New car - when to do first oil change?

I’m still in the process of breaking in the engine on my new car, and I’m about half-way to the magic 1000-mile mark. In the past, my dad always told me to change the oil and filter after that first 1000 miles. His rationale was that as the engine was being broken in, little bits of crud (microscopic metal shavings etc) would be generated and it would be a good plan to eliminate them.

So, my last new car was 15 years ago, and my dad is no longer here to advise me. With today’s engines/cars, do you think this is still good practice? I’m thinking yes since oil is cheaper than engine repairs, and I plan to keep this car for a long time. But I’m interested in benefiting from the collective wisdom here. Thanks in advance.

The oil filter will remove anything harmful, that’s it’s job. Some manufactures install special “break-in” oil and they want it left in for 5000 miles or whatever…Change it if you want, but there is little to be gained…

The OP omitted three vital bits of information:

How long did it take you to accumulate those 1,000 miles?
What is the make, model, and engine type that we are discussing?
What does the vehicle mfr specify as to the oil change interval–particularly the first oil change?

As Caddyman stated, there is no reason nowadays to do an oil change at 1k miles–unless the vehicle mfr specifies it. However, if it took you…let’s say…2 or 3 months of local driving to accumulate those miles, then perhaps it might be a good idea.

As was also stated, nowadays some engines come with special “break-in” oil in the crankcase, and in that case, it would be a very bad idea to do a 1k oil change. Hondas come with this special type of oil, but some other makes may also fall into this category.

Some mfrs do specify a shorter interval for the first oil change. For instance, my new Outback is supposed to have its first oil change at 3k miles, even though the “normal” interval is 7.5k miles. Of course, I did change the oil at 3k, and then reverted to my own normal interval of 4k to 5k miles.

Can you fill in the missing information for us, so that we can give you a really good response?

If there is a special interval for the first oil change, it should be in the owner’s manual. If they do not say anything about it, you can wait until your first scheduled oil change.

Honda (I believe) uses a special factory installed oil and if we were talking about a Honda I’d say follow the Honda recommendation for the 1st oil change.

I don’t know about Subaru which based on your post name I’m assuming you got a new Subaru. I don’t know what Subaru recommends, but you should check your owner’s manual for any info Subaru has on “break-in” for a new car. If they say no oil change for 7K or 10K miles or to follow the “on-board” oil monitor some cars have now; then I might deviate from mfg’rs advice and change the oil between 3K and 5K miles.

I used to give the advice on 1K oil change for new cars like your dad. Now cars are made with tighter tolerances and better manufacturing processes and the oil filters are more effective. So now I don’t follow my own advice of the past. The new motor still runs “hot” due to internal friction and that will put more stress on the oil so I won’t push the factory oil much beyond 3K miles and definately have it changed out by 5K miles.

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Step #1, read the owner’s manual cover to cover.
Step #2 Follow the recommendations you read about in Step #1

Don’t worry about the advice from grandpa who likely followed the instructions when he bought his new cars. However those instructions have changed. Follow today’s instructions. Today’s cars and oils are far different than grandpa’s.

Old habits die hard. The manual is not designed to give you false information. Jos. is right.

Subaru is between 3000 and 3750. I have done this with two Subarus and their recommendations have worked out well. Am working on #3, and intend to do the same.

Thanks everyone - the question was intended as more of a general/philosophical inquiry which is why I didn’t tell you the make, model etc that some of you requested.I guess I should have made that clearer - sorry.

I appreciate everyone’s comments - Caddyman, I didn’t know there was such a thing as “break-in oil!” I assure you I’ve read the owner’s manual cover to coverand will abide by it, although old habits do die hard as dagosa observed.

jayhawkroy - this is my third Subaru too - sold the old Outback wagon and bought a new Legacy sedan.

If you check the manual, they are going to want you to keep the oil in for the duration until the first oil change. I couldn’t stand going that long but I checked with the dealer first before changing the oil ahead of schedule. 1000 miles is way too soon though and should be more like 3-4000.

If the vehicle in question is a 2010/11 Legacy with a 4-cylinder engine, the first oil change (just like all of the succeeding ones) is listed by the mfr for 7,500 miles. I would recommend that you change your oil on a regular basis at ~4k miles.

If you opted for the superior 6-cylinder engine, then the mfr is VERY specific in stating that the first oil change is due at 3k miles, and then every 7,500k miles thereafter. I changed the oil at 3k and then reverted to my usual 4k schedule.

If you don’t believe me, the same information can be found in the booklet titled Subaru Warranty and Maintenance, and it should be sitting in your glove compartment.

This is another discussion relative to what I call the oil change fetish. Because changing our oil is one of the most demonstrative and relatively easy things the average owner can understand, some of us think we are good to our cars if we hyper-oil change like changing baby diapers when they don’t need it to demonstrate good parenting.

I say this all in jest, but doing it by the book, good driving habits and maintaining the body correctly does more to enhance the long term car value then obsessing about oil changes different from the manual. Just routinely checking and toping off all fluids and staying on top of any leaks and new noises does more for all the mechanics of a car then changing the motor oil more then necessary, break in period or not. Every other piece of motorized equipment I have, indicates that it’s more important how the motor is operated then how many times you change the oil. To me, that would make for a more worthwhile discussion.

I used to be a 2500 mile changer and yearly antifreeze flush and changer too. Now that I think back, it was more to get me out of house work than enhance the longevity of my cars.