Synthetic oil requires changing anywhere from 5,000 to 15,000 miles, while drivers generally change traditional oil every 3,000 miles. The length of time between oil changes varies depending on the make and model of cars, along with age and the oil ingredients. Improved technology and tolerance levels of modern engines also increases the amount of time necessary between oil changes in newer vehicles.
Historically, car manufacturers and auto mechanics established the 3,000 mile limit as an engine oil change guideline for all vehicles. However, synthetic oils, in combination with improved interior components, make that number obsolete. Most cars come with oil change sensors, which light up when cars require service. Sometimes these sensors go for 10,000 miles or more without indicating it is time for an oil change. However, many mechanics still place oil change stickers in drivers' cars for oil changes at 3,000 to 5,000 miles.
For an accurate estimate of how often to bring in cars for services, drivers should contact their individual owner's manual or wait for their car's oil change light. These sensors also consider other factors, such as driving style, making them accurate predictors of when drivers truly need new oil. Some companies, such as Mobil, put guarantees on their oil products, which lets drivers know the maximum distance they can go before needing an oil change.