RSS Feeds

Do you really need to change your oil every 3,000 miles?

Tuesday - 6/14/2011, 8:00am  ET

Jiffy Lube and others change oil change policies

WTOP's Evan Haning reports.


Evan Haning,

WASHINGTON - If you still change your oil every three months or 3,000 miles, it may be time to change your habits.

If your car was made in this century, it is probably safe to go 7,500 to 10,000 miles between oil changes, according to's consumer advisers.

Edmunds estimates the average car's need for an oil change at around 7,800 miles, and its experts say that some cars can safely go 20,000 miles without an oil change.

Changes in fuel quality, improvements in engine manufacturing and extended-life lubricants have made the 3,000-mile rule obsolete, which makes frequent oil changes wasteful, experts say.

The state of California went so far as to launch an advertising campaign against frequent oil changes. Billboards, radio ads and a website hammered away at the "3,000 Mile Myth."

To see whether you should wait longer between oil changes, find your owner's manual online and check the specifications for your car, then talk with a trusted mechanic.

One word of caution: There can be an advantage to the three-month, 3,000-mile rule. Keeping to a regular service schedule can help your mechanic locate other problems before they become severe.

If what's under the hood is a complete mystery to you, and you don't know how to check your car's basics yourself, an oil change every three months may be well worth the cost.

Follow Evan and WTOP on Twitter.

(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)