Oil change every 3000 km? You could throw away your money

Regular repair and maintenance of the car is essential. Without them, your car may not survive very long. We’ve all seen the horror stories of vehicles without an oil change and engines full of sludge. However, people may not be aware that it is possible to over-maintain your vehicle. While excessive maintenance has no adverse effects on your car, it can have a negative impact on your wallet. Here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to maintenance.

How often should you change your oil and other fluids?

Checking Oil Levels | Paul Aiken/Digital First Media/Boulder Daily Camera via Getty Images

AAA reports that a common misconception about oil change intervals is a holdover from the automotive past.

Previously, oil changes every 3,000 miles were standard. However, modern oil and engines have made that short drain interval a thing of the past. Instead, if you look in your vehicle’s owner’s manual, you’ll often find that your manufacturer recommends between 5,000 and 7,500 miles. Some manufacturers even recommend every 10,000 miles. Considering the average annual mileage of 15,000 miles, that could save you up to four oil changes a year! That’s $200 in savings, assuming a $50 oil change.

A mechanic dressed in red replaces the oil filter of a 1985 Mercedes-Benz

A mechanic replaces the oil filter of a 1985 Mercedes-Benz | JOEY MCLEISTER/Star Tribune via Getty Images

Other fluids, including coolant, gear oil in the transmission, and brake fluids also have shelf life. Generally, a car will very rarely need brake fluid flushed and replaced as long as the brake system is not leaking. However, the coolant should be flushed from time to time. Fortunately, modern engine coolant is good for up to 10 years or 150,000 miles, depending on the manufacturer. However, some still recommend a 50,000 mile coolant flush. Like brakes, transmissions generally do not need to be flushed unless the manufacturer recommends it or there is a problem with the transmission. As with oil changes, check your owner’s manual for manufacturer recommendations.

Generally, if you have a problem with the engine, transmission, or any other system that uses fluid or oil, flushing or replacing it won’t fix the problem. If your car isn’t running smoothly or your transmission isn’t shifting properly, a professional diagnosis is the only way to get real answers to your problem. So if you’re not mechanically inclined, it’s best not to start spending money on replacing fluids as a solution.

Spark plugs, air filters and air conditioning

Antifreeze poured into a radiator

Coolant| By Ryan McFadden/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images)

Another commonly replaced vehicle component is its spark plugs. Some manufacturers may recommend a shorter interval, but modern spark plugs can last up to 100,000 miles. Unless you’re suffering from a misfire or a mechanic has diagnosed a bad spark plug, there’s no need to change them regularly. As with everything else, use the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended change interval.

You may find that the places where you change your oil will offer engine and cabin air filter replacements. However, this is probably not necessary unless your vehicle has passed the recommended change interval or regularly drives in very dusty and dirty conditions. If your filter gets a little dirty often, you can simply remove the extra dirt and debris.

Finally, if your air conditioning system is blowing cold air, then that’s good! There is no need to have the system serviced regularly. As long as a vehicle’s air conditioning system is properly sealed, it can last for decades.

Overall, most regular maintenance items last a lot longer than people think. However, this does not mean that we recommend that you postpone regular maintenance. As this was a recurring theme in this article, be sure to check your manufacturer’s recommendations for all of these items and follow them accordingly. Also, if your vehicle is running well and you haven’t reached the mileage or deadline for any of these services, don’t get them! As the old saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

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