My mother's Buick

How often does my 88 year old mother REALLY need to get her oil changed? She diligently gets it changed every 3 months, even though it gets driven less than 1000 miles in that time. She says that to wait until it gets to 3000 miles would make the oil “too old”. I realize that oil will lose viscosity over time, but how long? She lives in Florida and the car is not garaged.

Does it matter? Your mother’s 88 years old, owns and drives her own vehicle. If she wants to have the oil changed every three months on HER car, let her do it. She’s set in her beliefs so don’t worry about it.


She has her Buick’s oil changed four times a year? Wow! Her mechanic must love her.

I used to have a car that accumulated only 3-4,000 miles per year. I changed its oil annually, with no problems whatsoever. That same car now rack up many more miles, and I change its oil at 5,000 mile intervals, which amounts to maybe every nine months or so.

Your mother is wasting her money. Oil does not get “too old,” nor does it “lose viscosity.”

If she really can’t stand it, tell her twice a year, but once a year would be enough.

Your best course of action, however, might be to back away and let mom do whatever she wants.

She’ll never believe you, no matter what you tell her, and she’ll continue to believe she should have her car’s oil changed every three months.

She’s not hurting anything. What does this matter to you?

It is, after all, her car and her money.

Indy Pat, It Appears That Mom Is Not Asking For Your Advice Or Our Advice. She Is Sure She Is Doing The Right Thing For Her Car By Changing The Oil Every Three Months.

The fact that Mom is 88 and still driving and going strong makes me think she knows what she’s talking about.

You and Mom can look in the car’s Owner’s Manual for oil change frequencies. I would guess that she would be following the “severe” operation schedule because she drives infrequently and I’m guessing short trips.

Don’t be surprised if the manual recommends 3,000 miles or 3 months (GM’s severe driving schedule), whichever comes first and Mom is right on target!


I should have made it more clear - - she asked my advice - - - really can’t afford what she’s doing (lives on social security only) and I do not have an owner’s manual - that’s why I posted the question!
Thanks for the thoughful responses, but if you only want to lecture me on my relationship with my mother, bug off.

not her money or it wouldn’t matter to me.

Is there A Way That You Could Drive Mom’s Car And Put Some More Miles On It?

It would be better for the car to make more / longer trips and get it up to full operating temperature and into a (normal driving) longer oil change frequency recommendation, like 5,000 miles or 6 months.

This way you could save on oil changes, save on your car expenses (by driving Mom’s), and help the car by “exercising” it.


Well, if it’s your money, have the oil changed once a year. The car will not suffer any damage whatsoever.

Even if it’s not your money, once a year is sufficient in this case.

Oil is much better than it was 50 years ago, or even 20 years ago. Engines are much better than they were 50 years ago, or even 20 years ago. There’s no need for an oil change every three months.

Your mother’s Buick will last her the rest of her life even if she NEVER changes the oil again.

Save your money.

She can’t afford $20-$30 every 3 months? How can she afford gas for that car? A Buick Lesabre will get about 250 miles a tank, and a tank of gas will cost at least $40 (16 gal @ $2.50/gal). And, she’ll do that 4 times between oil changes. And, what will happen when something breaks? I know it is a low mileage car, but time is as much a factor as mileage for parts failure, and parts and labor sure are not getting any cheaper, either.


If mom can’t afford oil changes, how can she afford car ownership?

The answer is; she can’t afford to keep a car. Cars are very expensive to own. There’s no way around this.

It’s time for you to have a serious talk with her about this issue.

If mom can’t afford a car anymore (which seems obvious) she shouldn’t be burdened with trying to pay for one.

Tell her to change the oil once per year. There are less than 4000 miles between oil changes. The car will be just fine.

Thank you!

Be A Big-Shooter And Spend A Couple More Bucks For “Mobil-1 Extended Performance Oil”. This Oil Has A Recommended 15,000 Mile / One Year Change Interval.

The Advance Auto Parts near me puts this fully synthetic motor oil (the most popular brand in the world) on sale every couple of months. It’s on sale right now and I can pick up 5 quarts and an included Mobil-1 oil filter for about $30. You just need to have your shop change the oil for you.

You, Mom, and the Buick will be able to stop stressing and get a good night’s sleep!


I agree with the once/year oil change. While that’s not a recipe for having an engine last 300,000 miles, that’s not relevant in this case.

indypat; my mother-in-law is 92 and still drives her Pontiac Sunbird. She changes oil and filter twice a year (spring and fall), even though she now drives only 2000 miles a year. Her mechanic goes over the car at that time and makes sure verything is functioning as it should.

I’m sure your mother will go along with such an arrangement. I wish her many more years of mobility independence!

I’ve got a car that only gets a couple thousand a year and I still change twice a year. Summer oil to winter oil and vica versa. Twice a year is plenty but I agree, it is no big thing for an 88 year old either way. If it makes her feel better no harm no foul and treat it as a social event.

One thing I have learned is that we need to treat folks with advanced age with some respect and give them some freedom. If I get that old, I don’t want anyone questioning my activities.