Are You Changing Your Car’s Oil Too Often?

This is a guest post by reader Mary Kay Alegre.

The Jiffy Lube slogan — “Three months or 3,000 miles” — is easy to remember, and I like that. But we may need a new oil-change slogan.

The Los Angeles Times reports that California has launched a Check Your Number campaign to save time, money, and the environment by having car owners change their oil only when needed — and that could be only every 10,000 miles.

I drive a 2005 Honda Odyssey and I realized that I don’t have to change my oil until I hit 7,500 miles or seven months.  I plan to save about $40 a year, a little time, and wasted oil.

How do you find out how little you can change your oil?

1.  Go to Check Your

Plug in your car’s year, make, and model.  Instantly you’ll find out how often you need to change your oil.

2.  Decide whether you drive in severe conditions:

If so, your oil might need to be changed more frequently, so check your owner’s manual. (If you don’t have one, you may be able to find it online by looking up the car manufacturer’s website.)

I think my conditions are about normal. Even though I drive a lot of short trips between school, activities, sports, the grocery store and thrift shop, my trips are more like 10 to 15 minutes.

Moral of the story:

Pay more attention to your car’s indicator light or owner’s manual than your service station’s reminder sticker.

Car manufacturers know exactly how often you need to maintain your car in order to keep it performing well.  Oil changes are usually recommended much less frequently than the Jiffy Lubes of America would have us do it.

“Seven months or 7,500 miles” is my new slogan, and I’m sticking with it.  What’s yours?

MaryKayAllegreFrugal Mama reader Mary Kay Alegre is a Northern Virginia mom of two. Her Midwestern practicality (with a dash of Latin romanticism) helps her stretch every dollar and keep fulfilling her dream of working part-time while having plenty of time for family, friends, fun, and travel.


Photo credits: Mary Kay Alegre

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  • drop Springs May 10, 2015, 10:15 pm

    Some upgrades on these cars can also be done in real life with proper parts you need.

  • kevin@CAlemonlawrules July 15, 2012, 4:47 pm

    Thanks for the info, I’m sure most of us have long thought that the slogan 3 months or 3,000 was correct. This will definitely save people some money and the time required to either do it yourself or to take it somewhere to have it done.

    • Amy July 16, 2012, 7:24 am

      Hi Kevin,

      I agree, this new slogan will save people money and time. Thanks for stopping by!


  • Kathy July 14, 2012, 8:51 am

    Love it! Thanks for sharing a great tip! Can’t wait to plug in my numbers.

    • Amy July 14, 2012, 10:28 am

      Hi Kathy,

      So glad Mary Kay’s tip could be helpful! I know, I was psyched to find out that I didn’t have to change oil nearly as often as I thought.

      Thanks for writing in,

  • Jen @ Jen Spends July 4, 2012, 10:42 pm

    I never get around to having the oil changed when I’m “supposed” to. Now I will happily continue on like I have been without feeling guilty! I just checked the website, and it said every 6,000 for my car (I think that’s about what I was doing anyway)…but if I remember correctly we had synthetic put in the last time, so it can probably go even longer. I hate car maintenance stuff.

    • Amy July 4, 2012, 10:46 pm

      Hi Jen,

      I know, I’m so glad that we can put it off a bit longer!

      Thanks for writing in,

      • NRDA NY October 12, 2014, 9:21 am

        Changing your lightbulbs out for energy saving florescent ones is an easy and great idea. Finding out if you can get power from a renewable source is even better.