Three-thousand miles. It's the driving distance from Tampa to Seattle. It's also the go-to number for how often we should change the oil in our cars.
The Automotive Oil Change Association, which represents lube shops, says changing our oil every 3,000 miles or every three months, whichever comes first, is "generally recommended."
But not everyone agrees.
Both Consumer Reports and Bankrate.com rank the 3,000-mile oil change as the number-one automotive myth.
So, who's right? Your manual is.
Despite nagging window stickers and lube shops that might lead you astray, the best recommendation comes directly from the people that make your car.
You might be surprised to discover that many cars can go 4,000, 5,000, even 10,000 between oil changes. And it's printed right there in the owner's manual.
"I think there's a lot of confusion," said Nick Greenly, who teaches mechanics-in-training at PTEC.
Greenly says changing the oil every 3,000 miles is likely a waste. He says following the owner's manual could save you money—and precious oil.
"If a guy does one less oil change a year, that's saving five quarts, times millions of vehicles, that's a lot of oil," he said.
As for the oil indicator light, it is increasingly a reminder, not a warning, about changing our oil. To exactly know what that little light means in your particular car, check the manual. A quick glance could save you some serious money.