Official CA Agency CalRecycle Declares War on Car Dealerships: Says DON’T Change Motor Oil Every 3000 Miles – Let it Slide

The Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle), a division of our California Department of Conservation, doesn’t want you changing your car oil as much. They want you to follow the recommendation in your car’s owner’s manual, as opposed to your service manager’s “every 3000 miles no matter what” mantra.

(I don’t think car dealerships and oil change places will like this one bit.)

Anyway, CalRecycle is coming to town tomorrow to pay for free parking for motorists who pledge to increase their oil change intervals. (But don’t anybody tell StreetsBlog SF about the free parking reward – they won’t like that at all. Srsly.)

It’s called the Check Your Number campaign

All the deets, after the jump

“CalRecycle “Check Your Number” Campaign Challenges 3,000-Mile Oil Change Habit

SACRAMENTO, Nov. 4, 2011 – Should motorists change their vehicle’s oil every 3,000 miles? Not necessarily, according to the Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle), which today announced the “Check Your Number” campaign to encourage drivers to rethink their current habits and only change motor oil as needed.

The campaign kicks off with launch events in San Francisco on Nov. 5 and Santa Monica on Nov. 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.

To kickoff the campaign, CalRecycle will take over high-traffic parking areas at San Francisco’s AT&T Park and the Santa Monica Pier near Los Angeles for one day, offering free parking to drivers who pledge to check their owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommended oil change interval, and display that number on a poster on their windshield. Creating a sea of “Check Your Number” supporters, CalRecycle will challenge Californians to re-evaluate their oil change habits.

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. Additional tips and information can be found on the CalRecycle Facebook page and @CalRecycle on Twitter.

Do your part for your vehicle and the environment and Check Your Number today!

CalRecycle is the state’s leading authority on recycling, waste reduction, and product reuse. CalRecycle plays an important role in the stewardship of California’s vast resources and promotes innovation in technology to encourage economic and environmental sustainability. For more information, visit”

“Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

I could not find my vehicle listed on the Check Your Number widget on the home page.

The Check Your Number widget contains information for most vehicles made from 2000-present day. Not all makes, models, and years are available. If you cannot find your vehicle in our database, please check your owner’s manual (under “Maintenance”) or consult your authorized dealership for the proper oil change interval “number.”

How can I find out my car maker’s recommendations for oil change frequency?

First, check your car’s owner manual for official and thorough information on the proper oil change interval for your vehicle and driving conditions. As a secondary resource, you can use our Check Your Number widget on our home page, which has the recommended oil change interval “numbers” for the most vehicle models from 2000-2012. Finally, contact your vehicle’s auto manufacturer or authorized dealership for more information.

Learn more about finding your proper oil change interval under the What Your ‘Number’ Means page.

How often should motorists change their car’s oil?

It depends on the car’s make, model and year, as well as driving conditions. Many of today’s automakers recommend oil changes at 5,000, 7,000 or even 10,000 miles. Drivers should check the automaker’s recommendation by reviewing the car’s user manual.

Will changing the oil less frequently harm a car’s engine?

Advances in motor vehicles and oil make it possible to go much longer between oil changes without harming a car’s engine. However, motorists should follow car maker recommendations for oil change frequency based on driving conditions.

How does going longer between oil changes affect a car’s warranty?

Following the car maker’s guidelines for oil change frequency will not affect a vehicle’s warranty.

How much used oil is generated in California each year?

According to statistics available from CalRecycle, in 2005, the latest year for which information is available, approximately 153.5 million gallons of used oil is generated annually. Only 59 percent of that oil was recycled.

How do driving conditions affect the distance motorists can go between oil changes?

Automaker oil change recommendations differ depending upon driving conditions, as well as car make, model and year. According to car manufacturers, drivers considered “severe” should change their oil more frequently or at shorter mileage intervals than drivers considered “normal.” Severe drivers are those that drive in one of the following conditions in a typical week:

Extensive idling or in stop-and-go traffic.
Cold weather, less than 10 degrees.
Extreme heat, more than 90 degrees.
Extreme humidity.
Repeated short-distance trips of less than five miles.
Towing a trailer or hauling heavy materials.
How can used oil harm California’s environment?
Used motor oil poses a great risk to the environment. Many environmental problems are caused by improper disposal of used motor oil, because it is insoluble, persistent, and contains heavy metals and toxic chemicals. Used oil that is not recycled often finds its way into California’s precious waterways—our lakes, streams and oceans—via the storm water system. Used oil in waterways threatens fish, waterfowl, insects and aquatic life. And one gallon of used oil can pollute one million gallons of water.

How can Check Your Number help me?

Less is more!

Less frequent oil changes means more oil saved as one of our precious environmental resources.

You’ll save money by changing your oil less often!”

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