Consumer expert Clark Howard’s column appears here each Thursday in conjunction with Deal Spotter, a weekly print section in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
It’s a message that has been steered at drivers for years: Change your engine oil every 3,000 miles. Mechanics used to say you could be damaging your engine if you don’t. But Edmunds.com recently said it’s a waste of money if your car is 2002 or newer.
The recommended interval for oil changes nowadays? Roughly 7,500 miles. That’s a bit more than the traditional 3,000. But consult your owner’s manual — you’ll see most will tell you it’s acceptable to go somewhere between 5,000 and 7,500 miles (and some even up to 10,000 miles) between oil changes under normal conditions. Again, this advice only applies to cars 2002 or newer.
You should still stick to the 3,000-mile interval if you drive under severe conditions, or if you have an older vehicle. What exactly are severe conditions? Typically they’re