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 oil-change businesses.[1][2][3][4]

As of 2015, many common vehicle engines come with recommended oil change intervals from 5,000 to 10,000 miles or more. Two major reasons for these longer oil change intervals are 1) newer engines are made with tighter tolerances and 2) improvements in motor oil, combining to keep engines and oil cleaner.

Many cars now have oil-life monitors that inform the driver when to change the oil. These monitors are a function of the car's computer. The computer monitors the miles driven, driving habits of the driver, and other variables since the last oil change and calculates and informs the driver when an oil change should be performed.

The 3000 miles oil-change rule generally only applies to vehicles manufactured prior to the 1970s. However, drivers should consult their owner's manual for specific oil change intervals, especially if the vehicle is operated under severe conditions (usually listed in the manual.)


  1. ^ State says many drivers change oil too often
  2. ^ Newton, Richard. 101 Projects for Your Corvette 1984-1996. MotorBooks International. pp. 20–. ISBN 9781610607933. Retrieved 1 June 2014. 
  3. ^ Karp, Gregory; Staff, Chicago Tribune (2013-08-20). Spending Smart: A Consumer's Guide to Saving Money and Making Good Financial Decisions. Agate Publishing. pp. 86–. ISBN 9781572844520. Retrieved 1 June 2014. 
  4. ^ Stop Changing Your Oil Breaking the 3,000-Mile Habit

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