When it comes to an engine oil change there are many do’s and don’ts. It is often hard to distinguish between truth and fiction. While there are a lot of do’s out there, here are some that you can put on the don’t have to list.
1. Have your oil changed every 3,000 miles or three months whichever comes first
. With the advancement of technology, the 3,000 mile oil change
has become more myth than fact. Experts agree that the oil in modern cars should be changed in intervals that are designated by the manufacturer or when the oil life monitor light comes on. This interval will vary among manufacturers, so refer to owner’s manual for complete details on when to change your engine oil.
2. Change your oil before a long road trip. There is actually some truth to this. It’s always a good idea to look your car over before you go on a long trip. But, if the oil change interval is not scheduled to occur during the trip, you do not need to have your oil change. However, if the interval would arrive while you are on the trip, have it changed before you leave. Just be careful. Have the service done about a week before you go. This way if a problem arises, it does so at home, not when you are hundreds of miles away.
3. Most cars should be serviced under the "severe" maintenance schedule. If you have heard this one, just ignore it. When a manufacturer says “severe” they mean situations in which your truck is pulling a heavy trailer or you race your car on a closed track. The “severe” situation even applies to taxis and emergency response vehicles that are known to idle for hours at a time. So, unless you car or truck is put through any of these severe conditions, stick with the normal maintenance schedule.
4. If the oil on the dipstick is black, change it. This is definitely a myth. Oil is meant to get dark as it cycles through the engine. If it didn’t change color, then it wouldn’t be doing it’s job. Bottom line: Black oil is fine and still has plenty of life left in it.
5. When you buy a new car, change your oil at 3,000 miles. This is one that has some merit behind it. Studies have shown that oil samples taken from engines during the first 3,000 miles of driving have elevated “wear-in” metal levels. But, in most cases, if the metal particles are big enough to cause damage they will be taken out by the oil filter. This one is up to you. If you would feel better by having your oil changed at 3,000 miles, do. If you are not so concerned, then don’t worry about it and have it changed at your scheduled interval.
6. Once you use synthetic oil, you always have to use it. This has gone the way of the 3,000 mile oil change. Nowadays, the line between synthetic oil and petroleum based oil is blurring because the two types of oil are often blended. As long as the oil meets the viscosity and service requirements set by your manufacturer, you can switch back and forth as much as you want to.
7. Synthetic oil is better for your car's engine. Myth. While studies have shown that synthetic oil is generally a superior lubricant, many experts can’t justify the extra cost.