Oil Change Myth?

February 12, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
For years, we've been told to change the oil in our cars every three-thousand miles to extend the life of your engine. But a state board says that's overkill, and could even be harmful to the environment.Hoping to make their cars last as long they can, many Californians change their oil at 3000 miles. But the California integrated waste management board is trying to break old habits by getting drivers to check their owner's manual. "Most cars these days under normal driving conditions aren't recommending that you change it every 3000 miles. Most auto manufacturers are looking at 5,000 ... 7,000 ... Even up to 10,000 to 15,000 miles between oil changes," said Jon Myers of the Integrated Waste Management Board.

The state agency launched a website de-bunking what they call the 3000-mile myth and started running radio ads statewide making their case.

The oil change industry is less than thrilled about the new campaign. It says while it's true many new cars don't require an oil change every 3,000 miles, the majority of owners have older vehicles, and newer cars may require more frequent oil changes because of driver habits. "Most of the smaller cars with front wheel drive are holding just four quarts of oil. So it's easy to be down. You have no reserve," said auto garage owner Jerry Aldren.

The state insists drivers can make up their own minds. It just wants people to be aware of the environmental and financial benefits of less oil changes if their vehicles can handle it. "I'm going to look at my manual, most definitely, to see if it's like every 10,000 miles. I'll save a lot of money," said car owner Bruce Pressler.


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