Mechanics Veto Extending Oil Changes

Survey conducted by ASE & Valvoline

Statesville, NC (September 7, 2006) - The nation's top mechanics are rejecting the recommendation by some in the auto field that cars can go 5,000 miles or more before oil is changed.

The nation's top mechanics, National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certified Master Automobile technicians, weighed in on this and other issues in a survey conducted by ASE and Valvoline, a leading maker of premium motor oil and car care brands. Other issues in the survey, fielded in April, include:

  • Current state of the American auto industry
  • Controversial recommendation and trend toward longer intervals between oil changes
  • Costs to car owners of delayed maintenance

"Certified Master Automobile Technicians are the best of the best," said ASE President Ron Weiner. "They are on the front lines of taking care of today's vehicles and they have definite thoughts on how motorists can participate in making their cars and trucks run better and last longer."

Oil Change Frequency

Mechanics view oil as the lifeblood of the car engine, with 84 percent saying not getting a regular oil change can cause the most problems for a vehicle, when compared to other maintenance issues. Sixty percent of the ASE certified master technicians said the oil should be changed at 3,000 miles - the longtime, recommended standard. Only 29 percent said between 3,000-5,000 miles is okay. Acceptability of 5,000 to 10,000 miles before an oil change is virtually non-existent at two percent.

According to the survey, Valvoline remains the number one choice of ASE Master Automobile Technicians for use in their own cars and trucks, and is the brand of motor oil most recommended by them to customers, friends and relatives.

"The message from the top mechanics in the country comes out loud and clear," said Valvoline Marketing Director Bryan Emrich. "Changing oil with quality motor oil, like Valvoline, at regular intervals is the best way to prevent damage to your car's engine and keep more money in your pocket."

Emrich said regular oil changes protect the engine and reduce sludge, which can impact engine performance and avoid costly repairs."

"In 2001, I won my first five NASCAR races in the Truck Series with ASE on the hood of my Dodge, and through that partnership I learned that ASE Master Automobile Technicians are the best of the best," said Riggs, driver of the No. 10 Valvoline Dodge. "I have always made it a point to take their advice and now my daily driver has over 100,000 miles on it. I replace my Valvoline Motor Oil every 3,000 miles and don't try to stretch it. That's the level of protection and performance I need to make it to 200,000."

Alternative Fuels: Matter of When, Not If

The technician's are divided in their opinion about when alternative fuels will replace gasoline in most American automobiles, but they universally believe it will happen, according to the survey.

"Clearly alternative fuels are on the minds of expert mechanics, just as they are capturing public and major automaker's attention as gas prices continue to rise and stay at higher than traditional levels," said Emrich.

Asked when most cars will be fueled by alternative fuels, the ASE mechanics predicted the following:

  • 14 percent within five years
  • 26 percent in five to 10 years
  • 31 percent in 10 to 15 years
  • 28 percent in more than 15 years

Only 1 percent said it would never happen. "Mechanics are the front line of car care and good predictors of trends. If they are right, it is a matter of when, not if alternative fuels will be the norm, rather than the exception," Emrich said.

Delayed Car Maintenance

While car owners know, intellectually and intuitively, that regular maintenance is important to keeping their four-wheeled investment in safe condition and working order, the reality is more and more Americans are not listening to conventional and proven wisdom. The vast majority of mechanics - 87 percent - said they believe American car owners are putting off routine maintenance, mostly for cost reasons. Ironically, they overwhelming said - at 97 percent - that delayed care will cost an owner much more in the long run, as problems left unattended can multiply and lead to other issues.

The U.S. Auto Industry

While the mechanics, at 65 percent, believe the American auto product is better than ever, at the same time they believe, at 79 percent, that there is still a need to improve vehicle quality. Fifty percent believe there is consumer prejudice against U.S. automakers and 48 percent believe the demise of the American auto industry is "more media hype than reality."

About the Survey Respondents

The 300-plus ASE Certified Master Automobile Technicians surveyed were certified for 14 years on average; more than one in four of those surveyed had been certified for more than 20 years. Participants in the survey are ASE Certified Master Automobile Technicians, currently employed as an automotive technician on a full-time or part-time basis.


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