Changing your oil, a world record?

I need some help… I know there are lots to say on how often one should change the oil… 3,000 miles? 6,000 miles?

Well, I have a Lexus IS 250 that is 4 years old… it has 40,000 miles on it, and runs great… I have never had a problem with it…

Here is my question… I have never changed the oil yet. It still has its original filter and oil. I just checked the level and its at the max.

I would like to know form some experts on here… how much damage have I done? Am I on the verge of the engine blowing up or are things not as bad as one would think?

You’ve definitely shaved many miles off the end of this car’s life, but given that this car probably would have easily gone to 300,000+ and that it probably came with high-quality synthetic oil, I’ll bet that if you start changing the oil now it’ll still last you a good long while.

The real loser here is probably going to be the second or third owner after you sell it or trade it in. It’s people like you that make buying a used car a total crapshoot.

True. I Hope Dallas Dave Makes This Boast To The Car’s Next Potential Owner. That Would Only Be Fair.
However, with this maintenance record the car may blow before the 80,000 mile oil change and get parted out.


If this is really true you took likely a serious amount of engine life away. How much who knows.

As long as you don’t cry to Lexus if still under warranty as this engine will never get covered by warranty for internal failure.

You may want the valve cover(s) pulled and see what it looks like under there. I never recommend products in a can but this one is known to help clean up the engine internals. You can see what your engine likely looks like.

I have by the way seen pictures of a BMW engine with valve cover removed with 40-50k on original oil. It was sludged but still running.

This is what can happen inside your engine:

In the late 60s I had my first job pumping gas at a local gas station. After filling the tank on one customer’s car, I checked the oil. It was a thick black sludge. I told him his oil level was fine but he needed to get it changed very soon. He replied with:

"I keep all my cars for 100000 miles. I never change the oil. I only change the filter every 25000 miles. It’s worked for all the cars I’ve owned and I plan to keep doing that."
While I don’t think that strategy would work with today’s cars, who was I to argue with him.

Just for the record, the most authoritative information on when to change you oil is in the owner’s manual for the car. It will give you two numbers, normal and severe. Many people fall in the second group and need to change the oil more often for a long engine life.

Many people can go a lot longer and may not see any damage, but it is there. Most cars will be able to handle longer oil changes without problems with the first owner, but the longer you go the more likely you are to find out that it was a bad idea.

And I’m sure you’ll inform the fool who buys this car of this.

Well, I’m glad that you finally had an epiphany regarding the maintenance of the car.
As the others have said, you have undoubtedly shortened the car’s lifespan considerably, but it is not possible to predict just how badly you have damaged it.

Since the engine is undoubtedly filled with huge amounts of sludge that impedes the flow of oil, I would suggest that you put the car on a schedule along the following lines for oil changes:

Drain the oil within 1,000 miles of the first oil change, and–of course–have the filter changed also.
Drain the oil within 2,000 miles of the second oil change, along with the filter.
Try to use a schedule of 3,000 miles for the next two oil changes.
Thereafter, adhere to a schedule of changing the oil & filter every 4,000 miles.
If you follow this schedule, you can get much of the accumulated damaging sludge out of the engine.

In addition to the engine, you need to focus on all of the other maintenance that you must have ignored over the past 4 years, chief among them the transmission. If you have an automatic trans, be sure to get the fluid changed (not flushed) at one of the oil changes coming up shortly. Also, have the coolant and brake fluid changed a.s.a.p., and have the air filter and fuel filter changed.

Who knows? If you actually do the things that I am suggesting, the car may wind up with a near-normal life span.

I presume that Lexus recommends synthetic oil, but even if they don’t require it, I would switch to it now. For some reason, the two synthetic oils I have tried seem to help clean out sludge left behind by conventional oil. I switched a couple of my cars from conventional to synthetic at around a quarter-million miles, and the visible crud in the cam area seemed to clean up a bit.

It’s True. Good Advice. That Goes Along With Advice To Use Synthetic To Begin With To Help Prevent Sludge.

runs great… I have never had a problem with it…

Spoken like a middle aged guy, two minutes before keeling over from a heart attack!

You have me beat. When I was much younger, I let one of my cars go maybe 25k miles without changing the oil. Then the cam seized in the head in the middle of winter. Nothing like having to do a head job done in an alley in -10F degree weather to make a lasting impression!

Running more frequent oil changes for a while would be preferrable to an aggressive engine cleaner. Back to the original analogy, you don’t want to dislodge any large chunks of plaque or the engine might have a stroke!

Just out of curiosity, why have you not changed the oil? What’s your rational?

Chances are you significantly reduced the lifespan of the engine. I would hate to be the poor sap who is saddled with this car after you’re done with, provided there’s anything left. Is the air filter original as well?

Pity the poor next owner.  I gotta ask . . . WHY would you do this?  Rocketman

Remember the old Fram Commercials…

“Pay a little now, or pay a LOT latter.”

To answer your question, a typical car, using typical mineral oil (not synthetic) driven in a typical urban environment will have its engine seize up in about 60,000 miles if the oil or filter are not changed, and the oil is just topped up. If the Lexus came with synthetic oil, and it was topped up regularly, it might be 50% towards seizing up. In other words, you have likely used up half the life of the engine.

If the oil is changed as per VDC driver’s recommendations, you can salvage the engine and get a few more years out of it.

Your post confirms our usual recommendations never to buy a used car without full maintenance records proving all needed work was done.

Why the focus on this yet-to-be-determined “next owner”? Is that why we maintain our cars, for the next owner?

Just start changing your oil and hope for the best…

I work with a guy who leases a new car every 2 years…NEVER changes the oil. Puts about 40k miles on the vehicle…In fact…NEVER does any maintenance…

I said the same thing to him…“Pity the poor guy who buys this”…His attitude…“So what…That’s his problem…not mine.”

It’s absolutely horrible to abuse a nice, and expensive, car like this and the sad part is that if this car gets traded in or sold in a private sale before it blows up some future owner will find this out the hard way; followed by blaming the dealer for selling them a hunk of junk.

Why change the oil at this point. It’s on borrowed time anyway.

Why are people writing this car off already? We have no idea what the condition of the car is.

Wrong. We Know It Has Not Been Properly maintained.