California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle)

Used Motor Oil

Check Your Number, Because 3,000 Miles May Be Too Early to Change Your Oil

CalRecycle’s new motor oil campaign, Check Your Number, urges Californians to check the recommended oil change interval for their car in their owner’s manual. They’ll likely save time and money in service costs and do the environment a big favor — without hurting their car or compromising auto performance in the least.

The old standard of 3,000 miles is woefully out of date and no longer applies to most cars. Many cars, even older models, can be driven up to 5,000, 7,500, 10,000, and even 15,000 miles before needing an oil change.

By volume, used motor oil is one of the largest hazardous waste streams in California: Almost 115 million gallons are sold in the state each year. While about 70 percent is collected after use, it continues to be a serious environmental problem because it is insoluble and contains heavy metals and toxic chemicals. It makes its way into lakes, streams, and oceans via the storm water system and endangers fish, waterfowl, insects, and other aquatic life. In addition, one gallon of used motor oil can foul the taste of 1 million gallons of water.

Drivers can do their part to help the environment by simply looking up the recommended oil change intervals for their cars and changing their habits accordingly. Advances in modern engines and improved oil formulas have made the 3,000-mile oil change obsolete. Under normal driving conditions, cutting back to the automaker’s recommended intervals will not affect your car’s engine, its performance, or your warranty.

Check your number today and save time, money, and the environment! Visit CheckYourNumber.org to learn more.

Disclaimer: Please check your owner's manual for the manufacturer's recommendations for how often you should change your oil. CalRecycle does not make recommendations regarding oil change frequency for any specific make or model of vehicle, and is not liable for any damages caused by the failure to follow manufacturer's recommendations and specifications.

Last updated: February 18, 2014
Used Oil Recycling Program, http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/UsedOil/
Contact: UsedOilHHW@calrecycle.ca.gov (916) 341-6457