The Cult of Cars, Racing and Everything That Moves You.
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What’s The Worst Car Myth?

What car myths make you want to bang your head against a wall?

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Cars are surrounded by wild myths. There are myths about how they work, how they should be cared for and how they should be modified. Some car myths were true, or sort of true a long time ago while others have no basis in reality. Some will just waste your money while others are actively harmful for your car.

One myth that seems to be quite strong even today is the 3,000-mile oil change.

Engines used to be built with loose tolerances and lubricated with dino juice that broke down relatively quickly. Back in those days, you needed to change your oil every few thousand miles. And even that wouldn’t prevent you from needing an engine rebuild down the road.


But those days are gone. Modern engines are put together better and we have access to better oil. Check the owner’s manual of a modern car and you’ll find manufacturer recommendations for oil changes every 7,000 miles, 10,000 miles and sometimes even longer. But, sift through online message boards and Facebook groups and you can still find people telling others to change their oil every 3,000 miles.

Edmunds says the issue stems from the service industry:

Yet this wasteful cycle continues largely because the automotive service industry, while fully aware of the technological advances, continues to preach the 3,000-mile gospel as a way to keep the service bays busy.


Take a modern car to your local oil change place then check out the sticker they place in your windshield afterward. It’ll probably say to take the car back after only 3,000 miles.

Follow the recommendation in your owner’s manual and you’ll be fine. There’s no need to throw away money with unnecessary services. If you think your manual is wrong, then submit your oil for an analysis. Of course, if your ride is old and sloppy, definitely keep following that 3,000-mile change.

So the oil change interval is one, but which myth makes you shake with rage? What’s the worst car myth?