Do we really need to change our oil every 3,000 to 5,000 miles?

No. We do not have to change our oil every 3,000 miles.

Nor do we have to change it every 5,000… 10,000 – even 15,000 miles.

Oil changes – the ultimate snake “oil”

Check this out:

At $60.00 an oil change, that is $2,000.00 over the average life of a car (i.e. about 100,000 miles).

For leased cars, this usually adds up to $750.00.


Much of this money is being flushed down the drain.


Because lab tests prove motor oil does not deteriorate as fast as we think.

Whether we change oil after 3,000 or 15,000 miles, the oil quality remains about the same.

Detergents in the oil clean the inside of our vehicle’s engine.

This cleaning keeps the engine oil dark.

But in reality, the color of the oil has little to do with its current quality and/or lifespan.

Are synthetic oils any better?

Some say all-synthetic oil never sludges…

Additives are used to make the oil stronger and provide higher heat dissipation.

That means in theory, we could go without an oil change for life (although I do not want to be the guinea pig on this test).

Still want proof we do not need to change oil every 3,000 miles?

Just check the owner’s manual.

The European version of my car recommends changing oil every 24,140,160 meters (i.e. 15,000 miles).

Yet the same manual here in the States recommends an oil change every 3,000 miles.

It is the same exact car. (The only difference is the brand of tires.)

Personally, I change oil every 15,000 to 20,000 miles.

I kept this schedule with both of my last Toyota RAV4s. Each had well over 200,000 miles (each) – and the engines ran just fine in the end.

Oil changes and leased vehicles

Leasing a vehicle works well with oil change maintenance (especially when using my KTL system)…

A lot of leases include 2 free oil changes. But I only use one since the average lease is 36 months and 36,000 miles.

By changing the oil just once half way into a lease, we cut the cost of maintenance. We are also adhering to the lease agreement’s maintenance recommendations.