Your regular mechanic or car dealership would have you believe that you should be coming in for - at the very least - an oil change, every 2 - 3 months. While over-zealous and opportunistic, you can't blame them for trying!
So what's the real deal? How often should you change the oil? Have the big service? Rotate tires? Get new tires?
Your first big service check-up with a new car can come at roughly 15,000 miles and then about every 15,000 after that. The first of these shouldn't bring too much sticker shock - it will include oil change, tire rotation and full inspection of key parts. Along the way, as your car gets older, the list of service items will grow (even if nothing is seriously wrong) and a regular appointment might run you close to $500. More, obviously, if something needs a fix. This is the main reason so many people keep trading in their vehicles at around 60,000 miles - at that sweet spot between still has value and needs a ton of work.
As far as oil changes - yeah, you need 'em. Your mechanic may say every 3000 miles and - true - this was the gold standard for decades. Over the last 10 - 15 years, however, both vehicles and oils have improved drastically. You can easily go 5000 - 7500 miles between oil changes.
Of course, if something *feels* off - check it out. You know your car. Listen to your instincts, read your owner's manual and find a mechanic you TRUST.
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