Some urban legends are persistent and the ones about automotive motor oil may be the worst. You have undoubtedly heard many of them. In this article we will look at the top five urban legends concerning the motor oil in your car and voice our opinions on their veracity.
1) Change your oil every 3,000 miles. Today this is a myth for the vast majority of modern cars. It is a recommendation from decades ago. Experts agree that the oil in today’s cars should be changed at the designated intervals specified by the manufacturer. The average interval for 2010 cars is around 7,800 miles.
2) Check the oil on the dipstick. If it’s dirty looking, change it. Experts say this is another myth. Oil that gets dark does not mean it is necessary “dirty”. This is because oil has additives in it that change color as they work and turn dark, it may have plenty of life left in it.
3) Always change your oil before long trips. There is some truth to this but it’s not just the oil that needs attention. It’s definitely a good idea to look your entire car over before long drives. If the oil change interval that you adhere to arrives during the trip, then it’s a not a bad idea to change it before you leave.
4) When you buy a new car, change your oil at 1000 miles. Oil samples from engines during the first 1,000 miles of driving show elevated “wear-in” metal levels. However, a Honda spokesman says its cars come from the factory with a special oil formulation for the break-in period and they don’t recommend changing it at 1000 miles!The take-away? Follow the manufacturers recommendations.
5) Once you switch to synthetic oil, you always have to use it. This is just a myth. In fact, the line between synthetic oil and petroleum-based oil is blurring because the two types of oil are often blended together today. Switch back and forth as much as you’d like.