A new California state campaign says that If you drive a new car, you can change your oil less frequently than every 3,000 miles, despite what it says on the plastic sticker in the upper corner of your windshield. [SFGate]


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  1. n8srq says:

    In general, this is true. Just be sure to use a good quality oil.

  2. SOhp101 says:

    @n8srq: Even if you use the cheapest dino oil out there with a fram filter, you can still get the minimum recommended mileage. People just need to open up that scheduled maintenance booklet that comes with their cars.

  3. Rando says:


  4. cwlodarczyk says:

    But if we don’t change our oil every 3k miles those quick lube places will have to make even MORE unneeded repairs to make their money – I don’t think it’s fair to make them do all that extra work!

    (fyi – under normal highway drivng conditions oil changes done between 5k and 10k miles are ok)

  5. MDSasquatch says:

    I drive a 2007 Chevy and it comes standard with a computer that monitors oil life; I get an e-mail from OnStar when it is time for a change. Taking my driving style, weather and who knows what other algorithms into account, I change my oil about every 12000 miles and it doesn’t affect the warranty at all.

  6. jaydez says:

    Ford no recommends 7500 Miles on all 2007 and newer vehicles. Mine is an 06. I use Mobiel 1 and change it every 7500-10,000 and the oil comes out looking brand new.

  7. jaydez says:

    edit: Ford NOW recommends.

  8. Rando says:

    After 3,000 my oil looks like shit.

  9. MDSasquatch says:

    If your oil looks like s#$t after 3000 miles, you might want to consider a tune up or a new car. Oil is supposed to turn black as it does its job, but sounds like your engine is less than efficient.

  10. Sherryness says:

    I’ve always had mine changed right at 5K – never had a problem. Unsually don’t keep cars more that 4 or 5 years, though.

  11. Sherryness says:

    Oh, and I don’t always buy new cars – even on the used cars, every 5k seems to work fine.

  12. ptkdude says:

    My 2000 Altima manual says 3,750 miles, which is what I’ve been following, along with a tire rotation every other oil change (that’s an easy way to remember it).

  13. Walrii says:

    Does anyone find it ironic that the article tells us to take advance from a website called http://www.3000milemyth.org? Can you say fair and unbiased?

    (Yes, maybe they get their numbers directly from the car manufacturers but even so, it seems like it would be equivalent to taking medical advice from a site called “doctorsarebad.com”)

  14. Underpants Gnome says:

    I’ve heard the engine manufacturers say 5000 or more, and the oil manufacturers always say 3000.
    Unfortunately, the engine manufacturers have a vested interest in having your engine gradually wear out and fail so you buy a new car instead of driving the same one for 300k+ miles, and the oil guys want to keep selling you oil more often than you really need.

    I don’t really know who to trust, but I go with the service manual’s recommendations.

  15. The Porkchop Express says:

    I hope they’ll cover warranty issues since most warranties say you have to change the oil at 3,000.

  16. 8abhive says:

    About time.

    What car/engine/miles/condition/driving pattern?
    1) 3000 mile changes with modern oils in a good engine does nothing but prop up the lube shops.
    2) Looks aren’t a great indicator of oil condition.
    3) If it’s truly going bad quickly, how do you know it’s working for the first 1000? Replacing the oil early can be a bandaid but find the real cause. If your engine is angry 3000 may be too long.

  17. The Porkchop Express says:

    @Lo-Pan: at least mine does, but i don’t pay for the oil change directly (extended warranty with oil changes covered)

  18. @MDSasquatch: E-mail’s nice. After 3500 miles (I think), our 2003 Ford Windstar’s status screen defaults to telling you to change the oil, until you reset the counter. Very annoying.

  19. matto says:

    What is California going to do when the dealership says that I have now broken the terms of my warranty by missing the scheduled service intervals?

    Oh, right. They have no accountability for that. Typical bullshit from a CA beaurocrat.

  20. redhelix says:

    Man, my oil comes out in cube form after 3,000 miles.

    (98 ford explorer, ’nuff said.)

  21. Zimorodok says:

    I drive a 2007 Camry. For the first year whenever I brought it in to the dealership for an oil change, they’d add 3,000 miles to the sticker on the windshield. After about 18 months they’ve started adding 5,000 instead.

  22. Buran says:

    As others have said, follow the manufacturer’s recommendation. For VWs, the interval is 5,000 miles for the first two changes (change at 5K and 10K) and 10K thereafter. However, you should monitor the oil level by dipstick whenever you fill up and add oil that meets the recommended spec if the level is low.

    Of course oil change places are going to tell you to do it more often — they want your money. Use your head instead.

  23. samurailynn says:

    When I bought my slightly used 2005 Corolla, the dealership said to change it every 5000 miles or 6 months.

  24. Techguy1138 says:

    Not true here in Los Angeles.
    Here it is hot,dusty, and gridlocked with frequent short trips.

    I’d bet 2k is a safer number to keep your engine running to 300k.

  25. soloudinhere says:

    I do my 2006 Scion every 5,000 miles. The manual suggests every 8,000, but I work it pretty hard so I change more frequently. I think the dealer recommended every 6,500 miles.

  26. My ’07 Hyundai’s Owner’s Manual says to change the oil every 7,500 miles and so does the Hyundai web site, so I’m always annoyed when I get the oil changed–at the Hyundai dealer–the sticker always says 3,000 miles in the future, not 7,500. It’s so transparent that they’re just trying–and no doubt succeeding–to wring unnecessary services from customers who just assume 3,000 is the magic number just like it was 30 years ago.

    Usually I get it changed around 6,000 miles, though.

  27. chiieddy says:

    It depends on your vehicle. My 2003 RSX Type S required a change every 5000 miles. My 2008 Subaru Outback requires it every 3500 miles. Check your owner’s manual and service guide for what your car requires, not the sticker Jiffy Lube sticks on your car.

  28. spinfire says:

    If you’re nervous about using a change interval longer than 3000 miles, spring for the occasional oil analysis from a place such as Blackstone Labs ([www.blackstone-labs.com]). It’ll give you information about the running condition of your engine, air filter, oil filter, oil choice, and more. And it’ll tell you if you are changing the oil too early, late, etc. They’ll send you a little sample jar and you mail it to them and get a report and personal analysis back.

    I change every 5000-6000 miles with Castrol GTX 5w-30 in my 1992 Honda. Analysis confirms I’d be wasting money and polluting the environment if I changed it earlier.

  29. Mr. Gunn says:

    Do whatever keeps your vehicle under warranty. The warranty service providers are the only ones without an interest in something breaking down.

  30. MercuryPDX says:

    I have heard Regular is good for 3k-5K, and Synthetic is good for 6K-10K.

  31. Ragman says:

    Using blend has a 7500mi recommendation. Full synthetic is good for 15k, if not more. I put about 11k a year on mine, so once a year I change out full synth.

    I read that Amsoil’s full synth had a 25k mi life when it first came out, but that could be marketing bull.

  32. kc2idf says:

    If you read the manual that comes with your car, you will get a manufacturer’s recommendation, typically 7500 miles under normal conditions, and usually about half of that under “harsh” or “extreme” conditions.

    Extreme conditions include:
    1. very cold or moist environments
    2. frequent short trips.

    Now, you also have to consider the interests involved in both parts. The oil change places are interested in selling more oil changes. The car makers are interested in selling more cars. As such, I would expect that the truth probably lies somewhere between the two recommendations.

    My daily commute is 20 miles each way. I change my oil between 4000 and 6000 miles. I changed it more frequently back when I had a 6-mile commute, and less frequently when my job entailed constant lengthy road trips (50-300 miles each way). I change it a little more frequently in the winter than in the summer, within that 2000-mile window.

  33. snoop-blog says:

    if you buy a service contract, or get a warrantee with you vehicle, you should change your oil accordingly to that. otherwise, they could void your warrantee/service contract.

  34. snoop-blog says:

    i took 3 years of shop, and now i sell cars and i’d advise every 3000 city miles, and every 9000 highway miles. for more than one reason. one reason is the overall general inspection of your car that usually comes with an oil change. changing the oil is the cheapest, and best maintenence you can do for you car so try not to short cut it.

  35. snoop-blog says:

    oh and btw, KEEP YOU RECEIPTS FOR ALL MECHANICAL WORK! yes even oil changes.

  36. coaster.n3rd says:

    Most new GM vehicles comes with an Oil Life monitor. My vehicles have gone upwards of 9,000 miles before the indicator recommends an Oil Change.

    This is good for the environment and easy on the consumers wallet. Yet some service centers still push 3,000 mile intervals.

  37. BrentNewland says:

    For reference: I believe that the sequence to disable the “Change oil” lights on most vehicles for an additional 3k miles is:

    1)Ignition to On Position (car off)
    2)Gas pedal all the way to the floor and back up three times
    3)Ignition to Off position

  38. theblackdog says:

    I’m going to check my owners manual to see what it says, but considering that the car is about 12 years old, it might be better to change it more frequently than others (97 Hyundai Elantra).

    Perhaps that, along with following other service recommendations is why the only major work I have had to have done to it in the last two years has been a clutch replacement (first one since the car was made!)

  39. drharris says:

    While it is true that most modern oils and engines can increase the life to at least twice the recommended value, there are other reasons it’s good to get the car serviced every 3000 miles. That is a good interval for having them check the state of all your fluids, brakes, tires, etc. I’ve had several potential catastrophes averted by smaller things noticed when I got my oil changed. Granted, if you are car-savvy and can check these things yourself monthly or quarterly, then by all means use 6k mile intervals. But for those of us who don’t have the time, or aren’t mechanically savvy, $29 is a small price to pay quarterly to keep big-ticket problems from breaking the bank later.