CalRecycle challenges 3,000-mile oil change

Should motorists change their vehicle’s oil every 3,000 miles? Not necessarily, according to the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle), which announced the “Check Your Number” campaign to encourage drivers to rethink their current habits and only change motor oil as needed.

The campaign kicked off with launch events in San Francisco on November 5 and Santa Monica on November 12 to help drivers do the right thing for their vehicles and the environment.

“With significant advances in auto technology, it’s important for drivers to understand that changing motor oil every 3,000 miles is an old default that may not be relevant for their vehicle,” said CalRecycle director Caroll Mortensen. “Frequent oil changes do not necessarily mean better performance or longer engine life. By following the manufacturer’s recommendations, you will not only do right by your ride, but you’ll also benefit the environment by using fewer resources.”

A recent survey by CalRecycle indicates almost 15 million Californians change their motor oil every 3,000 miles or less. However, many cars can go farther. For example, Toyota recommends an oil change every 5,000 miles for a 2005 Tacoma pickup, while General Motors recommends 7,500 miles for its 2007 Chevrolet Malibu.

Reduced motor oil consumption reduces the risk of environmental damage. Changing motor oil according to manufacturer specifications would reduce motor oil demand in California by approximately 10 million gallons per year.

Motorists can take the first step by checking their owner’s manual or by visiting to find recommended oil change intervals for popular vehicle models.