Oil change adage changing with new cars, new oil

By Morgan Chesky - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - It's the automotive adage that's been passed down for generations. Every three months or three thousand miles means time for an oil change.

It's the car maintenance clockwork Lori Ricketts has relied on since she turned 16. "[I follow] what the manual says, 3 months or 3 thousand miles," said Ricketts.

Now instead of checking the sticker Lori said she looks to a computer. "It comes on and tells you when the oil needs to be changed."

A quick check showed Lori's last oil change at 8 thousand miles ago. "I don't have any problems with it, if I wait until the light comes on I don't have any problem," said Welch.

At Super Lube in Whitehouse Certified A.S.E. Mechanic Bobby Welch says the rising mileage isn't an accident. "The computers are set up on more mileage because they're set up on normal driving conditions which is getting on the highway setting your cruise control and keeping your speed the whole time."

Under ideal conditions new cars with new synthetic oil can last as long as advertised, but with constant starting and stopping Welch says the recommended mileage starts dropping. "Once it breaks down it just starts to get dirty and after 5,000 miles the motor is just going to start to use a little oil anyway."

Wait too long and the money saved from fewer oil changes may soon be going back into your engine.  Older vehicles that have used conventional oil still need to follow the 3 or 3 rule unless they switch to synthetic.

"A synthetic oil is the best oil you can put in your vehicle for your fuel mileage, and protects your motor, and extends your engine life and everything on it," said Welch.

Some nationwide auto chains are already catching on. The New York Times reports Jiffy Lube has started a pilot program where mechanics tell customers what the manufacturer suggests rather than the blanket 3 month, 3 thousand mile rule.

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