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How Often Should I Start My Mini-Van or Get the Oil Changes?

I was laid off from my work a few months ago and recently got a new job. I primarily work from home for my new job so my wife now drives the Honda Civic and I drive the Mazda MPV when I need to.

Given that I no longer have to drive 40 miles per day. How often should I start the car given it just sits in our driveway all the time?

Also- I have usually had to change the oil every 3,000 miles or so. I think it will be a miracle if I make it to 3,000 miles in one year now. How often should I change the oil without overkill?

Note that our goal is to make the car last for as long as we can.

Thank you.


I’d start it up at least once about every 2 weeks. And don’t just start it, get in and drive the thing around for a little bit. You don’t have to go to the ends of the earth, just maybe a trip to the store and back once in a while. I’d change the oil every six months.

My shop teacher in the 60’s gave the same answer we give today,how could it be that the answer is still correct? (don’t just start the car, drive it until fully warm).

Again the goal of the OP is to be told he can extend his oil change interval. I think every 3000 is to often in the first place. Here in the States oil changes are so cheap that I put the money saved from extending the interval in the same catagory as the money saved using low octane when you are recommended to use mid or high octane. These topics are just good for conversation,nothing startling ever comes from them.

If you drive it as rarely as you indicate probable, remember to add fuel stabilizer to the gas tank if it’s going to be in there six moths or more.

I have a 79 pickup that is driven twice a year, maybe. Fuel stabilizer makes all the difference in starting it up. ( last time I added gas…August 2008 )
The last time I changed the oil, two years had passed, but only 1000 miles.

Why keep this depreciating liability in your driveway?? It sounds like you don’t need it and probably never did…

My advice is to ask your wife to drive the minivan to work once a week and leave the Civic at home. Then you two will probably put enough mileage on it to justify changing the oil once or twice a year. I would change the oil at least once a year.

I don’t suggest you sell it as Caddyman suggests. This economy is too unpredictable right now and you might find yourself in another job and needing a car. If that happens, keeping the one you have will have saved you money.

As Caddyman wrote, you car is depreciating even if it is not driven. If you are going to drive it you also need to keep paying insurance. (If you don’t drive it on the street, you can cancel the liability and collusion, but keep the comprehensive)

Your owner’s manual will tell you how often the oil needs to be changed. It will list miles (likely 6,000 miles) and time, likely 6 months or a year. You should change oil at which every comes first. In the old days I changed oil ever 3,000 miles and it was needed 30 years ago, today’s cars are much better and the oils are much better so you don’t need to change the oil like grandpa did.

Sorry, I thought the Mazda was the THIRD vehicle… Ron-mans advise is good…

I agree. Ron-man has made an excellent suggestion.

Rather than using just one vehicle and allowing the other one to lie fallow, why not just have the wife drive each vehicle on alternate days. Or, if she really dislikes the MPV, if she used it at least once per week for her commute, she would save wear and tear on her Civic and would allow the MPV’s battery to stay charged.

As to maintenance of the MPV, do as Mr. Meehan suggested. Open the glove compartment, take out the Mazda Maintenance Schedule (contained either in the Owner’s Manual or a separate booklet with an appropriate title) and use that as your maintenance guide. Just be sure to note that every maintenance procedure has an elapsed time value as well as an odometer mileage value, with the proviso–“whichever comes first”.