So, of course, when I see the Yahoo front-page headline “There is a new rule for oil changes!” I had to click on it. The link takes you to a NY Times article nested under the large headline of “the 3,000-Mile Oil Change is Pretty Much History.”
While I applaud this well intentioned author for her use of numerous perspectives (Honda, Pennzoil, Jiffy Lube etc), she quotes ridiculous claims such as the 3,000 mile guideline is “no longer true for any car bought in the last seven or eight years.” The writer recommended checking the owner’s manual and calculating the oil change interval based on the vehicle manufacturers recommendation. What she failed to mention (or did not realize) that this recommendation is based on said owner using the proper factory oil filter and correct spec and weight oil.
The problem is that most consumers don’t get their oil changes done at the dealer who specializes in that specific vehicle. They go for the cheap change either doing it themselves or at their local quick lube where more often than not, the proper materials are not used. Instead of a synthetic refill, a cheaper conventional oil is put in along with a generic oil filter that doesn’t have the proper filtration media and pressure valves. The advice to follow the owner’s manual recommendations should come with a caveat to use the recommended parts as well.
While the writer intentions are admirable- the devil is in the details and without all of the information using her article and the owner’s manual as a guide can lead to engine damage and possibly the voiding your vehicles’ warranty.
She tells readers to question the next mechanic to slap “on a sticker that gives the next change date in 3,000 miles.” I feel sorry for that poor mechanic, since the oil actually could need changing based on the products they used during the service verses the 10,000 mile recommendation from the vehicle manufacturer.
Over the past few months it seems like more and more journalists have decided to try their hand at writing automotive related articles. While most are well researched and often quote good information sources, these puff pieces tend to mislead consumers or else just leave them more confused than enlightened.