# California Website suggesting new car oil change mileage

1. Jan 7, 2012

### Pengwuino

So one of these noobsicles on facebook posted a link showing that California has a website up claiming that the 3,000 mile standard of changing your oil in your car is not correctly. So I decided to take a look. The website is here:

http://www.checkyournumber.org/

My car, when run through that website, claims the oil should be changed every 10,000 miles. Now, I thought, I wonder if this is true and that is what is said in the manuals that no one bothers reading. So I grabbed my manual, checked the oil change section, and the manual claimed that depending on the driving circumstances, you need to change your oil between 3,000 to 10,000 miles (3,000 mandatory if you drive in a dusty locale). So, since I saw that section on the forums about Mechanics, I figured we must have a lot of mechanics on the board . I'm wondering if my car really can be driven a few more 1000s of miles before an oil change or if this site is going to get a lot of people to damage their engines.

2. Jan 7, 2012

### rcgldr

From what I've read, if you use synthetic oil, then the recommended milage between changes is 7500 miles, and for non-synthetic, 3500 miles. What does the owner's manual for your car suggest?

3. Jan 7, 2012

### Pengwuino

3,000 to 10,000 miles, depending on how you drive your car. It has that sensor that tells you when to change so they don't really tell you much on what is considered what level of intensity with your driving.

4. Jan 7, 2012

### AlephZero

It depends on the car. I don't think there are many cars in the UK that would need an oil change every 3000 miles, except 15 or 20 year old diesel engines.

FWIW the manufacturers recommendation on my current car (nothing special about it) is the same as the rest of the servicing - every 18,000 miles. Considering how little oil it burns, it wouldn't come to any harm even if you didn't check the level for 18,000 miles.

But then I've only owned one "american design influenced" car in my life. The first car I ever owned was a Ford, which taught me more than I ever wanted to know about DIY car repairs.

5. Jan 7, 2012

### netgypsy

With synthetic I've read that if you change the oil filter and don't burn any you can go quite a long time without changing. If it looks like dark molasses you might want to change it though.

6. Jan 7, 2012

### czelaya

Yes, it's up to the type of car you drive and the conditions that you drive your car.

I have an Acura RSX-type S that has 2.0 Liter DOHC engine that red lines to 8100 R.P.M. I also live in some of the harshest areas to drive a car where the temperature is always, on average, hot enough that the manual states the I should be using 10W-30, instead of 5W-20 that is usually recommended. The particular engine design on my car is already 10 years old and it states right in the manual if I drive my car excessively to the red line, even in those cases, I'm fine to change the car oil(using dino oil) every 5,000 miles as opposed to 10,000 miles.

Bottom line: I have stuck in my head the 3,000 mile oil change myth. However after discussing this with several mechanics(one who happens to be a Honda racing mechanic) and engineers at various web sites, they all basically state that I'm fine changing the oil every 5,000 miles in harsh conditions (it's all there in your manual).

In the end, I couldn't believe it. So under further research, ultimately, I was told to do an oil analysis and send it to a local laboratory (hey, it's only 26 dollars). Sure enough, I sent an oil sample at 5,000 mile oil usage and the analysis stated my oil was fine and I had approximately 2-3 miles of usage left.

If you're in doubt, get an oil analysis. It's the final verdict on the matter. I have yet to read a new car manual that doesn't state 5,000 mile oil changes or much higher on new automobiles. Unless you're car utilizes infinite variable valve timing+high compression ratio of 12:1 or greater+high rpm limiter of above 8000 rpm and turbocharged/supercharged you're fine.

My car is coming up to 90,000 miles and just had a compression test. It runs beautiful.

7. Jan 7, 2012

### Moonbear

Staff Emeritus
I tend to get oil changes closer to every 6000 miles, not for any sort of eco reasons, but because I just don't have time to waste getting it changed any sooner. My car seems to be doing just fine. I've never killed a car on that schedule, or lack thereof. Though, I've also known for a long time that the way you use your car matters. If you're driving in a lot of stop and go traffic, consider that your engine is running a lot longer than your mileage reflects, from the amount of time the engine is running and you're sitting still. Chances are the recommendations were set as the minimum rather than maximum or average because people are too clueless to understand their car usage to determine if they need more frequent oil changes. You can also judge oil change times by noting he color change of oil over time, but again, there are a lot of people who don't even know what a dipstick is to check oil levels, let alone colors.

8. Jan 8, 2012

### TheStatutoryApe

Are you sure that's not 18,000 kilometers?

9. Jan 8, 2012

### wuliheron

Somebody did an actual study on this using NYC taxi cabs rather then relying on the auto manufacturers' and oil companies' recommendations. Not too surprisingly they found you could go as much as 50,000 miles without an oil change. However, I'd add that taxis are famous for buying large and durable vehicles and it probably also depends on the model.

10. Jan 8, 2012

### brewnog

Oil drain intervals of 18,000 miles are not uncommon in Europe.

11. Jan 8, 2012

### Dr Transport

My Chevy Colbalt has it's oil changed ~7000 - 8000 miles according to the sensor on board. I drive in various conditions, but the large majority of it is highway going 60+ miles an hour. The last time I changed the oil, I had the dealer check everything out and they said it isn't showing any significant wear because there wasn't any abnormal amount of metal in the filter or oil. My truck is on synthetic oil for older vehicles (mileage > 100K) and I am not seeing anything wrong with the way it runs and am not seeing any oil being burned.

12. Jan 8, 2012

### netgypsy

An elderly friend went nearly 100,000 miles without an oil change on one of the older Toyota trucks (before the tacoma, tundra models) My dad finally changed his oil for him. The truck was discarded several years later because of rust problems, not from engine failure. Not to suggest this is a good idea but as long as there is oil in it, the mileage to change it can be quite variable.

13. Jan 8, 2012

### Staff: Mentor

Er, I don't see what the problem is here: if the car tells you when to get an oil change, then the proper time to get an oil change is when the car tells you!

Penguino, you may not be aware, but this issue was in the news recently because Jiffy Lube dropped their archaic guidelines.

14. Jan 8, 2012

### AlephZero

Nope. 18,000 miles or 30,000 km (which is actually 18641 miles).

15. Jan 8, 2012

### KingNothing

It depends a lot on the engine design. A lot of BMW's for example are around 15k miles for oil change, but you'll need to put a lot more oil in.

16. Jan 8, 2012

### Jasongreat

If I was trying to get the most mileage out of my oil, I would join an oil sampling service. Every so many miles or hours of operation you take a sample send it in and they will analyze it and send you a report. They can tell you quite alot about your motor such as bearing problems, water leaks and everything else. It would add quite a bit to your operating cost, since I think each sample costs around 20 dollars. Supposedly we are not to be concerned about cost when it comes to "saving the enviroment" though. :)

Another option is a bypass oil filter. One of the main reasons that oil cant be ran too long is that inorder to keep up the pressure needed in the oil system, the oil filter can only clean down to a certain size of particle the rest stay suspended in the oil. A bypass filter takes the oil that is normaly bypassing the filter and runs it through a really fine filter medium(one style uses rolls of TP). The manufacturers usually claim 50-100,000 miles in between oil changes, with the filter being changed every 10,000 and you will need to get set up with and oil sampling service.

17. Jan 8, 2012

### Office_Shredder

Staff Emeritus
If you have 2-3 miles of usage left in your oil I think fine is a pretty optimistic word for it

18. Jan 8, 2012

### Pengwuino

Where would you such an analysis? I mean, what in the world do you find in the yellow pages to look for such a place? :P

I have a feeling he meant 2-3k :P

Last edited: Jan 8, 2012
19. Jan 8, 2012