2003 Mazda Pickup

I have a 2003 small 6 cylinder 4 wheel drive mazda pickup with a plow. I believe Ford actually made this vehicle. This was purchased new by my late husband. Because it is used almost 100% to plow my own driveway, it has only 8,000 original miles. About 6 years ago it had it’s one and only oil change in the 11 year life…original battery, tires, etc. It runs like a top, is garaged, and presents no issues. Is there any maintenance I should have done? Would another oil change be necessary with the low mileage?

Almost all vehicle maintenance is supposed to be done on the basis of EITHER odometer mileage or elapsed time, with the proviso “whichever comes first”. So…this vehicle has been neglected to an incredible extent.

Let’s say for the sake of argument that the regular maintenance schedule for oil changes states that the oil should be changed “every 6,000 miles or six months, whichever comes first”. That means that the minimum for oil changes is every 6 months, no matter how few miles are on the odometer. (I am using this example w/o access to the actual maintenance schedule. However, no matter what types of intervals are specified by Mazda, I can guarantee that almost all of them have an either/or, mileage/elapsed time–“whichever comes first” proviso.)

Unfortunately, you can’t turn back the hands of the clock in order to undo the extreme negligence that has taken place with this truck’s maintenance. All you can do at this point is to open the Owner’s Manual, turn to the section marked “maintenance” and see what types of maintenance were specified for all of the major intervals up to and including 120 months of elapsed time.

Make a list of these procedures (it will be a very long, and very expensive list), take it to a competent mechanic (NOT a chain operation like Midas, Meineke, Monro, Sears, Pep Boys or Sears), and have all of this work done.

In addition to the obvious need for an oil change, the list will likely include the following:
Transmission fluid & filter change
Cooling system flush + new coolant
Brake hydraulic system flush + new brake fluid

Ask the mechanic if he recommends any procedures in addition to the mfr’s list. That might include new hoses & belts (rubber deteriorates just from standing) and new spark plug wires.
If this engine utilizes a timing belt, it is vital that you have it replaced at this point, along with the water pump.

Yes, you need to change the oil.

Go to the owner’s manual and find the recommended service schedule. Almost all recommended services are listed according to mileage or TIME - whichever comes first. Most vehicles hit mileage before time but obviously not in your case. So you should go through paying attention to the time intervals. You should be following a schedule for “severe” service. Sitting a lot and being used for plowing, is pretty rough on a vehicle.

What you might want is just to have a reputable and trustworthy locally owned auto shop to help you out with this. Certainly by now your tires, belts, hoses. etc. should be inspected. They can change the oil (I would go to at least once per year), and advise you about other overdue service in conjunction with the service schedule.

Since it has been garaged there isn’t likely much damage been done – other than the damage caused by infrequent driving, and there’s nothing you can do about that given the purpose of the truck. Me, other than checking that all the fluids are topped off, that the brakes are working well and all the rubber hoses are in good shape, I wouldn’t lose any sleep over this provided you want to keep this truck specifically for this service only.

The only routine service issue I’d be a bit worried about is the spark plugs. It can become difficult to remove them without damaging the engine block threads if they are left in for a long time. I’m not sure though whether you’d be better off to not mess w/them, or to have them changed, or at least removed and inspected. The downside to changing them is that the process of removing them may damage the engine block and require a machinist to set things straight. In any event consult a mechanic when they are re-installed, there are some anti-seize compounds used to coat the threads that help prevent this same problem on the next spark-plug go-around.

Edit: Oh, should add I agree w/others it’s a good idea to change the oil and filter at least once a year. That’s just common-sense, a sort of simple and inexpensive preventative maintenance insurance.

" other than checking that all the fluids are topped off, that the brakes are working well and all the rubber hoses are in good shape, I wouldn’t lose any sleep over this"

The age of the brake fluid wouldn’t be an issue for you?
You don’t think that all of the rust/corrosion protection would be gone from the coolant by now?

ditto all the fluids mentioned.
I’d add old tires to the list of TIME affected items. Though garaged the whole time, I’d still be concerned about all the rubber(ish) items on the truck like belts, radiator/heater hoses, tires, vacuum hoses, vacuum functions ( heater, 4x4 )

( my 79 has merely 71k on it yet is on its third set of tires )