Oil is the life’s blood of a combustion engine, keeping moving parts in the best condition possible so it can operate at maximum potential. It flows throughout the engine, diminishing wear, cleaning, avoiding corrosion, sealing, and moving heat away from friction zones. There are various grades and uses of oil, such as those used for small engine, everyday, race car, and boat engine oils. The most common, of course, is the oil used every day in cars.
There are several schools of thought on how often an owner should change their car’s motor oil to achieve highest performance. There are long-standing traditional choices, car manufacturer recommendations, and other options based on years of expert research.
The most common belief is that changing a car’s oil every 3,000 miles is the best way to make an engine last. Many car experts say this schedule is a relic, passed down from owners’ care of much earlier cars. The main proponent of continuing this habit are owners who either owned, or were taught the care of car models with the first oil filters that required this as their maximum changing time, and oil and oil changing companies who push this myth to keep making money. This not only costs owners unnecessary time and resources, but disposal of the extra oil is harmful to the environment.
Oil change interval recommendations by car manufacturers vary by the brand and what kind of engine the model has. For example, Toyota recommends that its models that require a 0w-20 synthetic oil can go up to 10,000 miles without a change, as long as the level is checked regularly and “topped off” if needed. Otherwise, Toyota recommends that other engines have a change every 5,000 miles. Ford, on the other hand, gives its recommendations by model year: for “2008 and newer, vehicles, every 7,500 miles or every six months, whichever comes first,” and “2007 and older model-year vehicles, every 5,000 miles.”
Experts today report that with the newest, most advanced oil chemistry and the design of late model, high performance engines, the old 3,000 and even 5,000 mile recommended change regimens are moot. “A better average would be 7,500 between oil changes, and sometimes up to 10,000 miles or more,” even 15,000 in some specialized engines. Owners should check the make and model with their car not only with the dealer they bought it from, but a trusted mechanic or online community of owners for the best regimen to ensure the best performance for years to come while avoiding waste.