An oil and filter change involves draining out the old motor oil and replacing it with fresh, new motor oil. The oil filter also gets replaced at the same time.
Should I do this service when it's recommended?
In general, yes. Changing your vehicle's oil is one of the most important things you can do to avoid bringing large bags of money to your mechanic later on.
However, there's a lot of controversy about exactly when engine oil gets old and how often it should be replaced with new oil. Because there are many factors at work -- how you drive, the condition and age of the engine, the external environment you drive in, and stop-and-go versus highway driving -- it's an inexact science. Owner's manual recommendations for oil and filter changes vary from 3,000 to 10,000 miles.
We recommend that you change your oil and filter every 5,000 miles. That's our best estimate. It may be too soon for many people and too late for a few, but for the vast majority, 5,000-mile oil changes will help your engine last to a ripe, old age.
You may want to consider changing your oil more frequently if:
You drive like a knucklehead: jackrabbit starts, heavy acceleration or high-speed driving
You live where the climate is extremely hot or cold