Updated May 18th, 2017

Sterling, Virginia - This may seem like a simple question to answer, but due to the many different theories floating around, it can be difficult to separate fact from fiction. One of the most common assumptions in the vehicle maintenance world is that you have to get your oil changed every 3,000 miles--in fact, this axiom has been repetitively drilled into our heads for so long that few people even question whether or not it's even true. Surprisingly, if you check the owner's manual of the average modern vehicle, you might find that the 3,000-mile interval is no longer accurate.

Due to the various technological advances that have been made in engine materials as well as motor oil, many manufacturers now recommend an oil change interval from 5,000 to 7,500 miles--and sometimes more--for modern vehicles. For example, Porsche, Volkswagen and Ford all recommend changing your oil every 10,000 miles. Using synthetic oil, BMW suggests that owners should change the oil in their vehicles every 15,000 miles. Keep in mind that oil change intervals will vary based on the manufacturer as well as the type of engine, so make sure to check the owner's manual for your vehicle to find out not only how often you should change your oil, but also what type of oil you should use for your particular engine. Do your best to stick with using only the type of oil recommended by the manufacturer; otherwise, you could run into a situation where your engine is not being properly protected from friction and heat, which can greatly reduce engine life and diminish the overall performance of your vehicle.

*Also, keep in mind, many manufacturers recommend changing the oil every xxx miles or every 6 months - whichever comes first.  This includes the oil filter.

Your driving habits will also factor into the frequency of your oil changes. If you regularly commute in heavy stop-and-go traffic (such as in large urban areas), you will probably need to change your oil a little more frequently than the person who logs a relatively low amount of miles per week. If going 7,500 or even 10,000 miles between oil changes seems like a little too much, try sticking with a time-based schedule instead, such as changing your oil every six months. No matter which interval you choose, it's always a good idea to check your oil (using the dipstick) at least once a month to ensure that your oil is at acceptable levels.

Don't take our word for it - Myth Busters agree!

For the vast majority of modern vehicles, the 3,000-mile oil change interval is no longer necessary, and is more than likely a waste of money.

However, when it's time for you to get this staple of vehicle maintenance taken care of, having your vehicle's oil changed on a consistent basis is paramount to maintaining your vehicle for optimum and long lasting performance. Bring your car to your local oil change Sterling, Virginia auto repair shop to make the process as quick and easy as possible.

*Always check your owner’s manual for your vehicle model’s specific instructions before attempting any type of repair.