3,000 mile myth

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Oil being drained from a car.

The 3,000 mile myth refers to a common belief, particularly in the United States, that all cars should have their motor oil changed at least every 3,000 miles (4,800 km) to maintain their car engine correctly. Efforts are under way to convince the public that this is not necessary, and that people should follow the advice given in their owner's manual rather than the advice of the oil-change businesses.[1]


At the beginning of the twentieth century, many car manufacturers recommended an oil use duration of 500 miles (800 km) to 2,000 miles (3,200 km). With the advent of oil filters in the 1920s and their popularization later on, car manufacturers extended the oil use duration up to 3,000 miles. Throughout the years, many oil change shops recommended an oil change every 3,000 miles. However, during the later part of the twentieth century, engine technology and oil technology have advanced requiring less frequent oil changes under normal driving conditions.


This recently identified "myth" has continued to exist due to the complexity existing in today's car industry. In response to this, car manufacturers include a manual with recommendations for how often the oil should be changed[2] often including recommendations based on driving conditions. Some models now come with a monitoring system that alerts the driver when the oil needs changing. Depending on driving conditions, these can extend change intervals to 10,000 or 15,000 miles.[3][4][5] In case of diesel engines and manufacturer recommended long-life oil, the indicated change interval can be as long as 19,000 miles (31,000 km) (BMW) or 30,000 miles (48,000 km) (VW).


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