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According to recent studies, 5 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities are clearly caused by automobile maintenance neglect.
• Always consult your owner’s manual, but have the oil filter and oil changed regularly, every 3,000 to 4,000 miles.
• Check tire inflation. Under-inflated tires can result in a loss of fuel efficiency. Tire air pressure should be checked once a month.
• Check battery cables and posts for corrosion and clean them as needed. Check the battery fluid in non maintenace free batteries.
• Inspect engine belts regularly. Look for cracks and missing sections or segments.
• The air filter should be checked approximately every other oil change for clogging or damage.
• Have all the fluids regulary checked, including brake, power steering, transmission/transaxle, windshield washer solvent and antifreeze.
• Tune the engine for peak performance, a fouled spark plug or plugged/restricted fuel injector can reduce fuel efficiency as much as 30 percent.
• Lubricate the chassis often to prevent wear of the moving parts
Oil Changes every 3k?
For decades mechanics have been telling us to change our oil every 3,000 miles. Interestingly, no automotive manufacturer agrees with this maintenance schedule – not in the last 20 years any way. So why are we being told to change our oil every 3,000 miles if it’s unnecessary?
First, let’s look at the auto industry’s argument. It makes 5 primary points.
1) Oil breaks down after 3000 miles
2) Oil changes are great preventative maintenance
3) 3,000 miles is an easy number for the car repair customer to remember
4) The 3,000 mile interval is traditionally viewed as best by mechanics
5) It’s necessary due to the elements, driving patterns, and weather conditions.
Here are the 5 Truths About Oil Changes
1) Quality motor oil recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer does not break down after 3,000 miles
2) Yes, changing your oil is great preventative maintenance, but it needs to be done in accordance with manufacturer service intervals
3) The easy-to-remember 3,000-mile interval actually creates more confusion as to the real maintenance needs of your vehicle. Thus, it is easier to follow factory guidelines, more economical, and more appropriate.
4) The traditional view that 3,000 miles is best for your car is old school, wasteful, and fails to appreciate today’s mechanical and oil technologies
5) Unless you’re in a constant high-speed police change in the dead of winter – your oil will be just fine
How often do you really need to change your oil? While it depends on the year, make, and model of your vehicle, it’s clear that for today’s vehicles it’s not every 3,000 miles. 20 years ago this was true of many vehicles. However, this is virtually obsolete as most vehicle have 5,000, 7500, 10,000, and even 15,000 mile oil service intervals.
So just what is motivating the auto industry to push 3,000 mile oil changes? Let’s look at it in real life. If you change your oil every 3,000 miles, and like most, you average 15,000 miles per year, then you’ll be in the repair shop 5 times in only 12 months. Do you really need to perform maintenance on your car 5 times per year? Seems excessive doesn’t it?
The average oil change price is $30.00. $30.00 X 5 = $150.00. If you changed your oil every 5,000 miles, you’d only need 3 oil changes per year = $90. That’s a $60 savings.
For the most part oil changes are cheap, as it’s a very competitive market. They’re also not very profitable for repair shops (see the article Why an Oil Change is Never Just an Oil Change @ RepairTrust.com or EzineArticles.com). However, the more times your vehicle is in the shop, the more chances said shop has the opportunity to sell you something else – an alignment, tires, wiper blades, brakes, shocks, fuel cleaning services, transmission services…etc – these are money-makers. This is not to say that these services aren’t needed, but they should be performed according to manufacturer guidelines only.
A detailed manufacturer’s maintenance schedule (this is separate from your manual) is the best and most accurate guide. You may stumble across one in all the unnecessary paperwork you find in your glove box, but ask your repair shop or dealer for a detailed print out of your entire maintenance schedule. If the service center can’t produce one quickly – you’re in the wrong place for your car’s needs.
It’s important to note that those telling us to change our oil every 3,000 miles (the automotive industry) are the same folks who will profit most. This is not to say that oil changes aren’t important – they are. They’re just not as frequently needed as we’re made to believe.