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Maintenance intervals for ultra low mileage

It’s been 6 months since we’ve bought our Nissan Leaf, and we’ve concluded that we’ll likely be driving our gas burner (2008 Infiniti G35x, 30K miles) only about 1,000 miles per year, about half of which highway and half on once-a-month trips around town to keep the battery charged, tires round, etc. The owner’s manual indicates oil changes every 3 or 6 months (3750 or 7500 miles), depending on whether one follows schedule 1 or 2 (the former for short trips, freezing weather). This is presumably based on the synthetic blend the dealers use; we use full synthetic. If I follow the former, then that will mean changing full synthetic oil every 250 miles, about every three times the car is driven; that seems clearly crazy. Even every 6 months seems very frequent. The car is garage kept, so it’s not clear to me how having the oil sitting in the crankcase is terribly different than it sitting in the bottles it’s shipped in. Note that I’m not really trying to save money here, but rather the time and trouble to do this.

If its under warranty follow time in manual.

Otherwise every year is likely fine.

I’d also go the once/year route, once out of warranty.

If the Infiniti is brought up to full operating temperature each time it is driven, you can likely go a couple of years before the oil needs to be replaced.

Motor oil does not spoil with age. It needs to be changed every so often because the additives get consumed and because it can accumulate combustion products. Driving it with a fully-warmed engine drives off most of the combustion products, and you are not going to use up your additives in only 2000 miles.

If you are not comfortable with a biennial oil change (most folks would not be), then once a year will be sufficient.

I would change the oil once a year, oil filter every 2 years, and get a “battery tender” or other small automatic battery charger.
Another option is to sell the gasser and rent a car for your trips. Save on insurance and depreciation.

I’d also be using Stabil twice a year.

I would drive it until it starts looking a little dark on the dipstick…

I looked up your warranty on line. I found that you have a 6 year/60,000 mile powertrain warranty. You have about 2 years left on it, and you should follow the time change interval of every 6 months until this warranty expires. You could probably get away with changing once per year, but If there is a problem, that would let Infiniti off the hook. You might also consider driving it a bit more. Filling with gas every 3 months may not require Stabil. Us it if you want to be ultra-sure that you don’t have tar separating out of your gas.

I would change it as per requirements to keep your warranty in effect. If you can use standard oil (non-synthetic, and non synthetic blend) and maintain the warranty just use the regular oil. Once the warranty expires I’d go with a yearly change and even then standard oil should be OK.

If you only drive it 1000 miles a year, you don’t need to own it… It would be MUCH cheaper just to rent a car to drive those miles…Taxes, insurance and depreciation are killing you…

The difference between the oil in the bottle and the oil in your engine is that the former has never been exposed to combustion particles and moisture in the air.
That 1000 miles a year and stretched oil change regimen can easily lead to sludging problems and whether the oil is synthetic or not has nothing to do with it.

Seems like too nice of a car and too much of an investment to allow it to languish in a garage most of the time.

To change or not? I had 8 or so company trucks Ford, Chevy, Toy. I was always tight for cash so I would change the oil about every 25k. I never had any engine problems and these trucks had about 45k miles put on them every year. some were diesel some were gas. Maybe I was just lucky?

45K vs 1000 miles a year is apples vs oranges.

Screw the warranty. I’d change it myself once a year. with a high quality oil only cost you about 35 a year… add some seafoam or startron to the gas for stabilization. keep the tires clean and outa the sun. might wanna schedule a drive every once in a while to get the dust off. Battery should be good. maybe invest in a cover even though its inside. sounds like a great car for a spare.

Sell it and rent a car when you need it. I do that for lots of road trips. Costco has rental cars at its website that are reasonable and include a second family member as a driver, free. The money you save on insurance, registration and maintenance will more than pay for the rentals, and don’t forget your car is just getting older and losing value sitting in the garage.

+1 to westwest and caddyman… they are 100% right for what sounds like the once or twice a year you have to use a gas car, renting one is much cheaper. Now that I think about it, I thought Nissan was offering free rentals to Leaf owners who need one for a longer trip…


What’s more important to you?

Keeping the warranty intact, and having Nissan/Infiniti pay for repairs on the engine in case of a failure, or saving $60 a year in oil changes?

Once you decide that, then do whatever you want with regards to oil changes.


I have a '97 Ford Escort that I bought new, it currently has 32K miles on it and about 90% of those miles are highway miles. I change the oil in it every 3K miles. The car is 15 years old and has had 10 oil changes since new so it’s averaged an oil change every 1.5 years. My car is also garaged and often sits in the garage for a few months at a time without being started. Some people may argue it should be changed every few months or every year, but even if I changed it every few months I’d be putting oil in it that’s been sitting in the bottles in my garage for several years. The oil I’m using in that car is oil I had on hand when I bought the car new. (15+ years old) I also see no difference in whether it’s in the oil pan or the plastic bottle.

I would rather hear about the maintenance of your Leaf. The only concerns I would have with your gas burners are that you do run gas through them enough so ethanol is not a problem. Stabilizer isn’t enough for ethanol problems…excessive oil changes are over rated. Once a year is probably too much for 1k per year, but seems right.
So tell us about your Leaf maintenance schedule !

Like others said, you need to follow the time frame in the owners manual regardless of the mileage to keep the warranty in effect. Why are you using synthetic though? Unless the warranty calls for it, it is clearly unnecessary and a waste of money. On my one car that gets 500 to 1000 per year, I change once a year now but it is long out of warranty.