Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Crossing it off the list

The other day, I wrote "get oil change" on my white board (aka my on-going list). My husband saw the note to myself and said he'd just read an article saying that the "3000 mile rule" (which I've really tried to adhere to) no longer applies. I was glad to read the facts in that article and learn that "it’s been a misconception for years that engine oil should be changed every 3,000 miles, even though most auto manufacturers now recommend oil changes at 5,000, 7,000, or even 10,000 mile intervals under normal driving conditions. Greatly improved oils, including synthetic oils, coupled with better engines mean longer spans between oil changes without harming an engine."

I was more convinced to postpone an oil change when I read that "Used motor oil poses the greatest environmental risk of all automotive fluids because it is insoluble, persistent, and contains heavy metal and toxic chemicals. One gallon of used oil can foul the taste of one million gallons of water." Yikes!

I want to take good care of my car, but I also want to save money, time, and environmental impact. Therefore, I'm crossing that item off my list for a few more months.

Note: I wanted to confirm this by checking the site of my car manufacturer (Shout out for Saturns! Any other Saturn owners out there?) but was unable to find anything there. Can anyone confirm/deny this new research and recommendation?


Angela - Life w/ One Busy Boy said...

I don't have time to go check my manual right now, but I do remember it specifically saying oil changes every 7,000 miles as opposed to the 3,000. I usually change mine somewhere around 6,000 just to be safe and have had no problem at all.

mom said...

I had not heard of this and checked on Subaru recommendations. For later model (newer than 2006), they recommend 3,750 miles -- but for older models like mine, they are still recommending 3,000. It's good to be aware of this and I'll continue to watch for info. Thanks for sharing! Love, Mom

thehomespunheart said...

Carrie -

Here's what I've tried to do with our Saturn and now with our new car. I rely on the change oil light on the car - in both my Saturn and current vehicle, it took way more than 3K to click the light on. Our car now measures oil life and warns us when we reach 5% left. While I am no professional - I figure that the ones who built our cars are and if they program the car to last more than 3K that should be sufficient.

Just my thoughts -


Sarah B. B. said...

I've had the same problem finding a definitive answer for our Saturn, but I take it at least to 5,000 (and - gulp - sometimes more) with no problems. Also, we tend to hear a clicky sound when the oil gets low, which means "take me in NOW!"

Katie said...

I don't have a Saturn ~ but someone mentioned this same thing to my husband (who does the oil changes for our Hyundai himself). The fellow mentioned that every 3000 miles is not required and it was more in the range you suggested in the post. But I have no idea where he received or came up with that information! We've still been trying to do it mostly 3000 miles, but usually when we get around to it ~ it's quite a bit overdue, acccording to that rule. I will be interested to hear more comments on this!

Ewokgirl said...

The new 5000-7000 rule has been around a while. I don't know anything about Saturns, but if your owner's manual doesn't tell you how often to change the oil, then you could call Saturn or see if CarTalk.com has an answer.

Keep in mind that just regularly checking your oil dipstick can tell you a few things, like if the oil is low or becoming discolored.

Personally, I'm obsessive about maintenance of my cars. I only use Mobil 1 oil in my cars, and if the mechanic forgets to use my own oil, I make him redo it. (That's only happened once.) I go about 5000 miles between oil changes. I also take the cars in at the first sign of any troubles. Our mechanic recently complimented how well we've taken care of our Civic, which I've had for 12 years now.

Anonymous said...

Car manuals that say 3000 miles also mention that it is best to take it to the manufacturer for an oil change. In my opinion, though it really doesn't need to happen every 3000 miles, some car manuals may still say that as it is an easy way for car companies to make more money by doing more frequent oil changes. In my Honda's, even those in the early 90's, I usually changed oil every 5000-7000 miles, and never had a problem.