06 audi A3 oil change interval?


#1

my son brings home his 6 month old A3. he looks at the dip stick, and the oil is low.



i thought that was unusual, and asked him how his 8 month old car has burned the oil below the L mark since his last oil change.



he says, the oil has NOT been changed, and the manual says oil and filter cvhange at 15,000 miles!!



I know, i know you we and all are supposed to change the oil at the manufacturers recommendation, but, 15,000???


#2

If it was mine, I would probably go 7500 miles/1 year with synthetic. Make sure you use oil that meets the correct VW/audi specs, not just the proper weight.


#3

What you need to tell/show your son is how to check the oil level occasionally. This IMHO is the major issue with longer than 5000 mile oil changes, most owners never check their oil level.


#4

I will start by suggesting you both start checking oil level more often. It is important.

It is not an unusual oil usage for a new car of any make.

Those 15,000 mile oil changes are fine as long as:

  1. The manufacturer has designed the engine for it and recommends it

2 You use oil and filters that meet or exceed the manufacturers specifications for that motor.

Engines and oils are far better today than in the old days and can handle it.

  1. You are not driving under severe conditions as defined in the owner’s manual. (Usually short trips etc. like many of us have)

#5

Audi is not the only manufacturer to specify very long intervals between oil changes. For 2008, Porsche has dropped down to 10k miles or one year. Previously, it was 20k miles or two years!

According the the mechanic I have been patronizing for 30 years, these very long intervals are proving to be a mistake. By 100k miles, engines serviced on such a schedule show clear signs that they have gone too long between oil changes.

7500 miles is a commonly recommended interval with mineral oil. Since synthetic lasts longer, it should be safe to run the A3 that long between changes.

Another alternative is to send oil samples to a commercial laboratory for analysis. They can tell you when the oil approaches the end of its useful life. One such lab is Blackstone, in Indiana. Their opinions about oil are very interesting to read. When my new car (Infiniti G37) arrives, I am thinking about trying intervals of 3k miles, 4k miles, 5k miles, etc. and using laboratory analyses to find the safe limit.


#6

well, i guess i thought i had taught him to check oil frequently. guess not!

but the surprise was that 15k between oil changes was OK?!

the manual does specify synthetic, and the quart he got has the same spec number. (mobil 1) is the specific oil that matches. although other synthetics probably meet the specs too, he wants to stay with mobil1.

i guess this is the car that teaches me about all the topics on this forum, such as super gas is recommended, synthetic oil, and all these other fancy requirements that i dont have to worry about with my cranky chrysler!


#7

but the surprise was that 15k between oil changes was OK?!

the manual does specify synthetic, and the quart he got has the same spec number. (mobil 1) is the specific oil that matches. although other synthetics probably meet the specs too, he wants to stay with mobil1.

IMHO, 15K is OK if you are the manufacturer and your primary concern is having the vehicle outlive the warrantee period. I would not go close to 15K miles without an oil analysis to verify it was holding up adequately.

Mobil 1 is perfectly adequate oil, and it’s available just about everyplace. Their web site says this audi should use 0W40 and say that it meets VW 502.00/505.00/503.01, so that should work OK.


#8

Have you factored the cost of the lab analysis of your oil against routinely changing at 5000 miles? Is it cost effective?? Sometimes we forget the total end costs…


#9

You do not have to do the analysis every time you change your oil, just once or twice to establish an interval based on your engine, driving conditions, and type of oil. Blackstone labs charges $20-30 for an analysis and e-mails the results within a few days. However, it is a good idea to have an analysis done occasionally, because they will trend the amount and type of contaminates in your oil, which will help you determine if you have problems.

That reminds me, I haven’t had mine done in a while.


#10

Excessive speed before break-in could cause problems like this. I’m guessing that the warning light that says to check the oil isn’t working. It sounds strange that a luxury car wouldn’t have a low oil indicator. Even a Chevy pickup has one. Maybe he has one and that is why he checked it. Tell him to keep the speed down.


#11

Oil consumption rates vary all over the place. Some cars use virtually none. For others, one quart per thousand miles is the high end of normal. Still others use a significant amount until they finish breaking in.

If the A3 has suffered accelerated wear because it was driven too hard during the break in period, the damage is done. It’s too late to “keep the speed down.” More likely, the car has a normal consumption rate of one quart in 3k or 4k miles. If it hasn’t been checked in 6 or 8 months, it could easily be two quarts low. As others have said, the son needs to check the oil level more often.


#12

Total end cost is more than the price of the oil change. Because they are open Saturday mornings, I often have my oil changed where I buy tires. Their price is $25. Round trip distance is 30 miles. At the IRS rate of 48.5 cents/mile, driving there and back costs = $14.55. Time from leaving home to returning is usually 1.5 hours. Even at the modest salary of my retirement job, this is equivalent to $15 in after tax income. Therefore, my $25 oil change really costs about $55. I actually prefer to go to an independent shop because it has better trained mechanics. They charge $10 more, the driving distance is 10 miles farther, and it takes half an hour longer. Therefore, the real cost of an oil change at the independent shop is about $75. These prices are for mineral oil; synthetic would be more expensive.

According the the Infiniti owner’s manual, 7,500 miles is the appropriate interval for oil changes given my driving pattern (much highway, few short trips in heavy traffic). Infiniti recomends mineral oil although most dealers are open to using synthetic. The Infiniti salesman insists that no one should go that long between changes. He uses synthetic in his own cars and changes it every 2,500 to 3,000 miles. Since he is open to my going elsewhere for oil changes, I believe he is giving me his honest opinion. The price of an analysis that includes TBN is about half the total cost of a mineral oil change. (TBN is total base number. It tells you how well the additives are holding up.) If this lets me safely extend the oil change interval by 50%, it will pay for itself. The information about overall engine health is a freebie. If it means 7,500 on mineral oil instead of 2,500 on synthetic, the savings become substantial.


#13

If the A3 has suffered accelerated wear because it was driven too hard during the break in period, the damage is done.

Quite true. All cars still need a break-in period, but how many manufacturers even bother to advise the owner to do so? Have they given up because too many people are too stupid to properly break in an engine? It would seem worth it to at least tell owners to do it, in order to be able to deny warranty claims (of course, that’s a whole can of worms they may not figure it’s worth getting into).