The Complex Myth Behind a Routine Oil Change
If you are like most consumers, your automotive maintenance habits were instilled in you by your parents, as opposed to a close study of the trends and evolution of modern commuter vehicles. Nothing wrong with that, however times have certainly changed. Chances are your parents and friends have beaten the idea into you, over and over again, about how important regular oil changes are to the health of your vehicle. Yet, the Honest Car Dealer is here to tell you that if you own a vehicle of recent make, you might actually be spending more money in the short-term than you have been led to believe you are saving in the long-run; cars are simply different today.
Change Your Oil-Servicing Habits
The simple fact is that the old rule-of-thumb about changing your oil every 3,000 miles — quoted by baby boomer dads everywhere — is simply obsolete. Vehicles manufactured during the last decade only need new lubricant in the 5,000 mile range on the pessimistic end, with 7,800 miles being a realistic average; some vehicles can even go over 20,000 miles before they need an oil change. An entire generation of dads most certainly can be wrong. Don’t believe me? Consult your owner’s manual and watch yourself in the mirror as your jaw drops. You’ve probably been changing your oil twice as often as you needed to. Advances in engine technology, the prevalence of hybrid powertrains, and the amazing quality of new-age lubricants themselves all account for this drastic decrease in the need to change your oil.
Why then does this myth persist across society? As someone who used to manage a services department, I can say that it is mainly our fault: shorter intervals between oil changes means more time spent at the dealer; the more time we have you under our roof, the more services we can attempt to sell you. That money really adds up; it’s just a good business tactic, but not necessarily the best scenario for the casual driver. Dealers and those in the industry perpetuate this thinking with arguments such as that we all drive our cars to death and that the new mileage estimates are extremely optimistic. This is simply not true; cars are designed for the way we drive them in this day and age — “severe conditions” are just that, truly severe.
The Honest Car Dealer Tells it Straight
I hope this article has lifted your confidence and will make it easier for you to say “no” to your next unwarranted services appointment, and maybe save you some money too. My blog is always expanding with useful information for casual drivers, so be sure to check back with me at www.honestcardealer.com for more car buying, owning, and servicing tips.
August 30, 2012 by Jamie Rettig