Granny Oil Change


My mom has a 2003 vw jetta, she only drives maybe 200 miles a year if that. How often should I change the oil? Should I put synthetic or regular?


my mom is 75- but she is a great granny


Can you take her around in the Jetta occasionally? If not, just change it once a year.

More importantly, be sure you put some gas stabilizer in the gas tank, keep the tank filled to reduce condensation with temperature changes, and try to keep an eye on things like tire pressure and condition. New wiper blades every 6 months are a good idea too. They go bad just by aging. If you can drive it occasionally, do so, paying particular attention to the brakes. Sitting looooooong periods of time brakes can rust pretty badly.


First, consider if she should be driving. Is it safe for her to drive. I only ask because she is not getting much practice and without practice everyone tends to loose that edge and her safety should be #1.

OK, if she is safe then you do the maintenance as listed in the owner’s manual. That will tell you that you need to change oil every X miles or Y months which ever comes first.

You use synthetic IF that owner’s manual calls for it, you may uses it if it does not say.

As Mountain said, there are some maintenance items that may be slipping by. Make sure they are done and remember that gas (or is it a diesel?) does not last forever. It changes chemically when stored, even if it is in an air tight container. Right now I would, maybe ask her to trade off with you so you can get some miles on it and use up the old gas in it. Then don’t fill the tank and/or be sure to add a fuel stabilizer to slow up the aging process of the fuel (note somewhat less of a problem if a diesel.)

Don’t forget the the timing belt will be coming due in a few years even if it does not get the miles for it. Same with tyres.


thank you she lives in new mexico where the heat is horrible,but it is always garaged. I will be visiting so I want to know what things to do. with this kind of weather what are your thougts? The dealer in the small town where she lives is quite horrible and they really don’t have a garage.


should I still put the gas stabilizer even if she takes it out twice a month for at least 10 mile drive?


Given that her trips are likely very short I would simply change the oil every 6 months. Given the real short mileage using regular oil will be perfectly fine.

My father drives his vehicle(1990 4runner with 150k) about 1000 miles per year basically over two periods per year when he returns from abroad working. He has been doing this since 1996 and had no issues mechanically with the engine. On his vehicle 6 months is the oil change interval.


I’d change her oil twice a year . . spring and fall. At that time I’d put gas stabilizer in also. Total cost (if you do it yourself) will be about $50 a year. When you are changing the oil and adding the gas stabilizer, look at the belts and hoses, check the coolant, shoot some light oil on the door locks, hinges, battery conections, etc. Read the owners manual for other basic maintenance. I’d use regular oil, not synthetic for the oil changes. Since the car is garaged, I’d put the battery on a trickle charger (you can get one a Wal-Mart) and put a few mouse bait things around the garage floor. Should last her another 20 years. In that time you’ll have a classic VW with less than 5000 miles on it. You can drive your Mom around for all that time in a safe, low mileage car. Rocketman


Yes. THe gas that she isn’t using ages…


I also think you need to be changing her tires in the next year or 2. Heat is the tire killer and where she lives about 6 years is the practical limit.