Hey folks, Cooley here.
Got another one of your emails about high-tech cars and modern driving.
This one comes in from Carthick M in New York.
His question's about oil changes.
I bet you're gonna like this one.
He says, I bought a 2017 RAV4 Limited and Toyota says I only have to change the oil every 10,000 miles.
I'm also an auto mechanic student, he says.
And my professor believes no oil can last that long.
I just wanna know what's the best because I plan on keeping this RAV4 for as long as I can.
All right, Karthik, this is one of the great durable argument topics in auto-dom.
Let me wade into it.
if I dare.
First of all, as you noticed, you car says change the oil every 10,000 miles.
Some cars go as high as 15,000.
7500 is considered short these days and yet the quick lube places, and a lot of dealer service lanes, keep telling us you're a bad parent if you don't change your oil every 3,000 miles.
But let me tell you, that old 3,000 mile chestnut has been around since I got my license in the 70s.
I gotta believe things have changed a little bit, right?
Well indeed they have.
First of all, you've got a very different kind of an engine out there today.
Different medallegry and very tight tolerances that create less slop for all of those parts to bang around, therefore needing less of the cushioning of oil.
And modern cars often have oil change indicators.
Basically a calculation fed by sensors that take into account how much you drive The temperature cycles of the engine and the typical engine RPMs.
Another huge one out there is the improvements in oil themselves.
This is a synthetic motor oil.
It's got a lot of synthetic compounds added that get away from the worst thing that happens to oil, when its viscosity breaks down.
When these long molecular chains that make oil slippery and kind of thick start to come apart because of pressure and heat, and then it becomes frankly a lighter grade of oil.
Now that's a bad thing.
But the synthetics resist that really well.
Another key factor [UNKNOWN] is that cars have really sophisticated temperature control these days.
You almost never see a car boiling over on the side of the road like you did a number of years ago, and the temperature gauge in your car, it's kind of information theater at this point.
The car's engine rarely drifts out of perfectly assigned range, except in very unusual conditions.
Some car makers don't even put temp gauges anymore, they just have a cold engine idiot light, and then they just go away.
So the idea that oil is subject to really wild swings in temperature isn't so much the case anymore either.
That leads to long oil change intervals also.
Now once we get past some of those technological issues that have been fundamental in Recent years we get into market and behavior issues.
there's this 300,000 mile crowd, people that tell me once in a while, I'm going to keep my car for 2 or 300,000, that's why I'm changing the oil all the time.
You're not going to keep your car 300,000 miles, by the time you've got that on the clock, that car is so obsolete in today's climate of technological innovation, believe me, you're not going to want it.
Or at the very least it's gonna be unconscionably dangerous.
Then we get to this other idea, this myth that car makers want their cars to wear out relatively soon so they can sell you another one.
Do you know anyone who has a car with an engine that wears out even remotely foreseeably and is gonna go back and buy that same car?
That car maker's not gonna see them again.
So this doesn't make any sense.
And then you've got this other one, the lease factor.
This is a really big one.
Car makers lease a ton of their cars these days, and that means they get a ton of their cars back.
And they have to resell or release them again under an extended factory warranty.
Every certified pre-owned Lexus comes with 100,000 miles
The last thing they want are cars coming back with one out engines because the oil wasn't changed often enough.
So, believe me, I have faith in the OEM oil intervals.
I wouldn't surpass them by going too long, and I might change them a little bit soon.
Mostly so I wouldn't forget.
But I definitely wouldn't do the 300,000 mile thing.
Keep those emails coming, I'm here to answer your questions about high tech cars and modern driving.