Frequency of Oil Changes

acura
integra

#1

I have a 1996 Acura Integra with manual transmission. It has only 113K miles on it. I put on only 6K to 7.5K miles a year. I have owned the car since it was new & have always changed the oil & oil filter myself. Until about 3 years ago I changed the oil & filter 4 times a year–roughly about every 2K miles. Three years ago I reduced the number of oil changes to 3 times per year. Recently it was suggested to me that even that was too many and that I should change the oil & filter every 6 months. To be honest I am not comfortable with that but I also realize that my discomfort may simply come from habit. I have changed the oil & filter every 2K on every car that I have owned since I was a teenager. I should tell you that I am 80 years old and live on my savings & a pension. To replace this car would cost me between $25K to $30K so it is to my advantage to keep the car on the road for as long as I can. In short will I be doing any harm to the engine by changing the oil every 6 months?

A second question that I have about oil is that it is becoming increasingly more & more difficult to buy a high quality brand of conventional motor oil. When I shop I have been finding that the better engine oils, Castrol GTX, for example, do not offer much of a selection when it comes to conventional motor oil. In fact conventional motor oil is their cheapest oil. Most of the varieties of oil that they offer are blends of conventional motor oil & synthetic oil. I have heard conflicting statements about switching from conventional oil to synthetic oil. Some say it is dangerous to do and that it should not be done while others say that it does no harm. But what about switching to a blend of conventional oil & synthetic oil? Will that cause any damage to the engine? Thank you for your help.


#2

If you’re uncomfortable with that, than keep doing what you’re doing.
The recommendations are for at least every specific number of miles, and you’re doing more than the minimum. You’ve earned the right. Do what makes you feel good.

To those that say “but you’re using up the earth’s resources”…IGNORE them. look at it this way, their guru, Al Gore, travels only in private jets and long cavalcades of gas-sucking Escallades to travel around telling everyone they’re dooming the earth. His ground crew that keeps his acres of prime real estate perfectly trimmed blows through more fossil fuel every week than you do in five years.

Sincere best. You’ve earned the right to sleep well, even if that takes an extra oil change every now and again.

Re: your second question, any oil that has the API and SAE badges on the bottle is quality oil. I buy mine at WalMart. And yes, you can freely switch from synthetic to dino or to blended and back again to your heart’s delight, as long as your owner’s manual allows the use of either. Some cars require synthetic, so check your owner’s manual.

Chemically, synthetic and dino are the same stuff. The only differences are the amount of impurities and allegedly variation in molecular size.


#3

I drive ~4000 miles a year. I ride a bike to work.
The maker of my car recommends changing oil every 5000 miles or 6 months, so while it was under warranty I changed it every 6 months.
Now that the warranty has run out I’ll run the oil for as long as a full year, although two road trips in the last year have lead to changing at 5000 miles.
My last car was treated the same way and it’s motor was just fine when I sold it to a friend at 220k miles.
He still uses it at 280k miles with no problem.
Regular oil has improved greatly in the last 20-30 years, so 2-3 changes per year is obsolete in all but the most severe (short trip) cases.


#4

It’s good you like to be pro-active taking care of your car. And with a manual transmission you should be good to go for a lot more years with this car. I think oil changes every 3000 miles or 6 months, whichever comes first, that should work fine. I go about 5000 miles or 6 months. Almost all the well-known oil brands are good quality oil. There could be undesirable interactions between different brands and types of oils though. I think it is a good idea to decide on a particular oil brand, type, and viscosity (among those recommended by the owner’s manual) and stick with it. I always use Pennzoil 10-30 for example, never differed from that in 40 years. Never had an oil related problem.