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Oil change after first 1,000 miles

Hello all. I read in Tom and Ray’s tips on making your car last forever that new car owners should get an oil change after the first 1,000 miles. I was just curious as to why this is. Any ideas?

They’re hoping you’ll bring your Yaris to their shop so Ray can make his next boat payment.

I don’t know, and I guess I disagree with them. Some folks seem to think there will be lots of metal wear going on during break in, but 1-even if there was, that’s what oil filters are for, and 2-I doubt much occurs, anyway. I would certainly follow whatever the manufacturer recommends, of course.

In the past with poorly machined surfaces and sloppy tolerances, a lot of debris ended up in the oil after 1000 miles. The oils were not that great either in those days.

So the general recommendation was to dump the oil after 1000 miles and put fresh oil in. My Corolla did not have any such recommendations and said to keep the oil in for 5000 miles!

The advice is kind of old, but it probably applies to some cars. The idea was that the engine came from the factory with special oil for breaking-in the engine, and that oil should be drained and replaced with normal oil as soon as the engine is broken-in.

Check your owner’s manual and find out if this 1,000 mile oil change is necessary with your car. If it isn’t, don’t worry about it.

Owners of new cars should read the scheduled maintenance book that comes with the owner’s manual and follow it.

Decades ago most manufacturers recommended a change after 1000 miles and every 3,000 miles thereafter. But times have changed. In addition to Doc’s and Whiey’s excellent points, many engines now come “broken in” from the factory.

Read your manual. Let that be your guide.

Thanks everyone. My manual has no such “break-in” oil change recommended and I was just curious.

I think it’s a good idea. But not only change the oil but also cut open the oil filter so the media can be inspected.

I had a coworker who bought a new pickup. And after 1200 miles he asked if I could change the oil and open up the oil filter. While he was standing there, I cut open the oil filter and both of us stood there in shock at the amount of metal in the media. Needless to say this truck went right back to the dealer with the contaminated oil filter in a plastic baggie so they could see what was happening inside the engine. He got his money back less the mileage he put on the truck.


I tend to agree with the 1000 mile oil change. Even though tolerances are better today and oils and filters are better . . . every race engine or “built” engine I’ve ever had done for me had an oil and filter after the first 1000 as suggested by the builder. Maybe the change is overkill . . . but the money you spend on an oil change is NOTHING when compared with the price of a new engine, re-build or “built” engine, so I’d go with it. Rocketman

While I cannot argue with the theory that you can’t change your oil too often, I’m not sure race engines and rebuilts are good examples. Race engines and rebuilds clearly need breaking in, but modern car engines built in the factory generally do not.

Race engines and rebuilds are controlled to the drawing tolerances.

Parts in modern manufacturing are actually produced to process tolerances that are far tighter than the drawing tolerances. A drawing might have a dimensional range of 2.000" +/- .005, meaning the dimension can range from 1.095 to 2.005. The process controls used in current manufacturing, however, might be controlling the variation of that dimension within .001 or less, that being the range between the Upper Control Limit and the Lower Control Limit, and have the distribution curve centered on 2.000. That means that the parts are much closer to the design ideal, and when two parts interfacing are held to that much stricter limits everything fits far better and more consistantly. Clearances are for more precise. Multiply that by 1000 parts that interface in some way and the difference is dramatic.

Besides, many factories now perform break ins on the engines preior to delivery.

Tester, let us all know which engine this was as it certainly is one to avoid,or do you suspect this event was a “one off” and not the norm? Are you suggesting that all car owners in America cut open their oil filters from every oil change performed while the car is under warranty because there may be a new engine in it for them?

It works just as well as threatening to send it to Canada for medical care. Don’t let anybody ruin your car before the first oil change is due.

I agree in part with you MB . . . but that $15 I spend to change my oil is still small change in comparison.  Maybe it makes me sleep better, I don't know . . . but I would still vote for the 1000 mile change, even on a new car.  Good points, rational and supportive, but still . . .  oil and filters are cheap.  Rocketman

Supposedly Honda’s break-in oil uses a higher level of molybdenum and they recommend leaving it in there till the first scheduled oil change.

Years ago Chrysler instructions were to leave the factory fill oil in the full term, i.e. 4000 miles, since the original oil had an “anti-scuff compound” in it. It’s the same compound as in their “engine oil supplement” which they recommend to add after an engine rebuild.

I still think this is a good idea for most new cars. Sure tolerances are better, but there is always bits of metal left over from the manufacturing processes. What can it hurt? And, if it helps then the cost of one extra oil change is pretty low.

I read the comment about cutting open a oil filter from a new car, not surprised there was a lot of stuff in it. Question is, how would that compare to cutting open a filter after 5,000 miles of use in a car with 40,000 miles? Perhaps there would be a bunch of junk in that filter too, maybe not. Has anyone done any controlled studies to confirm or deny the benefits of a 1,000 or 1,500 mile oil change on a new motor? I’ve never seen such a study, so it is a matter of personal opinion. My opinion is to go for the early oil change on a new motor.

$15 is worth it for a good night’s sleep. And I’ll always argue strongly against extending oil changes, but never argue strongly against doing more than the manual recommends. No engine was ever harmed by having fluids fresher than required. There is no such thing as TOO fresh.

I support your efforts to change the oil at 1000 miles even if the manual does not call for it, while at the same time believing that they’r not necessary.

Uncle T, my reply would be the same as that to Rocketman. While I might feel it not necessary unless specified, a 1000 miles oil changes certainly never hurt any engine.

Your comment about studies is interesting to me. We’ve discussed the issues of early oil changes as well as synthetic oils on a number of threads, and the truth is that there just isn’t any good data out there. While I’ve no doubt that millions of combined hours of life testing have been performed in engine manufacturers’ reliability labs, none of that data is published. Too bad…it would be enlightening to see.