CalRecycle Blasts 3,000 Mile Habit


More than 40 percent of California residents still get oil changes every 3,000 miles or less, according to a survey by a state agency whose Check Your Number campaign is encouraging drivers to change their motor oil less often.

In August, the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) conducted a randomly sampled telephone survey of 1,000 Californians about their motor oil change interval habits. The survey was part of research for the agencys Check Your Number campaign, launched in November.

We found that a little over 40 percent of Californians still adhere to 3,000-miles-or-fewer standard, CalRecycle spokesman Mark Oldfield told Lube Report. On average, Californians are changing their oil just under every 4,000 miles. About a quarter of them are changing their oil every 5,000 miles or more.

He noted that a little over half of those who identify themselves as do-it-yourselfers changed their oil every 3,000 miles.

We found that the perception of the 3,000 mile standard as reflective of proper car maintenance was a very strongly held belief, Oldfield said. More than half of the sample and two-thirds of the do-it-yourselfers agreed completely with this statement: Changing oil every 3,000 miles means good car maintenance and will lead to fewer problems down the road.

Oldfield said the agency realized after analyzing survey results that one of the key challenges would be getting people to look at things differently and go by manufacturer recommendations on oil change intervals. Thats the thrust of our campaign, he said. Get people to rethink this long held belief, because obviously there have been such improvements in both the products and the automobiles themselves that have led manufacturers in many cases to recommend longer intervals between oil changes. For us the campaign is really about making information available and allowing people to make the choice thats right for them.

The Check Your Number campaigns web site,, includes a searchable database of automotive manufacturers recommended oil change intervals. Oldfield said the database is a work in progress, and will be updated regularly.

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