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IPFS News Link • Transportation

No Oil Change For You!


California has become – ironically – the most anti-car state in the country. Fifty years ago, the Beach Boys sang about The Little Old Lady From Pasadena.

Today, the state government wants to restrict how often you're allowed to change your car's oil.

And also, who's allowed to do it.

A bill (S. 778) is working its way through the California Assembly Committee (of all things) on Privacy and Consumer Protection that would impose new bureaucratic rigmarole on shops that perform oil changes and reclassify the procedure for regulatory purposes as a repair rather than routine maintenance.

Repairs being subject to stricter regulations than maintenance.

It would also formally characterize any person who performs an oil change as an "automotive technician."

Technicians, of course, being subject to regulations.

Initially, any shop that performs oil changes will be required to pressure customers to adhere to the maximum oil/filter change intervals listed in their vehicle's owners manual via oral or written "recommendations."

This might not seem objectionable at first glance. But the maximum oil/filter change intervals listed in your owner's manual probably don't apply to your car – because they don't apply to most cars.

Because most cars do not experience what the manufacturers typically refer to somewhat disingenuously as "normal" driving – especially in California.

"Normal" driving excludes periods of prolonged idling, stop-and-go-driving, driving in high heat (and also extreme cold).

If you do a lot of stop-and-go driving (which never happens in LA) or drive when it's really hot (or really cold) or pull a trailer or drive at high speed as well as a number of other things you'll also find listed in your owner's manual, your driving is considered heavy duty or severe – and (usually) the recommended oil/filter change intervals are more tightly spaced.

The car companies tout the maximum intervals as an advertising point – to help them sell you a car based on (supposed) lower maintenance (whoops – repair) costs. Which is kinda-sorta technically true in that you may only need to change the oil/filter once every 10,000 miles (as an example) rather than once every 5,000.

But probably not.

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