With the advancement in oil technology over the last few decades, the old adage of “change your oil every 3000 miles” has begun to fade. Advanced synthetics and better filter media have come a long way to increase the miles between oil changes. The industry is now pushing oil change intervals of 5,000 up to 15,000 miles. So what are you to do?

To answer this first we need to know what kind of oil your car takes, is it synthetic or not? As a rule of thumb if the oil is NOT synthetic it should be changed every 5,000 miles, or once a year, to best maintain your engine and prevent damage. Oil level should regularly be checked to ensure your engine is always filled with the proper amount of oil. Refer to the owners manual for tips on how to check the level on your particular vehicle or stop by and let us check it for you.

If your vehicle takes synthetic oil things can tend to get a bit confusing. Depending on the manufacturer and year of your vehicle, your specific oil change interval can be anywhere from 7,000 miles to 15,000 miles! Manufacturers have been increasing the time and mileage between oil changes for a few reasons, and none of them are for the benefit of your vehicles engine. I say again, increases in time between oil change intervals on your vehicle do not benefit your engine. Then why? There are many differing opinions on why, but the two biggest ones would be:

  • Lower cost of ownership
  • Convenience

Cost of ownership is a useful buyers guide when comparing one vehicle to the next. It is an expected financial commitment to maintain and own and allows the buyer to know what to expect. It has traditionally been known that luxury cars come with a higher cost of ownership. In an effort to be more competitive, oil change intervals have been extended to lower this cost over time.

Convenience is pretty self explanatory. The average mileage driven in the United States is currently around 12,000. Most states in the United States require an inspection of some type and is usually performed on an annual basis. Pairing together an annual inspection and oil change means less trips to the repair shop. Another plus when making a sale on a vehicle.

Advancements in oil technology and oil filter media have both worked together to allow this transition. However with that increase in mileage in between services means an increase of risk. We caution our customers to never follow these guidelines if they plan on owning the vehicle after the warranty period ends. Engines today, while technologically advanced, still operate on the same 4 stoke engine cycle. They still burn fuel and as a result have byproducts that need to be removed. While oils have improved and filter too, the excess in combustion byproducts coupled with relative poor fuel quality can lead to less than happy scenario inside your vehicles engine. The negative effects of increased oil change intervals do not show their face at first. However we routinely see vehicles that have followed a 10,000 mile or more interval begin to:

Consume oil at a much faster rate

  • Increased carbon build up inside the engine
  • Poor fuel economy
  • Misfire conditions
  • Engine wear, including timing chain
  • Even engine failure

As a result, we recommend you change your synthetic oil every 7,500 miles. By doing so you will have a vehicle that will last much longer and provide years of enjoyment. Another big advantage is having a trained mechanic look at the car more often. Just because your vehicle seems to be trouble free does not mean that their is not a problem looming that could be repaired today for a small cost vs. tomorrow. Feel free to call our knowledgeable staff for more information about your particular application and vehicles need.

Chris Sharpless
Garttmeyer Automotive