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My name is Steve Young and I am a retired California Highway Patrol Officer. I will also be your instructor in one of the online traffic courses with B Line Traffic Schools. No matter what course you sign up for, my goals are the same: Present you with the information that you need in a way that will not put you to sleep and then get you back to your life.  Throughout some of the courses I have included interesting situations, people and other random things I have come across in my 25+ years with the CHP to break things up a bit. Ok ok, enough about me. Close this window and start your course with B Line Traffic Schools today.

Is 3,000 Miles Still the Standard for Motor Oil?

05 Jan Blog | Comments

CHANGE YOUR OIL EVERY 3,000 MILES. That was the mantra men used to drill into the pupils when preparing themselves for automobile maintenance. In the past, this was good advice and helped to keep cars running properly. However, with the advancement of technology, this rule of thumb is quickly becoming obsolete. Places like California online traffic school are trying to inform the new crop of drivers that replacing motor oil every 3,000 miles just isn’t necessary anymore.

About 50 percent of drivers surveyed by New American Dimensions stated that they change their oil every 3,000 miles. An indication that information from the past is still The California Department of Resources, Recyclingand Recovery has started a “Check Your Number” campaign that implores motorists to check the owner manuals on their vehicles to discover what the manufacturer recommendations are for the frequency of oil changes. Most vehicles on the road today can go a considerably longer distance than 3,000 miles before needing a change of oil.

Oil changes at too frequent of an interval waste money, time, and petroleum. Changing motor oil at the recommended rates would lower California motor-oil demand by around 10 million gallons annually. The over abundance of used petroleum is causing a strain on the environment as we look for places to dispose of it.

Car makers have begun installing devices to alert a driver to the correct time to replace the motor oil. General Motors (GM) vehicles have an oil-monitor light that comes on when it is time to get to the service station. GM vehicles are set to go between 6,000 and 7,500 miles depending on driving conditions. Chrysler recommends changes every 8,000 miles. Honda has installed a system named Maintenance Minder that alerts the driver to proper oil change times. Regardless of the make or model of a vehicle, the operator should check the owner’s manual for proper frequencies of oil changes. California online traffic school is a place to go to learn how to use your owners manual for you vehicle.

The extension in driving distance between changes has been made due to advancements in the technology of engines and the motor oil that goes into them. Through the 1980s, most motor oil in cars was 10W-40. In an effort to boost fuel economy, 10W-30 oil was introduced in that decade. This new type of oil helped to extend the life of the oil due to lower viscosity as well as boosting miles per gallon for the new cars. Today it is common to find 5W-20 oil or even 0W-20, which allow even longer intervals. Some motor oils made with synthetic components boast a 50,000 interval between changes.

Driving conditions do play into the life of oil. In Southern California, drivers experience high heat and stop-and-go traffic. Both of these factors combine to create a hostile driving environment. However, even under these conditions the recommendations of manufactures still exceed 3,000 miles.

Drivers should still be aware that a vehicle can possibly burn up to a quart of oil in 3,000 miles. The operator of the car should regularly check the oil level and add when it is appropriate.

Every driver of a vehicle has a responsibility to maintain that vehicle to ensure it is in proper working order both for themselves and for the other motorists that they will encounter as they drive, but some of the maintenance practices today are different from what they used to be. It is hard to break habits from the past that were learned at an early age. However, as technology develops a lot of the things we used to do just aren’t necessary anymore. Go check your vehicle owner’s manual today to learn the proper interval for oil changes from your manufacturer. Reducing the frequency of the oil changes will reduce the stress on our environment and will save money.


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