Ford Knocks 3,000-mile Intervals

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Ford issued an automotive maintenance myths statement March 12 that labels the idea that cars need oil changes every three months or 3,000 miles as a myth, though fast lubes caution that such an interval is still smart for many vehicles driven under severe conditions.

That used to be true, but not with newer cars, Ford stated. Because of synthetic oils that dont break down as quickly, consumers actually dont need oil changes as often – more like every 5,000 to 7,500 miles – or even 10,000 on the new 2011 Mustang depending on your driving habits. The 2011 Mustang features a die-cast aluminum deep-sump oil pan that Ford claims provides for up to 10,000-mile oil change intervals

The companys current recommendation is 7,500 miles per oil change, said Ford Car Marketing Manager Robert Parker. Special operating conditions are 5,000 miles, 6 months or 200 hours of engine operation, whichever occurs first, and thats for severe usage like taxis and things of that nature, Parker told Lube Report.

Ford noted that there may be two recommendations for oil change intervals – one for normal driving and one for hard use – and advised checking ones owners manual to be sure. The company touted the cost savings, noting that with extended mileage, consumers may need only two oil changes a year, cutting their bill for oil changes in half and reducing the impact on the environment.

Many fast lubes continue to recommend motor oil changes every 3,000 miles or 3 months as preventive maintenance, especially under severe conditions.

Automotive Oil Change Association Board President Chris Tolsdorf told Lube Report the organization has always advocated following manufacturer recommendations, and more specifically, following severe service recommendations.

What were finding out is that the average person changing oil comes in at about 4,500 to 4,600 miles, Scotti Lee, head of the AOCAs Technical Advisory Committee, told Lube Report. Thats across the board. I talk to a lot of people across the United States, and theyre seeing that bracket right in there. In some areas it gets lower than that because they get into towns, with stop-and-go traffic, heat and stuff, so those [oil change reminder] lights will generally pop earlier. Lee owns Oil Change Express in New Castle, Delaware.

While he wouldnt be surprised by automotive manufacturers increasing their recommended oil change intervals on new cars, Lee emphasized the importance of considering oil filter condition as well. If you go to your oil filter companies and start talking to them, their oil filters – on severe driving – really start to get loaded up by 4,500 to 5,000 miles, he explained. Its kind of self defeating if you want to run 7,500 or 10,000 miles on it, to use a standard filter.

In June 2008, General Motors joined the California Environmental Protection Agency and its Integrated Waste Management board in the states 3,000 Mile Myth campaign to educate drivers on reducing motor oil consumption by following their automakers recommended oil drain intervals. GM had stated that the traditional 3,000-mile oil change recommendation was based on engine and oil technologies of the past.

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