CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Question about 3,000 mile trip

Hello,



I’m considering driving from KY to NM and back this summer and my question is



If I change the oil right before I leave will I need to do it again as soon as I get back? Or can it wait another say, 1000 miles?



I was just curious

Highway driving is the least punishing on the engine and transmission. Feel free to give the oil change that extra 1000 miles without fear. Unless you plan to average 100mph+.

I was about to say, going through parts of Oklahoma and the north end of texas going thru Amarillo I was planning to open it up a little. It’s a 99 Accord.

I would (and do) go 6000 miles on this kind of use, no problem, on my 96 ES300. What’s your manual say?

It’s not complicated. If your owner’s manual says to change the oil every 3,000 miles, then you need to change it when you get back. If your owner’s manual says to change the oil every 4,000 miles, then you can wait another 1,000 miles.

Other than agreeing with others about the oil change interval I would only add this.
If you’ve never traveled this route before I strongly suggest you avoid I-40 in Oklahoma City during the morning and evening rush. Perpetual road construction and a NASCAR mentality makes it pretty brutal at times.

Western OK to Albuquerque is about as much of a screaming bore as can be found. Drink coffee. :slight_smile:

There are very few vehicles that need to have their oil changed every 3,000 miles. Consult your owner’s manual for the recommended oil change interval. 7,500 miles is routine on modern cars, and some can go 10,000 between oil changes.

Changing every 3,000 miles is a waste of money.

The oil change interval that is required depends on the type of driving the car sees. Mostly highway means it can go longer between changes.

In some cases (severe short hop/stop and go driving), even every 3k miles is not often enough. When you hear of a sludge complaint failure to change the oil on a more regular basis is generally the cause of it.

I change my Mobil 1 synthetic and filter every 5-6k miles. I travel to Florida every year and usually tack on 4500 miles. I’ll let it go another 3k miles before changing it again because only 3 months will have passed. I see no evidence of engine wear after 155k miles.

Long term tests done by Consumer Reports about a decade ago showed no difference in engine wear between taxis in the 3k change group and 6k change group. If you live in a dusty area, 3-4k is recommended. If you do a lot of stop and go in town with little highway driving, change it every 3k miles.

If your engine is notorious for sludge buildup (a problem in some older Toyota engines), use synthetic oil and change it every 3k miles.

Thanks for all the responses. I have always changed my oil every 3k for a mix of city and highway (im a college kid who commutes 100 miles home on the weekends). When I get back from the 3,000 mile trip i’ll probably wait another 1-2k change it.

The worst example of irregular oil changes I can think of is my sister in law.
She spends almost all of time in one area; residence, job, shopping, etc. is all within 1 mile and that’s where she pretty much stays.

Her job is 1/4 mile away and only a few times a year does her vehicle even have an opportunity to warm up enough to allow the thermostat to open.
And yet, she changes her oil once a year. In her case, it should be every couple of months.

Yeah it sounds like my old man who drives approx 1-2 miles to work every day. When I “borrow” his car I try to give it an italian tune up. I don’t think he ever gets on the freeway with it. Well it sounds like your SIL’s car will be ready for the junkyard at 100k huh? Why won’t she listen to you? Or did you even bother…

If I lived 1/4 mile away from my job, I’d probably bike there all the time, especially if I lived in OK(she does like in OK, doesn’t she?). But with Ohio weather, I’d probably have a 4wheeler for colder/snowy days.
I have about 5 miles round trip to work and back, my mom is half a mile away and I’m there a few times on the weekends(I walk when it’s nice outside) and I change my oil every 3~4 months, though I do get on the road a bit and let it warm up, but not a lot.

Check your owner’s manual. I don’t think there is a car made today that recommends 3,000 mile changes for your kind of driving. Usually it is 6,000 or more. I have even seen some research indicating that changing the oil too soon can increase wear.