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Posted: 11/4/2005 7:49:19 AM EST
I am one of the lucky few who does not drive that much on a regular basis. I can go six months or longer before I hit 3k miles on my car. Is it harmful to wait until I get to 3k miles, or is it significantly better to do it at 3 months eventhough I may have only driven 1500 miles? I drive a 7 mile loop to work with just a few stop lights. On the way to work, I get up to highway speeds for a mile or so.
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Link Posted: 11/4/2005 7:52:37 AM EST
The current thinking on the matter is that the 3k oil change is a plot by the 30 minute lube places to get more business.

The RKI that I know only replace their oil once a year. In fact, my new truck only requires a change every 7,500 miles, according to the manufacturer.
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Link Posted: 11/4/2005 7:54:04 AM EST
I change mine every 5,000 on my 03 tacoma, and every 4,000 on my 85 toyota truck
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Link Posted: 11/4/2005 7:57:24 AM EST
Check the owner's manual. With advances in engine technology and also motor oils, many auto manufacturers recommend 5000 - 7500 mile oil change intervals.
FWIW - I try and change my oil and filter every 5000 miles.
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Link Posted: 11/4/2005 8:06:06 AM EST
I have mine changed around every 5K on my '01 Xterra
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Link Posted: 11/4/2005 8:13:25 AM EST
At $20 a change the difference between 3k and 5k is $200 in 100,000 miles of driving, or 3 tanks of gas.

If you have an honest mechanic he will spot trouble before you experience it on the road. Seeing the car every 3 mos, as opposed to every 6 mos. might be a good thing. On the other side, it will give the Jiffy Lube folks 10 more opportunities to "lube" you or put the drain plug in sideways.
 

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Link Posted: 11/4/2005 8:13:50 AM EST
I change mine at about 5k on my old ford truck, which has 205,000 on it by the way.
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Link Posted: 11/4/2005 8:14:47 AM EST
Well every 3 months in its self is ludicrous, what if you only drove the thing 500 miles?

Even 3k is over kill in my opinion. I do mine about every 5k or so and I've got 169k on my Grand Wagoneer and it's still running strong. The conditions you're driving in have a lot to do with it, like real dusty conditions should lead to more frequent oil changes.
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Link Posted: 11/4/2005 8:16:11 AM EST

Originally Posted By birdbarian:
I am one of the lucky few who does not drive that much on a regular basis. I can go six months or longer before I hit 3k miles on my car. Is it harmful to wait until I get to 3k miles, or is it significantly better to do it at 3 months eventhough I may have only driven 1500 miles? I drive a 7 mile loop to work with just a few stop lights. On the way to work, I get up to highway speeds for a mile or so.



How often you should change your oil depends on several factors.

1. What does your manufacturer reccomend as an OCI?
2. What kind of conditions do you drive in? (Dusty/dirty, etc...)
3. How do you run your engine? (high RPMs, towing, etc...)
4. Does your engine have known sludge problems?

The 3,000 mile interval is a pretty good one for most applications. It is erring on the side of engine safety. I haven't met anyone who has ruined an engine by changing the oil every 3,000 miles.

That being said, the 3,000 mile interval is far less than most modern oils are capable of. Full synthetics like Mobil 1 can really go into the 10,000 mile range without the oil itself breaking down or loosing any lubrication qualities whatsoever under the right conditions. The oil does, however, get dirty as the oil filter can only absorb so much gunk. How much the filter can absorb depends on the filter that you use. I am personally fond of Pure One and K&N oil filters, as they do a good job of filtering. Other brands do a decent job too, but the el-cheapo Frams should be avoided.

I drive my car pretty easily in a relatively clean environment. I rarely go above 2,000 RPMS for anything, and I never tow anything. I use Mobil 1 full synthetic and thus really don't need to change my oil very often at all. I change it every 5,000 miles or so simply because I want to make sure I have an oil filter that can still filter. The oil itself is usually still in great condition around then.

If I was in an environment with lots of dust/sand/blowing grit, I would change my oil more frequently. If I towed, I would change my oil more frequently. Same if I ran my engine hard.

The more you ask of your engine, the more often you should change your oil.

If, however, you don't drive your car in those demanding conditions, then use a good quality synthetic and filter, and you can probably go 5,000 miles or more between changes.
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Link Posted: 11/4/2005 8:17:06 AM EST

Originally Posted By nightstalker:
At $20 a change the difference between 3k and 5k is $200 in 100,000 miles of driving, or 3 tanks of gas.

If you have an honest mechanic he will spot trouble before you experience it on the road. Seeing the car every 3 mos, as opposed to every 6 mos. might be a good thing. On the other side, it will give the Jiffy Lube folks 10 more opportunities to "lube" you or put the drain plug in sideways.



Amen.

Having your car looked over frequently by a COMPETENT mechanic is a GOOD thing, just like regular doc visits are a GOOD thing.
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Link Posted: 11/4/2005 8:20:12 AM EST
Every 5000 here. But with my commute that comes out to about every 2 months.
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Link Posted: 11/4/2005 8:20:59 AM EST
My Accord manual says every 7500 miles for city driving
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Link Posted: 11/4/2005 8:28:02 AM EST
Most new vehicles have the oil interval changed to 7000+ under normal driving conditions

You should have a listing in your owners manual for what constitutes other than normal driving conditions(you will probably fit into this category, most people do).

most manufactures define normal as 15+ mi of highway driving. This heats up everything and gets the evac system working.

The type of driving you are describing is the hardest on an engine as your vehicle may not ever get fully warmed up causing more soot and water(condensation) buildup.

Oil never goes bad just gets full of contamination(dirt,carbon,water,acids,ect...).

Just some info to help you make up your own mind.
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Link Posted: 11/4/2005 8:30:16 AM EST
[Last Edit: 11/4/2005 8:31:47 AM EST by MillerSHO]
My 90 accord even says 7500 mile oil changes.
I go to 5000K on mine.


Not that this is scientific in anyway but my 01 Tahoe usually gives me the "change oil" light around 4000-5000k miles. It would be more but my wife takes our daugther to school everyday and the engine is never fully hot when she comes back and that's a bit tougher on the oil.

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Link Posted: 11/4/2005 8:31:02 AM EST
[Last Edit: 11/4/2005 8:31:47 AM EST by thedave1164]
I just change it when ever the change oil light comes on

Actually around 7-8K miles as I drive 1000 a weekend.
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Link Posted: 11/4/2005 8:31:59 AM EST

Originally Posted By GySgtD:
The current thinking on the matter is that the 3k oil change is a plot by the 30 minute lube places to get more business.

The RKI that I know only replace their oil once a year. In fact, my new truck only requires a change every 7,500 miles, according to the manufacturer.




+1


The only people that seriously recommend frequent oil changes are (coincidentally ) the same people who make money off it - like the oil change places, and the dealerships.

The people who have the most interest in your car NOT BREAKING are the manufacturers (because they want your loyalty to the brand) - so I take their recommendation over those who are trying to sell me stuff.

My manual says oil change ever 10000 miles, so that's what I do.

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Link Posted: 11/4/2005 8:32:51 AM EST
Guys,

TIME is a factor along with mileage. If you dirve the vehicle 500 miles in a year - you still need to change that oil due to fuel and air sediment contaminants.

Also - want the very best results from your oil changes and engine? Get an oil analysis done for a mere $20. This will tell you about contaminants, chemical contents and viscosity life of the engine.

There is no better way, including following the manufacturer's recommendations, to find a good oil change interval than to get an analysis.

Go to Blackstone Labs for info.

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Link Posted: 11/4/2005 8:41:54 AM EST
I change the oil every 10,000 on my 2001 Jetta TDI. I run full synthetic Mobil Delvac1
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Link Posted: 11/4/2005 8:42:45 AM EST
I never change oil. When my cars reach 5000 miles, I buy a new one.
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Link Posted: 11/4/2005 8:46:30 AM EST
3500 on the RX7 TurboII with conventional oil. (215K)
5000 on the 929 with Mobil 1 (212K)
5000 on the Frontier with Mobil 1. (62K)

Maybe it is overkill and I am not telling anyone else that they should do it, but that is my schedule.
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Link Posted: 11/4/2005 8:47:16 AM EST
Every 87 days, fr00t!
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Link Posted: 11/4/2005 8:49:24 AM EST
Driving conditions and habits should dictate intervals.
An accurate way to check is to inspect the oil on the dipstick.
Is it no longer clear?
Is it black?
Does it have a strong gasoline odor?
If you live in cold climates and or make frequent short 5 minute trips
without getting to operating temp condensation could build up in the crankcase therefore
shortening the oil's life. Its all about driving condition/ habits folks.
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Link Posted: 11/4/2005 8:52:01 AM EST
[Last Edit: 11/4/2005 8:53:02 AM EST by Bob243]
In the summer usually just over 3.. in the winter when it is too damn cold to work on something that isnt broke. I usually get 5~7k on it in the winter.. running mobil1


ETA driving is 80%hwy 20% city
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Link Posted: 11/4/2005 12:39:13 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/4/2005 12:39:43 PM EST by birdbarian]
Everybody seems to be answering my question with mileage. I drive < 200 miles a month. It'll take me forever to get to 3000, 5000 or 7500 miles.

I guess I should have stated my question differently. Does oil need to be replaced due to age? I generally change it every 6 months or so. I don't tow, drive high speed or drive in dusty conditions. Mostly just drive a 7 mile loop 5 days a week with the occasional detour to the range.

edited 'cause I don't know how to spell
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Link Posted: 11/4/2005 12:48:45 PM EST
You can send oil samples away for analysis and they will tell you whether it needs to be changed or not. I think this is most common among truckers, but I know a lot of diesel enthusiasts (VW TDI, Cummins, Ford Powerstroke) who do it. OTOH, if you use those cheap lube places, that might be cheaper than the analysis.

What does your manual say? My 2000 VW TDI specifies a 10K change interval. My 1998 Sienna specifies a 5K change interval for regular duty. 5K or once a year (whichever cam first) would propably work well for you.
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Link Posted: 11/4/2005 12:56:23 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/4/2005 12:56:34 PM EST by QuantumPion]
I make frequent short trips and I am rev-happy so I do mine every 3000 miles, but I don't worry about the time interval unless it's been over 9 months.
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Link Posted: 11/4/2005 1:04:27 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/4/2005 1:05:08 PM EST by AssaultRifler]

Originally Posted By birdbarian:
Everybody seems to be answering my question with mileage. I drive < 200 miles a month. It'll take me forever to get to 3000, 5000 or 7500 miles.

I guess I should have stated my question differently. Does oil need to be replaced due to age? I generally change it every 6 months or so. I don't tow, drive high speed or drive in dusty conditions. Mostly just drive a 7 mile loop 5 days a week with the occasional detour to the range.

edited 'cause I don't know how to spell



I put about 7500 miles a year on both my trucks, so that guantees 1 or 2 oil changes per year per vehicle. I'd change it once a year minimum regardless of mileage just to make sure. If you don't put enough miles per year to warrant an oil change I think that's a bad thing. You can have coolant, water, etc build up in the oil.

Toyota is pestering me with 5,000 miles/6 months "it's time for your service" postcards. I asked the service guy flat out if waiting 5,000 miles vs 8 months or so to change my 03 tacoma oil which is under warranty whether that's a bad thing or not, he said no.

FWIW

Some people think not driving a vehicle is a good thing because it prevents wear and tear. It's not, like I said oil can get water in the system, as well as gas, tires can dry rot, etc. If you're not putting 3-5K on your vehicle a year I'd at least idle the engine once a month for a good solid hour
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Link Posted: 11/4/2005 1:18:42 PM EST
I think my car (another TDI) recommends an OCI of 10k miles or 1 year, whichever comes first. But generally 10k is somewhere around 6 months- an oil analysis after an even mix of short-trips in town where the engine doesn't warm up, and highway driving at mostly 90+ showed that the oil was fine after 10k (~6 months).

If you're using a decent oil, I would think 6 months will be fine between changes, possibly longer. As others have said, get an analysis done. You don't have to do it every time- just do it once after a certain amount of time, like 3 or 4 months. If they say your oil is fine after 3 months, then it's probably good to 5 months easily, so just start changing it at 5 months. I might start doing that on my TDI soon, but I won't go past 10k without using additional filtration.
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Link Posted: 11/4/2005 1:34:43 PM EST
The scheduled oil change on a 2006 Porsche Carrera is two years or 20,000 miles with Mobil1 0w40 oil. BMW's monitor the oil change interval and the service engine light usually comes on approx. every 15,000 miles under normal driving conditions with synthetic 0w40 oil.
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Link Posted: 11/4/2005 1:38:02 PM EST
Follow your owners manual recommendation for oil change intervals. Unless you plan on owing the car for over 175,000 miles, it won't help you to change the oil more frequently than recommended.
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Link Posted: 11/4/2005 1:41:08 PM EST

Originally Posted By birdbarian:
Everybody seems to be answering my question with mileage. I drive < 200 miles a month. It'll take me forever to get to 3000, 5000 or 7500 miles.

I guess I should have stated my question differently. Does oil need to be replaced due to age? I generally change it every 6 months or so. I don't tow, drive high speed or drive in dusty conditions. Mostly just drive a 7 mile loop 5 days a week with the occasional detour to the range.

edited 'cause I don't know how to spell




Once a year or at the manufacturers recommended interval is all you need. If you're not driving at least one trip a week for 20 miles, then that is considered "extreme conditions" (see manaul for that interval), because you'll never get the engine hot enough to evaporate the water (due to condensation) and gas that gets in the oil.
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Link Posted: 11/4/2005 1:46:49 PM EST
Every 3k in my '94 Honda Accord. That's only because I drive the snot out of it. It has 160k on it and is doing well.

My wife has a '01 Accord which I change the oil every 5k. She has a long rural commute and is easy in the gas pedal.

My CJ gets the fluids changed every 3k and after every hard off-road weekend.

Oil, tranny, xfer case, pumpkins, u-joints, wheel bearings... the whole 9 yards...
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Link Posted: 11/4/2005 1:56:33 PM EST

Originally Posted By markm:
Every 87 days miles, fr00t!



Fixed it for ya'.

I change my truck oil every 3,000 miles. My motorcycle gets an oil change at 1,000 or 1,500 miles. I always change my oil before a long trip, no matter what the mileage is.

I've never had a engine related problem.

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Link Posted: 11/4/2005 7:52:57 PM EST
[Last Edit: 11/4/2005 7:53:49 PM EST by ModernDayIsraelite]

Originally Posted By Treelo:
I never change oil. When my cars reach 5000 miles, I buy a new one.



LOL...that was funny
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Link Posted: 11/4/2005 7:56:28 PM EST
I change my oil before I hit 3000. It takes me about 6 months to do this though.
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Link Posted: 11/4/2005 8:00:39 PM EST
After reading about how the Oil Life Monitoring system on the g/f's '04 Malibu works, I have changed my philosophy on oil changes. I used to be a 3k oil/ filter change guy, now a 7500 mile guy
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