You need to change your oil every 3,000 miles.
You might not even know where you first heard this myth. In the past, most automobile manufacturers recommended a change every 3,000 miles. The thinking was that if you did not change the fluid often, it would become dirty and you would run the risk of damaging your car’s engine. However, this is no longer the case. Modern synthetic and conventional options contain detergents that keep clean. Also, the improved engineering of modern vehicles means they run cleaner and do not contaminate motor fluids nearly as quickly. In fact, many cars can go for as many as 7,500 miles without an oil change.
The average driver in the U.S. drives roughly 15,000 miles per year. That means you might be taking your car in five times a year instead of twice. That could be as much as $150 wasted every year.
Synthetic is “better” than conventional
Conventional motor oil is made from the same fossil fuels that are refined to produce gasoline. Synthetic is made from laboratory-made chemicals. Synthetic is definitely a more efficient product. It can be so thin and viscous that they have weights as low as 0W-30. This product flows seven times faster than conventional 5W-30. Certain synthetics will still flow at negative 58 degrees F whereas most conventionals will freeze at negative 35 degrees F. However, how often do you drive in negative 50-degree weather? That is why synthetic is not necessarily “better” than conventional. It is more efficient in testing circumstances, but in real world application, it performs about the same.
Additives improve performance
Many automotive stores will attempt to sell you detergents and other additives that are supposed to clean the engine or improve the oil’s viscosity. These additives do those things, which is why the manufacturer already adds them. Adding more of the already-present substances will not improve your engine’s performance.
Dark oil is dirty and needs to be changed
You have probably heard that when your engine fluid turns dark, you need an oil change. This is actually the exact opposite. The detergents in modern engine fluids are designed to break up sludge and keep it held in suspension. That way, the sludge does not build up in your engine. So, when the oil turns dark, it is doing its job.