I think one of the most basic questions I hear everyday is, "how often should I change my oil?" The answer is simple, so I will keep it simple.
Should I Change My Oil Every 3,000 miles?
No! I'm not sure why this interval has held strong in so many people's minds. From a service center point of view it is much safer and easier to tell everyone to change your oil every 3,000 miles. It definitely doesn't hurt to change it that often but waiting until the manufacturer recommends will save you time and money. You can expect to save around $150 a year and 3 trips to the shop! The chances are if your vehicle is a 2000 model year or newer the manufacturer recommends going more miles between changes than you might expect. Read your owners manuals! I know they're boring but they're packed with answers to a lot of basic questions. If you don't have a manual most can be found online. You can also find out when other services for your vehicle are due such as transmission fluid, spark plugs, timing belts, etc, and this can save you money at the service center for sure.
5,000 to 7,500 miles!
This is pretty much the norm in the industry today. Many manufacturers are going even further. BMW recommends going 15,000 miles between oil changes while using quality full synthetic motor oil. Some newer GM vehicles go 8 to 10,000 miles before the dashboard warns the driver of service due. The main reason is advancements in technology. Think about how far we've come compared to the 1980's! Automobile engines along with the oil and filters they use have also advanced drastically. The oil doesn't get broken down as fast because of the precision built engines of today. The oil we use has also drastically improved in its ability to withstand break down. So rest easy knowing it is perfectly fine to wait until the manufacturer recommends. Keep in mind it is NOT like the old days any more.