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State says many drivers change oil too often

An article in SF Gate (“State says many drivers change oil too often”) reports what many of us have thought for quite awhile: there is no real advantage in changing our engine oil more often than recommended by the manufacturer (note: not the dealer) and there are considerable environmental costs in doing so.

An excerpt:

Like many drivers hoping to coax a long, productive life out of a car, Durand Gist, a mailman from Castro Valley, faithfully changes the oil on his vehicle every 3,000 miles.

“That’s what they recommend – 3,000 miles, right?” asked Gist, saying he got that advice “probably from the oil-changing place. It’s good for their business, right?”

But a new state campaign is urging Gist and fellow California drivers to ignore both conventional wisdom and probably also that clear plastic sticker in the corner of their windshields. The message: Put off that oil change for a couple of thousand miles or more.

“Used oil is so much of a problem in California that if you can change your oil in less-frequent intervals, you not only save yourself money, you help save the environment,” said Jamie Cameron-Harley, a spokeswoman for the California Integrated Waste Management Board, sponsor of “The 3,000-Mile Myth” campaign.

While you certainly should follow the manufacturer’s schedule for changing the oil in your engine, you should think twice about increasing the frequency of your oil changes beyond these recommendations if you think you are going to improve the performance or life of your engine. You almost certainly won’t see any benefit at all, and you will contribute to excess oil consumption and recycling problems.

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February 10, 2008 - Posted by | Commentary, Environment

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