Owning a Car: What Newbies Need to Know

Three Oil Change Myths You Need To Know About

by Avery Ellis

Whether your vehicle is brand new or several decades old, you have to deal with oil changes. You may have always approached oil changes based upon what you were taught years ago, or what you saw your parents do. However, yesterday's oil change rules are no longer necessarily true. In fact, there are several very pervasive myths regarding oil changes today. Be aware of what your vehicle really needs by knowing the three most common oil change myths today!

3000 Mile Oil Changes

Perhaps the most famous of all oil change myths is the "3,000 mile rule." This rule was so named because many oil change service providers recommend sticking to a strict oil change schedule, with an oil change every 3,000 miles. According to Edmunds, changing the motor oil that often is actually unnecessary for virtually any vehicle.

Most modern vehicles require oil changes only every 7,500 or 10,000 miles. In some cases, the number of miles between oil changes could be as high as 15,000 miles. Refer to your vehicle owner's manual to get the proper oil change interval for your car. Even if you hear differently from an oil change facility, your vehicle manufacturer is the ultimate authority in this situation.

Black Equals Bad

Another common oil change myth involves the color of the oil. You may have heard that black motor oil is bad motor oil. This is actually untrue. Today's motor oils are designed to take harmful carbon deposits out of the engine. When the carbon deposits are pulled into the oil, they turn the oil black.

This doesn't mean that the oil is less effective, because the carbon is harmless to the oil. While the carbon could do considerable damage to your engine, it only changes the motor oil by turning it black. A black motor oil is an oil that is doing its job of carbon removal properly, according to Shell.

Additives Are Essential

There are a number of motor oil additives that you can purchase, and the advertised benefits may make them seem virtually essential. In fact, you don't need to buy additives for your engine oil.

Additives often don't work, and certainly can't achieve their often lofty claims. The Federal Trade Commission has actually taken action against some of the companies that sell such engine oil additives, due to false claims about the product's effectiveness and abilities.

Some of the problems that motor oil additives are meant to solve are quite rare, for example "engine sludge." Unless your vehicle is improperly or erratically maintained, you generally won't have motor oil issues. As long as you follow the oil change instructions from your vehicle's manufacturer, your motor oil should not need supplementation. Contact a company like Bill Smith's Auto for more information.