State program hopes to educate on oil changes

FRESNO, Calif.

A new state program wants to educate drivers as to when an oil change is really needed.

The new campaign, called "check your number", is urging people to hold off on unnecessary oil changes every three thousand miles.

Their online tool can help people determine when their cars actually need service.

Some cars with manufacturer settings can go five, seven, or even 15 thousand miles before it needs an oil change.

State and local officials say holding off longer can save up to ten million gallons of motor oil a year.

"Really what it means is the more we don't use a product the more we end up saving that getting into the stream," Fresno solid waste manager Jerry Schuber said.

The City of Fresno is one of the most aggressive cities in the state when it comes to recycling, providing curbside pick up of used motor oil and filters.

However, those who make their living changing oil and fixing cars believe you're taking a risk by going past three thousand miles.

Rusty Rassmussen is a local mechanic with more than 25 years of experience.

He says people need to check their oil routinely regardless of how long they have until their next oil change mark.

"And the danger of letting an oil change go really long and not monitoring it is that as the oil starts to break down and absorb some of the fuels. Than it can be consumed internally and that just kind of invisibly disappears," Rassmussen said.

That means any potential savings could be offset by other problems to the engine.

Rassmussen says another key to keeping your car running in tip top shape is to use a high quality oil filter and change it every time your change your oil.

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