How often change oil



1999 Integra, 60k

The two people of this Talk show said 4k.

I use Synthetic - so I assumed that 5k is good.

Yesterday, at 4.8k, I changed it - the mechanic said that it was a bit black and I change every 3k. Its been 6months and I made 2/3 long trips as I had visitors from overseas.

Last time I changed again just under 5k and it was about 12 months after a interstate trip - I did notice a positive difference after the oil change.

The mechanic also told me to use the sludge remover 5 miles before changing the oil just to get rid of any sludges.

Appreciate your advice.


Oil turns black very quickly after the oil change. The old oil that doesn’t drain out, and the internal blow-by turn it black pretty fast. 5k miles is fine for synthetic. 3k miles is for regular oil. There won’t be any sludge to be removed if you change it on time, so forget the sludge remover, it’s a wasted expense.


I do 3000 or 6 months whichever is sooner. Oil turns black pretty fast and not really an indication of the contaminats in it. Long drives are easy on oil and short trips are hard on it. Sounds like you do a lot of short trips. You could probably extend to 4000 miles but don’t go beyond six months regardless of miles.


You’re doing OK. 5K is fine for syn oil and the black color doesn’t hurt it at all as long as it doesn’t get mixed with water or other contaminants. I still change my own oil and like to see the bottom of the car more often to check for damage. I use 5-30 after about 50 K miles and 5-20 on new stuff. No problems in a few years now. LEE


You can change it whenever the manual says to, which is probably 7500 miles. Synthetic oil does not need to be changed as often. Mobil 1 is guaranteed for 15,000 miles. I changed the synthetic oil in my Buick Regal every 7500 miles and have had no oil problems at all. It has about 115,000 miles on it now. I recently switched to natural petroleum oil and still expect great performance.


I changed oil every 5k on a '91 Geo Metro 3 cylinder 1 liter car. After 280,000 miles It burned an exhaust valve which is not lube related. If I had changed the oil every 3000 miles, I would have changed the oil 94 times at a total cost of about $2300, $1390 more than I spent changing it every 5k miles and my engine would still have needed a rebuild.


The only real answer as to how long is listed in your owner’s manual. It list a number of miles and months. You use whatever comes first. You don’t need to do it any more often than that. Note: Somewhere in that manual it will also list a different schedule for harsh conditions, read this part, if you meet the definition then you need to change more often. Make sure the oil used meets the specifications in the owner’s manual.

Many oil change places, especially the quick change places have a lot of problems and often try to sell you services you don’t need or even services that may be harmful to your car.

I don’t believe your car is known for any problems with sludge, so unless someone corrects me on this, DON’T us that cleaner, it can do more harm than good.

As noted oil often is dirty right after changing it. If you had a diesel, you would expect it to be totally black in less than two minutes. Don’t worry that is normal.


Last time I changed again just under 5k and it was about 12 months after a interstate trip - I did notice a positive difference after the oil change.

Interesting comment. I’d like to hear more about the positive difference you noticed. I believe this is an example of an imagined result.


The positive difference was => c.

My other car 1987 Integra does 2k-3k in a yr - I put Valvoline high mileage - often synthetic - once oil change got delayed - after changing it, my wife told me that she felt a positive difference -> positive difference or less friction.

We are not imagining, for sure.


Sorry for the typo above:

The positive difference was => smoother rolling or less friction

Observed on both Cars.


Your due for the 60K service, this is the most important service to protect your investment.
Synthetic oil is over rated. Regular petroleum oil works just as well and better in some cases.
Always change your oil every 3000 miles.
Always read your owners manual. Every one should memorize there manual before they put the key in it.


Yea, it is funny how we feel about a car after it has been serviced. Placebo effects are very real. In this case there may be a real effect, but likely it is so small that we could not possibly know.

It would be fun to take a spouses car, wash and wax it, clean up the interior and tell the spouse that you got a full extra special tune up. Give him or her a few days and then ask if they have noticed the difference due to the oil change and tune-up. I’ll be the yes’s will far outnumber the no’s.


Your advice of changing oil every 3000 miles contradicts likely 90% of owners manuals.


Yeah, I agree that it probably contradicts many service manuals . . . but an early change couldn’t hurt. If you keep your car for 210,000 miles . . . and change every 3000, you’ll do 70 changes. If you change every 6000, you’ll do 35. At about $15 an oil change (I do my own), that’s nothing comapred to a ruined motor. And the X factor for me is that one or two times I get stuck in horrible traffic . . . or do a week of short trip errands . . . all the sever service stuff, that makes the difference for me. It also allows you (or your mechanic) to go over stuff that wouldn’t get noticed as often . . air pressure, exhaust leaks, normal stuff that we car nuts are sensitive to, but most car owners are not. Rocketman


Oil hasn’t changed much in the last 20years. No one has invented a miracle additive that has made it last longer. Manuals have extended the oil change intervals to make their cars more appealing to consumers by making it seem cheaper to maintain. Also they are extended because the government taxes the manufacturers for their projected annual vehicle consumption of the years sales. The better gas milage they claim, and less oil they claim for usage, costs the manufacturer less in taxes. That’s why there isn’t a Geo Prism or Metro anymore. Chevy dropped Geo and called them Chevys so they could counter affect all those stupid gas sucking suvs they sell, since they can’t build their own cars to get good milage.

[b] Oil hasn't changed much in the last 20years. [/b]  

Where have you been. Both oils and engines have changed greatly in the last 20 years.


You’re right Rocketman. Car manufacturers sell low maintenance cars, and bank on the fact that the average buyer trades at 4-5 years, and by that time the warranty is up. This does not make for the longest engine life.

European car manufacturers are under government pressure to extend drain intervals in order to cut down on waste oil! So, I would totally disregard the interval Volkwagen gives (10,000 miles or so)in their manual, and DO WHAT’S GOOD FOR ME AND MY CAR.

If you follow the severe service interval in your manual (applicable for most drivers) and buy good oil, you will realize the maximum design life of your car. Fleet owner have longer interval because the cars are warm most of the time and driven a lot of miles. The same is true for a travelling salesman.

I have not had to do internal engine work on any car since 1964, and have changed oil from 3000-4000 miles all these years. To achieve that you don’t need synthetic oil unless you live in an area of extreme heat or extreme cold.


A new label does not make a new product. I’m not a person who takes everything I read as truth just because someone put it in print. Minor improvements have come about over the years. Quaker State stopped using parrafin in their oil which we all know what the effects of that was. I can state with fact from engines I’ve taken apart, that 15k miles on synthetic oil just because BMW says it’s okay, is NOT OKAY! Take the valve cover off any BMW engine at 60k miles (that’s 4 oil changes!) and you’ll see something really ugly that no amount of cleaning or desludging will ever fix. Audi has changed their recommendations from 15k miles and extended the engine warranty to 100k miles, because they have had sooooo many engine failures, something had to change. Toyota has a horrific problem which the oil return passages plugging up from sludge and the engines suffering oil starvation from the oil pooling in the top the motor. This goes on and on and on. What it boils down to is it’ll make it out of warranty on 15k mile oil changes and then your SOL!!



  1. It seems that there is mixed opinion. Most people seems to think 3-4k is fine. One person said synthetic might go for 5k.

  2. My other car is 87 Integra - it mostly does short trips and I use Valvoline high mileage oil.
    Since July 1st 2007 (last service) it has only done 1000 miles. So it makes sense to me do it again on 1st July, possibly at 2k miles interval with valvoline high mileage oil. Of course, when they made the Car, Valvoline didn’t have the high mileage oil!



“Quaker State stopped using parrafin in their oil which we all know what the effects of that was.”

It’s not like they added paraffin wax; the oil that came out of the ground is paraffinic. BTW, paraffin is a class of low molecular weight hydrocarbons. Methane, octane and kerosene are all paraffins and I think they burn well without a waxy residue.