If you want your car to last as long as the payments, dig the owner's manual out of the glove box. Turn to the "Maintenance Instructions" section and read it carefully. Pay particular attention to the page, which discusses oil change intervals. You will note that the manufacturer differentiates between "normal driving conditions" and severe driving conditions". Usually, severe driving conditions are defined as: driving through dusty areas, towing a trailer or boat, frequent idling or idling for long periods, and driving for 10 miles or less in freezing weather. Cars operated under these conditions should have an oil and filter change every 3,000 miles or three months, whichever occurs first. Normal driving conditions occur if your driving does not fall in any one of the severe driving categories. However, less than 25 percent of the cars on the road actually qualify for the normal driving category. In addition, if your car is equipped with a turbocharger, frequent oil changes are a must
Reactionary vs. Preventive Maintenance
Reactionary maintenance is when you continue to drive your car as long as it runs well, neglecting to raise the hood to check the oil or anything else. Then, the first time you notice a change in drive-ability, usually at 50,000 to 60,000 miles, you rush to a repair facility and want the problem fixed in a couple of hours.
Today's cars need regular, preventive maintenance. Even though oil and gasoline have improved, and car manufacturers will try to persuade you that their product has improved, new cars still wear out. Actually, new cars are wearing out faster than old ones due to the lack of preventive maintenance.