Auto Oil Changer

Everybody that owns an automobile of any sort has to do a few things periodically in order to keep the car in good running order – put gas in the tank, change out the tires, and change the oil. Of course, cars need other routine maintenance too – fluids need to be checked, belts need to be tightened – but those three things are some of the absolute minimum things needed to keep the car on the road.

Because cars are such an ubiquitous part of our lives, there is a lot of information available about them. And unfortunately, some of that information, rather than being hard fact, is rumor. For example, due to high gas prices, U.S. car owners are currently trying everything in order to maximize gas mileage. Unfortunately, this led to many people investigating in fluids or gadgets that claim to maximize gas mileage, but really did not do much at all but line their manufacturer’s pockets. Yes, rumors about cars and car care abound. But did you know that what some people think is one of the most simple and common sense facts about car care may actually be a myth? That’s the auto oil change. And in fact, many mechanics say that the mandatory 3,000 mile oil change is a automotive myth that needs to be quashed.

We’ve all seen the bright, cheerful and helpful commercials for auto oil changers such as Jiffy Lube or Valvoline. They caution us not to let our cars run on oil that hasn’t been changed recently or engine disaster may strike. Well, maybe Jiffy Lube, Valvoline and other auto oil changer commercials are not really that dire, but they do send the message that a car’s oil should be changed every 3,000 miles.

But this is not so, says a vocal segment of the internet, including mechanics, auto enthusiasts and myth debunkers everywhere. A quick Google search for “auto oil changer” quickly pulls up several websites swearing that automobile’s most emphatically do not need their oil changed ever 3,000 miles. According to these sites, the 3,000 mile theory is being perpetuated by people who stand to gain from it, such as auto oil changers, as well as misinformed individuals who simply mistook a myth for fact because they had heard it for so long.

According to one popular site, auto oil changers simply have not kept up with the times (or, more likely, their marketing has not.) According to that site, as automobiles become smaller, more fuel efficient, less polluting and much longer lasting, their lubrication needs have also changed. These days, engines need motor oil that allows for tighter clearances, higher heat and higher revolutions per minute (RPM). And due to these advances, motor oil no longer needs to be changed as often as it once did. So while your ’55 Chevy may have needed that oil change every 3,000 miles, the same is not true for your 2009 Toyota.

According to the same auto oil changer myth busting site, oil changing is, of course, still vitally important, and it is important because regularly auto oil changing reduces the buildup of sludge. As a car operates, contaminants build up on the engine’s parts over time. Additives in oil, called detergents, wash contaminants off internal engine parts. While it is important to get rid of these contaminants, they do not actually cause any engine wear. Engine wear, however, is caused by sludge. Sludge appears when contaminants are no longer content to settle on engine parts (likely because they parts are already saturated with contamination), and instead saturate the oil, giving it a thick, viscous and dirty texture. So while it is not vital to change your engine oil every 3,000 miles, it is very vital to change your engine oil before sludge has the chance to form.

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