More wear with excessively frequent oil changes?

I have heard two points of view. 1. You can never change your oil too often. You could do 1000 mile changes and this would be a good thing as far as the engine is concerned. As far as economy, pollution, and use of resources, it might not be so good.

  1. Some claim that more wear happens right after an oil change than during the 2500-5000 mile mark according to an oil analysis. I have heard a couple explanations for this. Accumulated wear metals from the past might be getting dislodged by the detergents in the new oil and therefore showing up like a lot of wear is taking place right after an oil change. OR I have heard that all the detergents in the oil actually need to break down some before the oil has an opportunity to protect as it is designed. Another one I wonder about but have never seen is that when you change your oil, there is usually some air that has to be pumped through the engine as the oil filter is partly or completely empty of oil and must fill before oil fully circulates through the bearings and such of the engine. Maybe there is enough wear during this first few seconds to show up on an oil analysis.

Any ideas or opinions? Yeah, I know. It is another oil topic.

It’s just one of those opinion and theory topics. Most of them are not true and the others don’t matter a whole lot. Even if there is some truth, it probably doesn’t… Wash, rinse, don’t repeat.

Just my unscientific opinion, but I will never buy into that too many oil changes causes more wear theory.

For what it’s worth, back in the old days Harley Davidson (and others) used total loss oil systems. The engines ran on a steady diet of fresh oil that was injected by a hand pump located on the combination fuel/oil tank before startup.

The only motorcycle I ever bought new was a BMW and I changed the oil/filter on that bike every 1000 miles with never any issues.

You can eliminate most of the delay in getting oil pressure by filling the filter with oil before you install it. (maybe not so easy on engines that have it mounted sideways)

IMHO it’s hard to say–you may be stirring up crud if you have an already dirty, sludged up engine. On the other hand, you’re getting that crud out and putting clean, healthy oil back in.

I thin it’s a waste of money to change it sooner, but I’m not so sure it’s doing any harm by changing it sooner. Oil will get dirty (even after 1000 miles). The filter only removes dirt down to about 5 microns…I have to believe that clean oil is better then dirty oil. But I don’t think there’s going to be much of a difference between 1k and 5k oil changes.

You won’t hurt the engine changing it as early as 1000 mile but there really is no advantage to it. At 1000 miles, clean oil is coming out and clean, new oil is going in. A dry startup is the only thing that imparts a little wear but if you fill the filter before installing, no worries. The only time I’d actually change this early is a car or motorcycle only driven 1000 miles a year.

The best thing for the environment without hurting your engine is to change it at exactly the mileage where the oil is 1) saturated with particulates or 2) saturated with acids/moisture or 3) the additive package is all used up (there may be more but you get the idea). Since the only way you can determine this is to do oil analysis starting at say 3000 miles, every 500 miles until one of the 3 is met, the cost and trouble outweighs any benefit to you. Recycle the oil to help the environment.

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This reminds me of the junk science going around that says measles vaccinations are bad for you.
All oil changes used to be at 1000 miles; our 1941 Chevy had a canister filter you filled with oil before installing it in the container mounted on the side of the engine. Yes, every 1000 miles!

Back in “The Good Old Days”, the typical oil change interval was 1,000 miles.
And, despite those frequent oil changes, it was likely that you would need to replace the piston rings and grind the valves after ~50k miles. However, much of that was probably due to the relatively low quality of the oil in those days.

In northern climes, by 100k miles, the body rot on the car was so extensive as to make the car ready for the junk yard.

Extra oil changes give sloppy mechanics extra chances to strip your oil pan threads, so that’s a consideration too.

As we’ve discussed many times, I bet that a car with consistent 5,000 mile oil changes will die of something else (accident, rust, tranny failure) long before it dies of a worn out engine.

I figured any amount of wear would be quite small compared to say changing your oil every 25,000 miles or something like that. I do always try to pre-fill my oil filters except for the one that is mounted vertically and upside down. If sideways, I put a small amount in them (1/3 or less) to at least help the process along. I also agree that changing early is a waste unless you are dealing with a new or rebuilt engine and then I think it is a good idea to clean out break-in metals. I have pretty much settled on 5k changes which may even be overkill.

I do know that many oil additives take away from the lubricating ability of the oil and thought this was an interesting idea. Never heard it before but it could make sense. Again, I am sure any additional wear from this is so small that it takes finely calibrated instruments to detect.

In northern climes, by 100k miles, the body rot on the car was so extensive as to make the car ready for the junk yard.

If by good-ol-days you mean the 50’s and 60’s - those cars were using much thicker metal…that they would last a long time. By the 70’s manufacturers were using thinner metal and vehicles from the 70’s and 80’s rusted out very fast. - especially the Japanese vehicles from that era.

Yes. Too many oil changes cause wear.

And too many baths cause uncleanliness.

What are these guys smoking?

I think excessively frequent oil changes are anal-retentive wastefulness, and if they weren’t so dang pricey I’d install a dual-bypass filtration system and never change again.

The only place I’ve heard this is a person on bobistheoilguy who claims short oil change intervals increases wear.
He sites an SAE article. Here’s a couple of his quotes:

"If you buy/read SAE 2007-01-4133, you can see that using a decent filter (nothing super premium, just a normal filter) over an OCI stretching out to 15k miles has the wear rates going down. But the majority of wear is right after the OCI. Then the rates trend down as the tribochemical barriers are re-established. It is that chemical-physical film barrier that has the greatest affect on wear. Until it is upset, it just continues to get “better” for a long time. "

"Additionally, Ford/Conoco proved this as well. Wear rates DROP as the OCI lengthens. Check out SAE 2007-01-4133; buy it and read it! Ford tested wear at 0 miles, 3k miles, 5k miles, 7.5k miles, 10k miles and even 15k miles; the wear rates were highest upon the OCI and least after 15k miles!

Generally, there is a parabolic curve that is associated with wear rates. The are slightly higher initially, drop down to nearly nothing, and then escalate again after the oil is compromised past its point to deal with contamination.

The “uptick” in wear is due to the tribochemical barrier being removed by the “fresh” detergent package upon installation. Yes - believe it or not, too much of a good thing is a bad thing. Now, DO NOT read too much into this; I’m not saying it will kill any engine. But what I am explaining, and what is abundantly clear in UOA data as well as supported directly with the SAE article, is that the wear is HIGHER upon the initial OCI, because the cleaning additives actually remove the boundary layer that protects the metal parts. Don’t believe me? Read the whole article. And review my “normalcy” article as well; there is CLEAR data that shows the wear rates drop the further out you get from an OCI event."

I haven’t seen the SAE article, but it seems to be based on used oil analysis, showing metal particle content.
I posted there once suggesting that since UOA is an indirect way of measuring wear perhaps something else is going on.
I think it’s possible the rapid increase of metal particles in fresh oil comes from being “washed off” of various surfaces in the engine, not from increased wear.
Of course my idea didn’t get a warm reception.
I think the only way to conclusively show the short OCI’s increase wear would be to run two or more engines under identical conditions but different OCI’s, tear them down and measure the wear.

I know that the 41 Stude I grew up in had the oil and filter changed every 1200 miles and a can of “top oil” added to the gas tank, the chassis was greased and your old oil was sprayed on the undercarriage.

“If by good-ol-days you mean the 50’s and 60’s - those cars were using much thicker metal.”

That is true, but the absence of any real rust-proofing meant that most cars in my neck of the woods were ready for the scrap heap by 100k miles. Your experiences may differ from mine, but I know what I saw with the cars owned by my family, and by friends and neighbors.

I had a '51 Chevrolet in the early 60’s. When i gave up on it, my younger brother kept it running until he got a new '64 Bug. He kept a board on the floor beside his right foot to keep stuff from the highway flying up and hitting his face.

I hear people today complain about modern cars. While some of the complex systems seem a little over the top, my dad indicated that a 10 year old car was ancient at the time. It would be like having a 30 year old car now. He said that even at 100k, if the body didn’t rust out, the engine would need a complete rebuild. Nowadays 100k is nothing. I am sure a lot of this is due to better metallurgy, better lubricants, and better machining.

I wouldn’t waste the money on that frequent of oil changes, yet I don’t think it would harm a thing.

Unless you drain the oil this morning and wait for it to drip for four hours…I think there is enough oil on the bearing surfaces to handle any friction in that first 30 seconds that it takes to fill the filter and start pumping through the passages.

I remember a friend years back that had a race car that was not run for months at times. After sitting a long period he would pull the distributor and he had a tool that fit into a electric drill that he’d insert and run the oil pump prior to starting it up.