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Changing oil before 3000 miles

I have a 2000 olds with a little over 100k miles on it. The guy at my oil change place convinced me to switch to synthetic oil. It takes me 6 months or more to drive 3000 miles. I got my oil changed in 09/10 and still haven’t hit the mileage yet (although the sticker in my car says to change the oil on 12/30/10). My trips are short, in town, on the freeway, and up steep hills.

I wouldn’t be so concerned about changing the oil before 3000 miles if my oil didn’t seem to be low toward the 2200 mile mark. When I check it around 2200-2400 miles, I typically need to add a least a quart. It doesn’t appear to be leaking oil (at least there aren’t spots under the car) but I’ve been told Olds burn oil.

My questions are:

-should I change the oil before it gets to 3000 miles given the above information?

-is it a big deal that I need to add a quart or two?

-since I may have to change my oil before 3000 miles, can I switch back to regular or high mileage oil?

Anything else I’m not considering? Thanks in advance!

A quart of oil in 2200 isn’t a problem in any car. Good your are checking as adding as needed.

You can easily go 6 months with conventional oil and longer up to a year with synthetic.

Your driving pattern is “severe” conditions. Your owner’s manual recommendations for severe conditions is your best guide.

If I were you I’d use conventional oil and change it every 6 months or 5000 miles whichever comes first.

I don’t see much benefit for you with synthetic unless you leave it in the car for 12 or more months and I won’t recommend that.

For people who don’t drive a lot, I normally recommend 2 oil changes per year, spring and fall. Your type of car will be perfectly happy with normal mineral base oil. The original specification for that car was oil that is not nearly as good as the cheapest off-the-shelf Walmart oil of today.

Synthetic is not really needed for your car, unless you are driving in extreme heat or cold, or ar towing a heavy trailer, or you have a car that demands it.

In older cars adding a quart every 2000 miles is quite normal. A dealer will not do anything with a new car, even if it is 1 quart per 1000 miles.

You will find that using a light synthetic that the car may use MORE oil. That’s because synthetic is extremely slippery and will find small openings that normal 5W30 oil will not penetrate.

I agree with the other posts. I would change it spring and fall. I would switch to a cheaper oil–maybe SuperTech from Walmart (about $10 for 5 quarts).

You can benefit this car by taking it for an occasional drive for about 30 min at highway speeds, few or no stops. Once a month at least.

I drive about 4000 miles a year.
The owners manual say to change the oil every 6 months or 5000 miles.
Therefore I change it every 6 months.
Synthetic isn’t called for or needed.

“I typically need to add a least a quart”

Not good to let it get more than a quart low.
I recommend checking more often, like every 1000 miles. That’s what I do.

Why do you trust a sticker from some guy intended to make him money instead of the instructions in your owner’s manual (which almost certainly call for a much longer interval)?

If you need to add more than a quart, that means you’re not checking it frequently enough.

If you’re changing the oil every 3,000 miles you certainly don’t need synthetic. The oil change place recommends it because it’s more profitable for them. It is doing nothing for your engine. All you need is regular motor oil.

You should top off the oil before it gets a quart low. One quart of oil burning in 2200 miles is not anything to get excited about.

When I inherited this car, there wasn’t an owner’s manual!

I also think I shouldn’t have trusted the guy at the oil change place (locally owned and operated, BTW)who said I needed a full synthetic. I hate going to mechanics/oil change places because I feel like I don’t know what I need but I want to do “what’s best” for the car, not thinking that the tech/mechanic is just looking to make a few bucks.

Can I just switch back to regular oil or does the engine need a flush or anything?

You can switch back to regular oil anytime you want.
You just have to sing the Cookie Monster “C is for Cookie” song within 24 hours of doing so, otherwise your engine will set a Check Engine Light.

Remember, you HAVE to sing that song within 24 hours, or else!


No, the engine does not know the difference; all oils are compatible by the dictates of the American Petroleum Institute (API) and the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), and the American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM). If you compare two cans you will find the same labels on synthetic or conventional.

So, mix and match and sleep worry-free.

If you want to do what’s best for the car, you’ll need to get an owner’s manual.

“When I inherited this car, there wasn’t an owner’s manual!”

inherited -
bought used or new -
In thirty five years in the car biz, I’m tired of hearing this stupid useless excuse.

Get one !

Someone’s got a case of the Mondays.

I am the technical manager at Fram filters. I looked up the “severe service” maintenance schedule for your car, it shows you should be changing oil every 3k miles. Your type of driving is certainly severe service. You really do not need to do anything to change back to conventional oil, just change the oil and use a good filter. Change it before winter and late spring, check it and add as needed every 1500 miles or so, dont wait until its a qt low.

I’d hate to know what is not “Severe Service” in their eyes.
I’d think that unless the Emmittdigger, is hauling the “fat girls quartett” in the back seat, and his co-pilot has a 88inch waist, and is towing the log splitter behind…I’d think that would be “moderate use”.

I use a Dodge Dakota to haul 800 lbs of horseshoeing tools and supplies every day. I’d hate to know what catagory I’m in!!!