Some urban legends are not only persistent, but also so ridiculous that you can’t help but to scratch your head sometimes, and the ones concerning your car’s motor oil might be some of the worst around.
When it comes to car, we here at AutoTribute hate urban legends and go out of way to dispel them. We got in touch with the automotive experts at Don Vance Dodge Jeep Ram to validate the truthfulness of the 6 most common urban legends regarding engine oil, and here is what they had to say:
1. If the oil on the dipstick is dirty, change it: According to experts, this is not true. Oil getting dark doesn’t necessarily mean it’s gotten “dirty”. In fact, motor oil contains additives that change color as they work. The darkening may most likely be the result of the oil just doing its work and not necessarily an indication of it needing to be changed. For peace of mind, consult the manufacturer’s recommendations first before wasting money.
2. Change your oil every 3,000 miles: This may have been true 20 to 30 years ago when motor was less refined, but it’s nothing more than a myth today. The vast majority of modern cars could go more than four times the miles before needing an oil change, although experts recommend that you make the change at the designated intervals specified by your car’s manufacturer.
3. Always change your oil before long trips: There is actually some truth to this; however, it may not just be the oil that needs your attention. It is always a good idea to look your entire car over before long drives, especially with an eye out for possible failure points like belts, radiator hoses and fluid levels. Realizing you need an oil change during the trip is something you don’t want, so it’s a not a bad idea to do so before you hit the road.
4. When you buy a new car, change your oil at 1000 miles: Engine oil during the first 1,000 miles of driving do show elevated “wear-in” metal levels; however, the manufacturers are well aware of this and address the issue by putting special oils in their cars during the break-in period. Once again, it’s best to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations, or contact your local dealer if that’s not possible.
5. Once you switch to synthetic oil, you always have to use it: This is a big fat myth and, thus, untrue. In fact, the line between synthetic oil and petroleum-based oil is blurring because the two types of oil are often blended together nowadays. It’s safe to switch back and forth as you please.
6. Some oils are better than others: While this is generally true, the difference in quality between oils are pretty minor. All that is most important is that you buy oil that is the proper viscosity and meets ASE standards, which almost all do today.