Oil changes are often recommended when a certain mileage or time limit is reached. The most familiar interval is 3,000 miles or three months, but what’s more important β€” the mileage or the time?

Experts say trust the odometer, not the calendar. Driving has far more of an impact on your engine oil; if a car is sitting, there is less need to replace the engine oil. Oil-change intervals used to be much more frequent than they are today. Around 50 years ago, you would have had to change your oil every 500 miles. Today, the drain intervals for some oils dwarf even the 3,000-mile standard, with some special performance oils recommending changes at 15,000 up to 35,000 miles.

Where and how you drive can influence how often you need to change your oil. Factors include extreme heat, towing a trailer and driving where there’s dust and sand

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