Anyone that owns a vehicle knows how important regular oil changes are. You might have grown up hearing that every 3,000 miles you needed to change your oil. However, those days might be long gone. The rule for oil changes isn't set in stone, but many vehicles no longer need those frequent oil changes.
If you are thinking about changing your oil because you have hit the 3,000-mile mark, keep these four things in mind:
1. The 3,000 Mile Rule Has Changed
For many newer cars, the 3,000-mile rule is no longer valid. Many newer cars have implemented newer technologies that remind you when to change your oil. Oil life monitors are inside many newer cars and they automatically remind you when you should change your oil, based on your driving habits and car condition.
According to The New York Times, some newer cars can drive as many as 10,000-miles before needing an oil change. If in doubt, always consult with your owner's manual to ensure you are changing your oil as needed.
2. New Technologies Have Emerged
In the past, oil and engine technology was different. The oil chemistry wasn't as pristine and that resulted in a need for more frequent changes. However, in today's world, things have progressed a lot, and oftentimes people change their oil too much; which doesn't cause a problem for the car, but it can lead to wasted money and excess waste in the landfill.
3. Change Oil Based on Driving Habits
The old rule for oil changes was universal and it didn't account for driving habits. If you are a regular driver, you probably don't need your oil changed as frequently. However, if you drive in congested traffic, extreme temperatures, or haul anything, you should have your oil changed according to old recommendations.
4. Use the Dipstick
You can identify whether you need oil by checking the oil levels with the dipstick. If levels seem off, you should refill the oil or take your car in for an oil change—or both. When using the dipstick, clean it off and put it into the proper hole titled "oil." Remove the dipstick and look for the oil line. If the oil line sits above or in between the two marks or holes on the stick, you are fine. If it is below the lower line, you need more oil—and probably an oil change.
Changing your vehicles oil may not be necessary as often as you thought. However, if you are in doubt or have any questions, consult your owner's manual an talk to an automotive technician. It is always better to be safe than sorry.