It seems like every time you turn around, 2,000 miles has gone by and it’s time again to change your oil. Reluctantly, you hope in your car and head to the mechanic, who over-charges you for oil and slaps a reminder sticker on your windshield to come on back in 2,000. It feels a little like he’s saying, “See you next month!” Is it really necessary? We’ll take a closer look at changing your oil, what it does, and why it may or may not be.
Consider the Oil Type
There are two types of oil that you could potentially put in your car: standard or synthetic. The first thing you need to do in figuring out how often you should be changing your oil is determine which type you use. While both oils originate as crude oil and serve the purpose of lubricating the engine, synthetic oil has had modifications that make it a little more durable and protective for your engine. The result being more time between oil changes. So, if you find yourself using synthetic oil instead of standard, changing your oil every 2,000 miles is absolutely a waste of money, as you’ll likely get closer to 5,000 miles between oil changes.
Consider the Car
If you really think about it, car makers aren’t the ones who aggressively determine how or how often you perform standard vehicle maintenance. Who does it? It’s the oil makers and body shops that make those presumptions and almost bully people into feeling like it’s a requirement to be that active in vehicle maintenance. First and foremost, we recommend getting familiar with your car in regards to the make and model. Read the manual, do your research, determine what mileage you should aim for between oil changes. Some makes and models will allow for up to 10,000 miles safely between oil changes, but you’d never know it because of the oil companies and body shops that have you believing the opposite.
Consider the Shop
Are you going to a “Mom and Pop” body shop, where you’re seeing a mechanic who has been trained on the inner workings of your vehicle and who gives you customized service? Or are you going to one of dozens of auto body chains, such as Jiffy Lube, where employees simply follow a mandated protocol for maintenance? While we never recommend finding a mechanic who is less than trustworthy, we do recommend branching out for second and third opinions; you may find you like what you hear a little more.
So, in short, if you are comfortable with shelling out $30 for an oil change every 2,000 miles, it certainly won’t hurt your car. Is it completely necessary? Highly unlikely.