Oil Changes: Would You Believe These Are Severe Driving Conditions?
Some good advice adages die hard. In the mechanical world, one of the biggest myths is that a vehicle needs to have the oil changed every 3,000 miles.
That WAS very good advice many years ago. But even the best of advice can become antiquated.
"There was a time when the 3,000 miles was a good guideline," says Philip Reed, a senior consumer advice editor for Edmunds.com. "But it's no longer true for any car bought in the last seven or eight years."
If your used truck or car is older than that, you might want to stick to the 3,000 mile adage. Otherwise, the advice today is to follow your owner's manual.
But there's one caveat. You must determine your daily typical driving pattern. The Filter Manufacturers Council found that only about 20% of vehicles are driven under mild or normal conditions.
In fact, AAA found that just 6% of the drivers they polled felt like they drove in mostly severe conditions.
BUT, when asked about their actual driving habits, 62% said that their driving behaviors aligned with severe driving conditions most of the time.
And therein lies the rub. Most of us don't consider that we drive in severe conditions, but we do!
The Severe Driving Conditions You Would Never Suspect
Believe it or not, a commute of less than 10 miles or so doesn't allow the car's engine and the oil to completely warm up.
If the oil is still cool, it cannot efficiently absorb contaminants from internal combustion, and that's a severe driving condition. Here are seven more:
• Regular trips along steep hills or mountains
• Stop and go driving in heavy traffic
• Trips that involve towing a trailer or camper
• Short trips of 5 miles or less in normal temperatures
• Sustained highway driving in both hot and cold temperatures
• Trips that include towing a trailer or camper
• Trips that involve transporting various items with a roof rack or car top carrier
Bottom line. "Severe" driving is normal driving. That's why a more personalized approach to vehicle maintenance is key, including when you change your oil.
Our service department recommends that you check your oil regularly and get your car serviced regularly. By becoming proactive with your car maintenance, you not only increase the reliability of your vehicle, you also reduce the long term operating costs, AND you boost its resale value.
Remember, it's not just about how far you drive. It's also about where and how. Include those factors when considering how often your oil needs to be changed.
Also, do make your owner's manual your best friend. Observe your driving habits, change your oil accordingly, and protect what's under the hood!
If you've got a mechanical question about your vehicle, talk to our service department at Joe Bowman Auto Plaza. We've been helping car owners just like you for more than 60 years! Visit us on the web or stop by.