Traditional oil change interval going away?


It’s a message that has been steered at drivers for years: Change your engine oil every 3,000 miles. But that advice is now changing, at least according to one popular oil change company.

Jiffy Lube is now canning the traditional 3,000 mile recommendation in favor of a more targeted interval catered to each driver. They now use a computer system to figure out the proper interval, based on your driving pattern, your vehicle and your situation. This is definitely a step in the right direction.

Historically, if you went to an oil change shop, they would slap a sticker on your car that told you to come back in another 3,000 miles. Yet your owner’s manual for a newer vehicle might put that interval at 7,500 miles or maybe even 10,000. So who’s right?

More and more, the folks in the industry are saying to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Today’s vehicles are built so reliably because of better engineering and better manufacturing. When I was younger, people used to talk about Monday-Friday cars. You never wanted to buy a car that was started in the auto plant on a Friday and finished on Monday. But that’s just really not true anymore. Today’s cars have pretty good reliability. (Not every single one, of course. But generally most new cars are reliable.)

It’s kind of funny with my plug-in hybrid, what I call my “FrankenPrius” that’s getting 93 miles per gallon on the current tank. (I’ve driven 200+ miles and the fuel indicator has barely moved.) When I take my FrankenPrius to my local independent mechanic, they readily admit they have no idea when I should have my oil changed since I almost never use my gas engine!

As we move into the future and cars become more complicated, it’s almost certainly going to be best to defer to the automaker’s recommended schedule, rather than what somebody pops on a sticker in your car.

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