Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

10,000 miles?!?!

I recently purchased a new 2010 VW Jetta TDI, and the manufacturer’s prescribed oil change/tire rotation interval is every 10,000 miles. While I agree with The Tappet Brothers that 3000 mile oil change intervals are usually ridiculous, 10,000 miles seems too long.

I would be inclined to rotate the tires at 5000 miles, and then every 10,000 after that,so the front and rears would never be more than 5000 miles different. Lube, oil and filter intervals ought to be every 5000 miles, methinks, especially on a Diesel. Your deep thoughts?

Yes the VW oil change interval has its origin in the European waste reduction programs. I would not dream of changing oil every 10,000 miles on any car. Your 5000 miles seems a good choice, but make sure it is VW spec and approved oil. Most US oils do not meet this spec.

Tire rotation is normally done every 8000 to 10,000 miles. Again, I would go 8000, as long as you do it regularly. In my case, with a set of winter tires, I end up doing it twice a year when the tires are due for their seasonal change.

It’s your vehicle. Treat it the way you want. If you feel the oil change interval is too long, change it at 5,000 miles. If for anything else, the turbo.


A 10k miles oil change interval is what leads to sludged and destroyed engines. Use the search feature at the top and look at the thread about the 2009 Chevrolet Traverse with the dashboard oil reminder. The poster on that particular vehicle was changing oil at about 12k mile intervals and ended up with a trashed engine at about the 40k miles mark.

If the bulk of your driving is highway then I don’t have a problem with 5k miles. If it’s mostly 2 to 5 miles hops in an environment with a lot of humidity and/or dust, etc. then going to a 3k miles interval might be a good idea.

I would put the tire rotation on a 10,000 miles or watch for feather edging on the rear tires. Once you see it starting, rotate the tires. If you notice none, keep waiting and watching until 10,000 miles. Also, watch the edges of the front ones for wear.

The average oil change interval in Europe has been 10,000 miles for a while now.
That’s an enormous sample size. Does anyone have any data on how well it’s working?

 In the TDI community most owners have found that the 10,000 mile changes work just fine [b] IF [/b] you are using an oil that meets VW's recommendation for your specific car.  Don't try using an oil that does not meet VW's specifications (the specification will be something like 505.4  It will not be cheap oil, but using a different oil is likely to cost you a lot more.  

If your driving does not include severe conditions, that 10,000 miles works fine.  I for one use it on my TDI.  However changing it at 5,000 miles is not going to hurt it.  Interesting that those who have their oil tested seem to find that there is more engine wear right after changing it, then it goes down until well past the 10,000 mile mark. 

My guess is you will be more comfortable with the 5,000 mile change, but be 100% certain that you are using an oil that meets VW's recommendation for your model and year.  

I might suggest that you stop by TDICLUB.COM and look around.  It is a very active TDI only group.

Is that for the “normal” or the “severe” service changes? If one puts nothing but highway miles on their car, that’s “normal” driving; most of us fall into the “severe” driving category with lots of stop and go traffic, adverse road conditions, varying temperatures, etc.

I certainly agree changing it more often is not a big deal, though I have been taken to task for that statement. “The earth will fall into the sun from all the excess used oil…”

However, in 2009, after years of every imaginable opinion on this board as to when to change oil, I let my 2002 Sienna go 8800 miles, it had over 160,000 miles on it, and sent in a sample when I changed it. I was using Mobil-1 EP, and my driving is mostly highway, south of the snow zone.

All parameters, remaining additives; contamination levels; were such it could have gone 10,000 miles in good shape. That is true for my car and my driving pattern. For a different car or different driving pattern, results would be expected to be different.

If you are guessing, yes, better change it often. But, once in a while to get your oil tested when you change it would be very useful information. No more guessing.

When I had diesel cars, it seemed to me that the higher commpression of a diesel would create more blow-by and the oil would get real black in a hurry. Maybe the newer diesels have less blow-by, but 10,000 miles between changes seems awful long to me.

Make sure you use a synthetic oil to prevent oil breakdown from the higher turbo temperatures.

VW isn’t the only car company recommending longer oil change intervals. You should be able to get 10,000 miles between oil changes if your drives are not sever service. If it’s mostly highway and at lest 20 minutes each time you drive, 10,000 is probably reasonable. I go by the book on my Accord and Regal - 7500 miles. I go by the OLM on my Cobalt and Silhouette. The Olds gets around 7000-7500 between changes and the Cobalt is at 10,000; maybe higher. The first oil change in the Cobalt was done at 10,000 with about 15% oil life left. The Silhouette has 113,000 miles on it and the Regal has 130,000 miles and neither shows signs of problems. The Accord is at about 80,000 and runs fine, too.

All that is to say if you follow the manufacturers recommendations exactly, including fluid specs, you should be OK - if your driving is not severe.

I think the oil used in new VW diesel motors is very specific, and expensive. If you want to change it early (no harm in that) you need to be sure you can get the proper spec oil at a reasonable price. If you are going to use a VW dealer, call them and get a price for an oil change. If it is ridiculously high you can start looking at other options.

Why change it at all?? How long are you going to keep this car?? Let the next guy worry about it…The 10,000 mile oil change is how VW limits emissions in the cars later years…There ARE NO EMISSIONS!

3000 mile changes may be ridiculous, and for that matter so are 5000–if the car is maintained according to normal or severe duty schedules and if the proper oil is used. Proper oil is the key here.

It all depends if you use the proper oil and how you use the car. There are very few oils out there that actually meet the VW diesel service specifications. Oils may claim to meet the VW spec, but look for oils specifically approved by VW for this engine and you’ll be surprised. Ask your dealer for some help finding the oil if you’re on good terms. Whatever you do, don’t just walk into the parts store and grab a case of whatever 5W30 is on sale this week. None of the conventional oils out there will work in your car.

Having said that, if you were to use VW oil, and if you don’t meet the “severe service” as outlined in your owner’s literature, I’d imagine you can easily do the 10,000 mile interval without any worries.

I do service work for a fleet of 30 vans, I do what the in-house maintenance guy can’t or doesn’t have time for. It’s a fleet of Chevy/GMC vans and Dodge Sprinters. These vehicles are retired at 400,000 miles. Through engine oil analysis at oil changes the following oil change intervals have been used with success and NO engine teardowns beyond the intake manifold on any of the trucks:

Gas engines: 12,000 miles using conventional oil.
Diesel engines: 20,0000 miles using diesel oil.

I’m sure you don’t use your car like these are driven, but if you follow your owner’s manual and use the correct oil, you’ll be fine. Did I mention to use the correct oil?

The TDi especially is spec’d for Full Synthetic oil. This benefits this engine greatly due to the soot buildup in the D engine…and its higher demands on oil quality and resistance to “coking” at the Turbo. I would go 5-6K miles on one oil change in this vehicle…no more. 5K is a very good interval for it…I never agreed with intervals much beyond this number.

Good post; you identified a key fact, as did irlandes. The driving pattern and climate determine the oil change interval. Fleet use means that the vehicle has one cold start per day and accumulates miles very rapidly. Irlandes travels mostly in a warm climate. But he has his oil analyzed and 8800 miles is OK for him.

The worst case scenario is a VW owner in Minneapolis, living in a apartment, parking outside without a block heater, and commuting 2-3 miles to work. No long distance driving of any sort, only short shopping trips on the weekend. This type of driving will sludge up the engine in about 6000 miles.

GM and others always lumped taxi service in with “severe service”, and recommended short oil change intervals. In real life taxi service on a per miles basis is easy on the engine and oil. Most New York taxis get way over 500,000 miles before needing any engine work. I rode in one that had nearly 1 million miles on it. Taxix in my area change oil every 10,000 miles and up, as they accumulate 100,000 miles a year with only 365 cold starts.

Europeans are resigned to the long drain interval and sell their cars when the warranty is up. Used European cars find their way to Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. Anyplace where cars are relatively expensive and labor is cheap. You won’t find any old and rusty cars in European wrecking yards.

Thanks Docnick.

The days of buying a couple of cases of oil at the price club for use in all your cars is over. And like you said, a driver with a 100-mile day drive in Southern California can expect far less maintenance than an urban dweller is Minnesota. Weather extremes kill cars.

Europeans have completely different expectations from their cars, and they don’t have the sense of “200,000 miles of trouble-free driving at no expense” that we Americans do.

With synthetic oil meeting VW/Audi specs, 10,000 miles is safe. You just want to make sure to top it off if it runs low because of the higher temperature demands placed by the turbo.

Be sure you have a remote starter installed on it so your neighbors can enjoy the ambiance created by the sound/smell of your car every morning…

Victor; I beg to differ! As pointed out numerous times on this forum, the oil change interval for any piece of internal combustion machinery is dependent on: CLIMATE, TRIP LENGTH, LOADING, AND WHERE THE CAR IS STORED AT NIGHT. Whether the VW or Audi uses synthtic or not (it should) is not the point here. Synthetic does not change the climate or the operating cycle.

I’m sure you have not actually tested your oil, as irlandes did, you are making a blanket statement parrotting VW’s sales department, which will bring expensive rue to many VW owners in Minnesota, Alaska and othe extreme locations.

The ambient temperature in Germany, for instance, is seldom severe enough to require keeping the car warm.

If I was selling stuff across the US and driving 25,000-30,000 miles per year, mostly on the highway, the 10,000 mile interval would be OK.

If I am an average American living in Buffalo, NY, parking my car outside with no engine heater, and commuting 8 miles to work everyday, the 10,000 mil interval IS DEFINITELY TOO LONG.

German car makers don’t listen very well to their customers. In the early days of selling BMWs in the US, they specified a heavy grade of Castrol oil (used for spirited Autobahn driving 100 mph) led a lot of engine failures in the Northern states in the winter. BMW blamed all this squarely on Castrol and a lengthy lawsuit took place.

VW still won’t believe that:

  1. US drivers don’t drive at 100 mph, at least not for any lenghth of time.

  2. The US has one of the world’s most DIVERSE climates. From -40F in the North to +115 in Death Valley.

  3. Americans drive twice as much as Europeans and keep their cars much longer. When I talk to European drivers and mention 300,000 miles (480,000 KM), their eyes glaze over as if I’m telling them a fairytale. Most Europeans have no use for Japanese quality and durabilty; their cars will be in Africa or Bulgaria by that time.

  4. Americans expect a manufacturer to be realistic about the equipments capabilities and needs; cars are treated like refrigerators in the US, while in Europe they are treated like finicky purebred dogs.

Before you make any further blanket, unfounded statements,please tell us where you got the information.