Current thinking on oil change interval

Is it 3,000 miles, or 5,000 or 7,500 mile?. One car said 5,000 & another said 7,500. Cars are driven over 40 miles daily so they all reach normal operating temperature.

I do 5K with conventional oil and 7.5K miles with synthetic. All of my vehicles are out of warranty, so the choices I make are mine alone. When under warranty, adhere to the maintenance schedule or have an interval that is shorter than what the owner’s manual says.

I have been doing oil change every 3K, new & older cars for about 20 years. My daughter’s new Versa said 7.5K while my Malibu is 5K, or whenever the maintenace light comes on. Should I continue wiht 3K?

I generally shoot for 3k-5k with synthetic oil. I know this is this more often than necessary. But I tend to run my vehiles hard,fast, and often. It’s cheap insurance.

5K and 7.5K are common recommendations in modern engines. Some are even 10K.

Personally, I like 4K even though my manual says (and my maintenance light is set for) 5K. I like to keep the fluids and filters fresh.

3K goes back to the old days when engines ran “dirty” (lots of unburned gasoline washing things down and diluting the oil) and parts were sloppy. Todays engines run far cleaner than engines of old.

At 3k, the oil are very dirty & very dark (dark dirty black). This is one reason why I continue with 3K. I could have save a lot with the 5K & 7.5K. But it’s cheaper compare to ruining & fixing an engine.

Subaru spec’ed 7500 miles normal conditions for my turbo cars(Legacy & WRX) using dino. Recently got a notice though they reverted it to 3750 miles for all turbo cars normal or severe.

I am guessing they paid for a few engines or turbo’s.

I use dino but every 4k. A few car makers have reverted along the way including early 2000’s Toyota’s and Passat 1.8T due to sludging.

Purely opinion here, but I would keep with the Malibu’s interval since it also has an OLM. On the Versa, I would do a couple of shortened oil changes and then use synthetic or a semi-synthetic oil. I am personally not ready to trust conventional oil to go to 7.5K miles, but I have no evidence to believe it could not.

If you want to know for sure, consider investing in an oil analysis for the Versa after going 7.5K miles, and adjust your interval downward if warranted by the test results.

One car said 5,000 & another said 7,500

That is your answer. Use the oil specified and the interval specified. Not all cars are the same, so not all cars should get the same oil change intervals. Stick with what is in the owner’s manual. Don’t try and out think the guys who designed them.

It is possible to change oil too often. It appears that new oil does not protect as well as oil that has been used for a while. Sorry I don’t know why, but reverting back to the oil 2 or 3 thousand oil changes with modern cars and oils is likely not a good idea.

As I recall, the oil was still protecting the engine well, but not quite as good as if the specified oil change intervals were used.

I would follow the oil change interval listed in each car’s owner’s manual and use the oil type recommended in the owner’s manual. Anything else is probably overkill. The color of the oil coming out is no indictation of whether or not the oil is beyond its useful life. Only a used oil analysis will tell you that.

I like the way you’re thinking. While some will argue that the color of the oil is irrelevant, my belief is that oil and filters dirt cheap and cannot be too fresh. There’s also something to be said for sleeping soundly at night, and if it makes you feel more secure, you should continue the practice.

I’d be interested in more information on this theory if you’re able to dig it up. I’m always open to a change in thinking with the application of new data.

Since I don’t drive all that much, I go by time rather than miles. I’d rather spend $100/year on oil changes than spend $1~2k for a new engine.
Spend now or spend later.

No need for 3000, modern oils are much better than those when 3000 was the norm. You risk nothing by going to 5000, more if your engine has an intelligent oil monitoring system. Always mind the ‘or X months, whichever occurs first’, of course, but that doesn’t seem to apply to you.

I don’t dive all that much either. I drive a lot, but I don’t dive.

Sorry, couldn’t resist. I agree with your thinking, however.

no idea what you’re talking about
whistles innocently


I found one reference. It may have been the one I was thinking of:

This is thought provolking.

I’d want to see more research on the actual effects on the chemistry, vis-a-vis particularly shear damage, as well as a much more extensive study, but the data does open my mind. Sometimes what we think we know we don’t really know at all.

Nicely done. Thanks for the chuckle.

I had the same thought. It was not what I expected, but the source I know to be reliable and the explanation is plausible. It is not going to turn around automotive lubrication practices, but it is interesting.