhood mechanic and stop by for a quick tune-up.