How often do you change your oil?

Do you adhere to the recommended guidelines and take your car in (or spend a Saturday morning underneath it in your driveway) every 3,000 miles?

Are you the rebel that goes 6,000 miles before even thinking about a maintenance trip to your local mechanic?

Are you somewhere in between?

Would you do things differently if your car were older/younger?


I have a 1995 Ford Aspire with about 90,000 miles on it. I take it in about every 4000-5000 miles, and it’s never let me down. Yup, she’s a very dependable car.

Every 3k. Like clockwork. That, and the fact that I live in Southern California, means that my cars last for decades.


Oh boy, I am the worlds worst procrastinator. I cannot remember the last time I had the oil in my car changed. My maintenance schedule involves waiting until the car is low on oil and then dumping in a quart. (I know, I know this sucks)

This was particularly bad a few months ago when Mr. Honey checked my oil for me and found it was bone dry.

So, may I suggest buying a 1995 Nissan Altima. The toughest car I’ve ever had. I have not been able to kill it so far.



I used to do it every month when I had my 300ZX Turbo, but since I’ve gotten the Jeep I do it every 3 months, regardless of miles.

I guess I should have mentioned that the reason I’m asking is that I come from a “3,000 miles or GO DOWN IN FLAMES ALONG WITH YOUR CAR” family (my mom freaks out if she’s even 100 miles over her 3K limit)…

…but the other day, when my boss picked me up (to take me to work) after I dropped my car off for my 3K mile oil change, he asked me how often I have it done.

Much eye-rolling ensued, and he said I was wasting money, and could easily go 5,000 miles if not 6,000 between changes without harm to the car, as long as I make sure not to RUN OUT of oil.

Needless to say, this rocked my entire belief system. :eek:

FWIW, I have a 1986 BMW 325ES.

And a crush on my mechanic (which means I generally try to use up those 3,000 miles quickly :wink: ).

After working at a service center for a car dealership I get my oil changed every 5,000KM or 3 months, which ever comes first. since Mr. Venom’s family lives about 1000 KM away (round trip) I usually end up having it done ever 2 months.

BUT, this past month I’ve been so busy, it’s been 7500 KM since my last one…I’m gunna do it tonight

roughly every 5K miles - 1997 Ford Aerostar with 106K+ miles

This is kind of embarrassing to admit, but I have the oil in my car changed once a year when I have to take it into the shop anyway for its state inspection. I typically put about 12,000 miles on it during that interval.

…and I know it’s wrong, but I just can’t help it…

I do it about every 3000-3500 miles in my daily drivers, a '92 Oldsmobile Custom Cruiser with 101K miles and a '97 Ford Taurus GL sedan with ~75K. I drive the Olds more often than the Ford, so it usually means that the Olds gets new oil every seven or eight weeks while the Ford can go three to three and a half months before it needs a change.

My '66 Cadillac only gets driven about 1000-1200 miles per year, so it gets three oil changes a year regardless of mileage; once when it comes out of winter storage, once in late July or early August (around the midpoint of car show season) and once in October or November before I put it away for the winter.

FWIW, I come from a family like yours, auntie em. However, our cars have always lasted at least 125,000 miles before something not worth fixing breaks and/or it rusts to the point where it won’t pass inspection.


Because I do mostly rural/highway driving, and LOTS of it (70+ miles per day, average speed over 60), I tend to space out my oil changes more. When I was still using conventional oil, I’d go 4000-5000 miles between oil changes and check the oil level once or twice a week, about every other time I got gas.

I got pretty sick of having an oil change every month or six weeks, so I switched to a fully synthetic oil, which would allow me to go up to 7500-10000 miles depending on driving habits (but change a filter about halfway through). I now change my oil about every three months or 8000-9000 miles, and check the oil level a little less frequently, about once a week. The Mobil1 synthetic is a lot more expensive than conventional oils (~$5 a qt versus $1), but it really suits the way I drive.

If you do mostly city driving or don’t drive much, definitely stick pretty close to the 3000 mile/3 month rule. And as far as the change versus adding oil thing: have you ever looked at what ends up on your oil filter after 4000 miles of driving? Ever wonder why new oil is clearish amber but the oil in your car gets pretty dark by the time you change it?

Bottom line: oil is cheap; engines are NOT.

Blue skies…

The Car Talk guys pretty much feel that 5K miles is fine. I even get the impression they lean towards a bit more, maybe 7k miles.
Their rationale is that oils are better than they used to be.

3 months or 3000 miles, whichever comes first. It’s always been the 3 months; I have an extremely low number of miles on this car.

Every 7,500 miles, myself – I believe the “every 3,000 miles” tidbit is a scam from the oil-change companies to get more business.

My longest-lasting car is a '91 Acura Integra with 178,000+ miles on it, and even with oil changes every 7,500, it’s still going strong.

Hmm, we discussed this a few times. So, I changed from 3k to 5k. Reasons were that 3k is not
neccessary anymore than lather rinse repeat is for shampoo, 2, I add a quart of oil about every 1000 miles.
Its all working well. 3k isn’t necessary anymore.& the oil isn’t even anywhere near black by then.

A new air filter is worth the investment, they are a few bucks & you can get some major mileage if you
put in a fresh one if the old one was dirty.

6k or twice a year, whichever comes first. usually the twice a year for most of the cars (got too damn many and can only drive them so much!)

i use golden spectro in some of the motorcycles and it is good for 12 months or 12000 miles, guarenteed.

harley owners don’t have to change the oil in their bikes, cause it leaks out before it ever gets dirty! :smiley:

You must choose, but choose wisely.

hmm. I’ve had the car almost 2 years, only completely changed the oil once. I don’t put many miles on the thing at all, and when I do drive, it’s highway miles, so I’m not worried. I just check the oil about once a month, add more if it needs some, and change it when the oil gets dark-looking.

Every 3k. I just got my car in January (first ever) and my parents paid for a good portion of it. One condition of me getting the title in October is regular oil changes/maintenence.

I think your boss is wrong, wrong, wrong. Don’t tell him I said so. A lot depends on the condition of your engine. Motor oil contains a lot of additives to neutralize the nasty products of combustion that blow by the piston rings and into the crankcase oil. Those additives eventually are exhaused in the process of neutralizing and further driving is exposing your engine to moisture, various acids and other nasties. A brand new engine in great shape probably wouldn’t be damaged by letting it go for maybe 4000 miles. But, an oil change costs what? $25. And you drive maybe 12000 miles a year so that is the difference between three changes and four changes a year or $25 a year. If you keep your car for 10 years you have saved a whole $250 while engine repairs can cost $1500 or more. It’s a poor gamble.

auntie em, I think what you are doing now is just fine. I agree with David here though. It can’t hurt. It also depends on what kind of driving you do, also. I change mine every 3K.
What your boss is doing isn’t going to kill his car, though I would venture to say you might have less wear on your engine than he does.

I used to work at a GMC dealership and a truck got towed in. The engine had frozen. Why?

The owner had bought it brand new, put 20,000 miles on it and never changed the oil once. He had owned the truck for about 9 months. Needless to say, the new engine we put in wasn’t under warranty.