For many years consumers have used the rule of thumb that you should change your engine oil every 3,000 miles for autos, trucks, and SUVs. Over the past several years there have been tests by various consumer and environmental advocacy groups that have found this to be a waste of money as well as harmful to the environment. In fact according to a recent study by the California Integrated Waste Management Board, 73 percent of California drivers change their oil more frequently than required.
The 3,000 mile oil change may have once been a good idea before the advance of technology that has greatly improved the ability of oil to stay cleaner longer as well as today’s engines that simply run cleaner. Oil doesn’t really break down but it becomes contaminated with microscopic metals from bearings, pistons and other points of friction as well as fuel and the worst enemy of all – water. There have been tests on commercial vehicles that have shown that there is no difference in engine wear when oil changes are pushed past the 3,000 mark and well into double or even triple that interval. Most auto manufacturers recommend 5,000, 7,500, or even 10,000 mile intervals under normal driving conditions. Of course “normal” is pretty subjective. If you are pulling a trailer for any appreciable amount of time, “normal” is no longer applicable and oil changes should be made at “severe” condition intervals.
But in any case make absolutely sure to follow the owners manual recommendations and keep a copy of receipts or record of service if you do your own oil changes. If you have a warranty or extended service contract and ever need to file a claim, you may find that your claim is denied if you can’t document proper preventative maintenance service. Good Sam Continued Service Plan has a maintenance log with tips to keep you vehicle running a long time. Send your name, address, and type of vehicle (tow vehicle or RV) to: CSP Maintenance Log, 2575 Vista Del Mar Drive, Ventura CA 93001 for a free copy.
This article was brought to you by Good Sam RV Emergency Road Service