Think Oil Changes Every 3,000 Miles Are All You Need?
Over the past several years, there’s been a lot of attention paid to getting an oil change every 3,000 miles. Lube shops that do oil changes and services are now prevalent and accepted in the industry, but is getting an oil service on your car every 3,000 miles all the preventive maintenance you need? The answer is no. A simple check of your vehicle’s service manual recommendations versus the services offered at a quick lube shop is probably all the evidence you’ll need to learn that. If you have limited your vehicle’s preventive maintenance to just quick lube oil changes/services, then your car isn’t getting the care and attention it needs. And chances are, even if you are getting other things checked and fluids topped off at a quick oil and lube place, some pretty important safety items are probably being overlooked.
Most quick lube places offer an oil service package that includes an oil and filter change, a check of critical fluids (with a top off) and a few other items. But, there are some systems that need to be checked more frequently and thoroughly that aren’t typically included on the quick lube checklist. This includes:
1) Brakes – A critical safety system on your car, most quick lube shops simply check the fluid level. However, in addition to checking the fluid level at regular intervals, your brake pads and discs, lining and drums, brake lines, parking brakes, front and rear axle boots, and axle shaft joints need to be inspected.
2) Tires – Some quick lubes check your tire pressures, but what about the actual tires? The condition of the tires needs to be inspected at least annually, not just the tread thickness, but also the whole contact surface and the walls of the tire. Also your tires should be rotated regularly. This is not a part of the standard quick lube oil change service.
3) Steering and Suspension – Most manufacturers recommend that the steering and suspension be checked at regular intervals particularly if your vehicle is used under severe driving conditions. To check the steering, there has to be a road test. When was the last time your quick lube shop took your vehicle out for a road test?
At the other end of the scale, you might not need to change your oil every 3,000 miles. Some manufacturers recommend longer oil change intervals, and with some new synthetic oils you could lengthen your oil change periods. Now, this doesn’t mean you should stop changing your oil regularly, but talk to a good qualified auto repair facility (not a quick lube shop) and ask them how often you need to change your oil. It all depends on your type of driving and the oil used, but it might be possible to extend your oil changes to 7,500 miles or even longer. This will saving you money, gas, and time, and help the environment.
Just be sure your car is getting the right level of care at the right service intervals. It’s critical for your safety!
Additional posts by Brian England
- New Diet, New Exercise Program, or New Car?, 05 Feb 2013 in Business
- Don’t be Sold Non-Essential Services, 06 Dec 2012 in Business
- Auto Tips and Tricks, 08 Jun 2012 in Home & Garden
- Oil Change or Service or Both?, 12 Apr 2012 in Home & Garden
- Should I Buy an SUV?, 02 Feb 2012 in Home & Garden
- How to Drive in Snow, 05 Dec 2011 in Home & Garden
- Increasing Your Miles Per Gallon, 07 Aug 2011 in Home & Garden
- Beyond Green Car Repair to the Wood Elves Watershed Project, 02 Jun 2011 in Home & Garden
- Don’t Overlook the Basics, 01 Apr 2011 in Business&Feature