There’s also this scenario, but that’s likely due to a thickening additive added to someone’s oil and made for this beautiful oil-flavored Jello mold:

You don’t want that in your engine.

To prevent creating sludgey oil in your car and rendering your car likely useless, you should get an oil change. The recommendation from most dealers and shops used to be to get your oil changed every 5,000 miles or six months, whichever comes first. From my local VW dealer, they typically tell me to come in around 10,000 miles, or once a year. While synthetic oils have been tested to last longer in vehicles, I personally cannot bring myself to reach that 10k mile mark. I’m usually in at 5k.


Also make sure to do some research on where to get your oil change. There are too many horror stories of oil shops cutting holes in an expensive car’s bib (which protects the underside of your car) to get to the oil pan instead of removing it to do the oil change. When in doubt, ask a car friend for a recommendation. And it pains me to say this, but sometimes a dealership isn’t a terrible place to go for your oil change, either, because they will likely know your car, have all the parts needed on hand, and lately for myself, it ends up being cheaper.

I personally like to do oil changes myself, and when I don’t, I use my network of people to find out the best places to go. And doing an oil change is not the easiest maintenance item to do on your own, but once you learn, you’ll be able to do them for life and save yourself the hassle of trusting your car/vehicle in someone else’s hands.


I’m not going to break down how you can do your own oil changes this week. Luckily, we’re a car enthusiast site and we have plenty of education materials referring to why oil changes are important, to this handy video that shows you how to do it all by yourself:

Some Myths About Oil & Oil Changes

Myth: Your car burns oil 

While your car can burn oil, it is not like gasoline where you should need to fill it after a few to several startups. Several years ago, at a dealership I had been working at, we had a customer who would come in weekly to have her oil checked on her older Chevrolet Captiva. Without fail, each time she would come in, her engine would require at least a quart of oil, potentially more. Having run into her so often, I finally asked why she continued to refer to them as “fill ups” and why she was coming in so often. She genuinely and earnestly explained to me that she thought you had to fill up on oil like you do gas for your car.


Typically if you’re losing oil that quickly, there’s a good-sized leak, or in some cases what’s called, “oil consumption.” These engines do tend to burn oil, and it’s a defect. Notoriously the engines in certain Chevrolet Equinoxes had this exact problem. This isn’t normal.

Myth: You have to change your oil every 3,000 miles

While you should change your oil frequently, every 3,000 miles is fairly unnecessary. Due to the nature of synthetic oils, they’re designed to last longer in the engine and keep things running cleaner for longer. The 3,000 miles were typically associated with cars back in the day using the full “dinosaur” oil, or straight up oil, which is not used in vehicles today. I would typically tell customers with new vehicles that 5,000 miles was an acceptable period if they insisted on shorter stints between changes.


Do you have any tips to keeping up on your oil changes, or myths that need addressing? Add them in the comments! And stay tuned next week as we address tires.