How Often Do I Really Need to Change the Oil in My Car?

My owner’s manual says I only need to have the oil changed in my car every 7,500 miles. Your shop still recommends doing it every 3,000 miles. Why is that?

 
A Cheap Insurance Policy

Let’s first start by saying that, at Juanita Firs 76, we see an oil change as much more than just draining the oil, replacing the filter, filling it back up, and sending you out the door. We believe in taking care of our customers, and part of that is letting them know the full story on their car. That’s why, with every oil change, we always provide a full vehicle inspection free of charge.

With that in mind, we see an oil change as a great insurance policy – it’s like taking your car into the doctor for a checkup every 3 months. It’s a great way for you to keep tabs on where your car is at, and minimize expensive surprises down the road.

The automotive industry has done a great job at innovating new, longer-lasting oils, and there is no doubt that oils can hold up much longer than they used to. So, while your oil may hold up for 7,500 miles, just remember that a lot of other things can happen in 7,500 miles.

An Unfortunate Example…

We had a customer not too long ago that had a fairly new luxury car that was designed to have the oil changed every 7,500 miles. The car was towed into our shop because it had quit running. We had never worked on the car before, and when we evaluated it, we found that the engine oil was extremely low, and that the engine had seized (meaning that this customer would have to have the engine rebuilt – a very costly repair).

This car had only 80,000 miles on it. When we told the customer the situation, they were surprised that it could have run out of oil, because they had it changed religiously every 7,500 miles, just as the manufacturer recommended. Clearly, this car had an issue with either leaking or burning oil that the customer was unaware of. The cause of this issue may have been identified earlier if the customer had had their oil changed more frequently.

 
Have a question for Dan? Send it to askdan@gascan.com

Dan Amundsen is a Master ASE Certified Technician, with over 40 years of automotive repair experience. He has been the owner of Juanita Firs 76 since 1978. He runs a true family business with his two children, three nieces, and many just-like-family employees that have been with the company for over 15 years.

 

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