If you own a car, truck, SUV or any vehicle for that matter – you have surely heard the recommendation to “get an oil change every 3,000 miles.” But did you know that this mileage and frequency is merely a myth? If you read the owner’s manuals of any vehicle, depending on the size of engine and type of oil used – oil and lube servicing is almost never recommended at every 3,000 miles. In fact, a closer estimate for the average vehicle is more like every 5,000-6,000 miles and up to 7,500 for SUVs and non-commercial trucks. Knowing the right time to have your vehicle serviced for oil and lubricant changes – is an important aspect of the proper upkeep of your vehicles.
Cars – Sedans, Wagons, Small to Medium Family Vehicles
Most vehicles in this category require an oil change every 5,000 miles, according to the manufacturer’s maintenance manual. As with anything, how you drive will affect the interval. For people who travel frequently and put on a large number of miles, service visits may need to happen more often. However, if your vehicle takes synthetic oil then you may be able to put on more miles between oil changes.
Luxury Vehicles, Large Four-Door Sedans, Medium SUVs
Larger engines usually require fewer oil changes but they tend to cost a bit more. So while you will not have to have the vehicle serviced as often, you will most likely need to pay anywhere from $40-$120 for the service visit. Bargain oil changes do not usually apply to vehicles in this category.
Minivans, Trucks, Large SUVs
Like vehicles in the Luxury/Large four-door sedan/Medium SUV category, minivans and larger vehicles require fewer oil changes but they tend to cost more. Some really large trucks, particularly commercial trucks, can go for as long as 20,000 or more miles before needing an oil change. Again, it all depends on usage and also on the condition of the vehicle’s engine.
A few factors that affect how often you should get an oil change on your car, truck or SUV include where and how often you drive under certain conditions, the current state of your vehicle’s engine, past maintenance record and history plus also the make and model’s track record. Another important thing to consider is the quality of motor oil used. Aside from whether you need synthetic or regular motor oil, choosing the proper one as per the appropriate season, engine type and size and also choosing a good quality grade per your owner’s manual will help protect that large investment under your hood.
As with anything mechanical, large or small, it is essential that you care for it and maintain it according to the manufacturer’s suggested times and specifications. The simple and very affordable task of having oil changes performed on your vehicle can and does significantly save you lots of money in the long run.