5,000 to 7,500 Mile Oil Changes~ Boloney!!!

Car Salesman says …. “You know, when it comes to maintenance you don’t have to worry about anything for the first 100,000 miles but change the oil every 5,000 to 7,500 miles.” NOT!!!!

That’s the spill I got when I bought my new vehicle a few years ago. Unfortunately, in my opinion it’s just not true if you live in Houston.

If you look in your owner’s manual there are two maintenance schedules, one for “Normal Driving Conditions” (which is your 5,000 to 7,500 mile oil changes) and one for “Severe Driving Conditions”.

If you start your car get it up on the freeway immediately, reach your destination where you shut it off and then repeat; then you fall into the normal maintenance schedule. Oh, I almost forgot it has to be about 75 degrees outside and the air has to be clean with very few pollutants, dust, dirt or sand. Sounds like San Diego to me, not Houston.

We drive in realistic conditions, short trips, stop and go driving, not very clean air, temperatures way above and way below 75 degrees. These conditions are defined as “Severe Driving Conditions” which drop the maintenance interval mileage dramatically for your vehicle. I think the real reason for the different maintenance schedules is to give the appearance of having lower ownership costs.

Don’t forget, changing your oil is about replacing the oil before it breaks down. Engine oil carries metal that has worn away, dirt and moisture from the air and combustion gasses that get past the piston rings and sludge from chemical processes. These materials increase friction on metal parts and seals and causes seals and gaskets to harden. The oil will start to break down and lose its lubricating capability. This is when the problems start.

Which would you rather do;

  • Engine repair = $4,000
  • Oil change cost = $30
  • Oil change cost if you keep your vehicle for 150,000 miles = $1,500.

So, which would you rather do?

Extend your oil changes and let the old contaminated oil damage expensive moving parts in your engine to where you will have to drop $4,000 to repair, or investing $1,500 over 10 years to keep your vehicle purring like a kitten.

I recommend oil changes every 3000 miles not because I want to sell more oil changes, in fact oil changes are not big money makers, but because everyday I see the difference in vehicles that have been serviced regularly and those that haven’t. Plugged oil passages or oil pump inlet screens, lifter or other engine noises, stuck piston rings, loss of oil pressure, premature engine wear or failure – all symptoms of extended oil changes.

It breaks my heart when I have to tell a single mother that her engine has been damaged because of lack of oil changes and I know she doesn’t have the money to repair it. I don’t like going through that, so I recommend oil changes every 3,000 miles so your car will last, and I don’t have to go through that.