The prevailing wisdom for many years has been to get your car’s oil changed every 3,000 miles to ensure that your engine is running as smoothly as possible and to maintain car health.  Well, it turns out that, in fact, that may no longer be true.  Oh, of course you still need to get an oil change for your car, but many vehicles these days do not need this done as frequently as every 3,000 miles.

An oil change may be the most important piece of preventative maintenance that you can get done.  Keeping your oil clean and free of impurities will keep your engine running smoothly and without wear and tear that could result in more expensive repairs at the auto shop down the road.  However, many more recently manufactured vehicles don’t actually require the oil change every 3,000 miles.  In fact, the manufacturers typically recommend an oil change every 5,000-10,000 miles instead for newer cars.  Ford recommends that you roll into your local auto shop for an oil change every 7,500 miles (or 5,000 for older models).  Hyundai recommends 7,500 miles as the best interval for getting the oil changed, while Toyota says that 5,000 is the best bet unless you use a higher-quality synthetic oil, in which case you would be fine with letting your vehicle go a whopping 10,000 miles between oil changes!

Toyota oil change
Toyota's with synthetic oil can go 10,000 miles between oil changes. (photo by BrittReneePhotography via Flickr)

Those extra miles between oil changes really add up.  The difference between getting your oil change done at the auto shop every 3,000 miles versus every 10,000 miles could mean a savings of $60 or more each year.  And since you are operating on the manufacturers recommendations, you don’t need to worry about sacrificing performance, reliability or car health to save that money.  They built the cars and nobody would know better than they how to maintain them.

So, break out your car’s owner’s manual or go online and search for it.  Take a look at the recommended interval for oil changes and make sure that you are not costing yourself more money by getting your oil changed more frequently than you need to.  If you are going to stretch out the times between oil changes, in order to maintain car health, we recommend putting the money you saved back into other preventative maintenance like getting a good tune-up at least once a year.