Oil change frequency for Kia Soul

I have a 2014 Kia Soul bought new. The owner’s manual says that the oil should be changed every 7k miles or so, but the dealership is saying that this is just a recommendation and because I live in Maine, the trying conditions up here require a change every 3500 miles. Now, we do get some pretty rugged winters, but really…that often? I have a short commute…about 10 miles each way, and it’s all paved road. Is this just baloney?



All the auto manufacturers are listing a higher miles between oil changes as a selling point.
Many are even saying that transmissions are so reliable that no maintenance is necessary either.
Just another selling point, because they know that the vehicle will be out of warranty when the problems arise.

I personally feel 3500 miles is a little too often and prefer 5000 mile changes on my vehicles.

But you do have a short commute and that is a little harder on the engine oil because it never gets to operating temp for a long enough period to rid the oil of moisture. Unless you do take the car for an extended ride for an hour…once every week, that would help to rid the oil of moisture from condensation.

I also would forgo their recommendation and have the tranny fluid changed every 30K.
It is a cheap investment to ensure that your engine and tranny will last through 200k.


The short commute and the harsh winters most likely qualify as severe conditions. Your manual will probably confirm that. But seriously for the price of a few extra oil changes why risk having warranty problems. The dealer might agree that every 6 months is a good compromise.

If your driving conditions are easy on the car (as rated per what the manual says) and qualify for the 7K interval, ok to stick with that if you like. But make sure you always use oil of the exact specifications stated in the owner’s manual. Best to use the same brand each time too. This is especially important if your Kia sports variable valve timing.

If your driving conditions are in between severe and easy, maybe compromise on 5K between changes. I change my oil on my 20+ year old Corolla around 5-6K and it seems to work fine for that car.

The definition of “severe” can be very vague. For my Subaru, if I do any driving near the ocean, or in the mountains, or in winter, it classifies as severe. Which covers 95% of the population.

Strikes me a CYA on the part of the manufacturer. But I did drop the oil change interval from 7.5k to 5k.

edit, make that 6k to 5k

I would be very surprised if the mfr’s specified oil change interval wasn’t expressed in terms of both odometer mileage and elapsed time, with a “whichever comes first proviso”. For example, it might specify every 7,000 miles or six months, whichever comes first. Many people overlook the elapsed time portion of the recommendation, or seem to be unable to unwrap the…complexity…of the either/or/whichever comes first recommendation.

Believe it or not, the elapsed time proviso can be even more important than the odometer mileage, because people who do a lot of short-distance, local driving (particularly in the winter) are the ones who will wind up with an accumulation of damaging sludge in the engine.

The OP should do himself a favor, and should re-read exactly what the mfr has to say regarding both odometer mileage and elapsed time, and should be very careful to not go beyond the elapsed time limits. Otherwise, you could wind up voiding at least part of your warranty, and that could be costly in the long run.

I used to change my oil at 3K miles. Over the years…I stretched that interval to 4K. I now change my oil at 5K and for now I think that’s a very good interval. I use 35K for the interval for my vehicles with automatic transmission. So far…no problems.

Harsh winters, stop and go short trips and having no engine block heater all sum up to VERY SEVERE SERVICE!!! I would change oil at 3000 mile sunder these exact conditions.

Agree that long drain intervals are a selling feature, and abused by manufacturers.

We live in a severe climate here, but park inside in an insulated garage, so no real cold starts. We also drive good distances on the weekends to avoid sludge formation. We change oil and filter every 5000 miles.

5k is an easy round # and would likely cover your driving style.

5k is the new 3k preached by the folks in that service industry.

The dealer prints their own service schedule so they can get you in the door more often. It increases their profits and it’s a common dealer practice.

You should be fine following Kia’s recommendation of 7.5K miles.

@JoeMario–The OP states a 10 mile one way commute, that is about 5000 miles a year plus other driving. The 7.5 mile oil change might not hurt the vehicle but I would recommend against it. Our 2014 Nissan Frontier says 5000 miles or 6 months and we have had a year and only have 3500 miles. I really think the OP will read the manual and find a time recommended oil change at 6 months.

Volvo: I understand what you’re saying.
Some will disagree with me, and that’s fine.

The presence of short trips doesn’t automatically equal severe driving. If the vehicle gets an occasional longer trip (long enough for the oil to get hot), in my experience, that’s enough to follow the normal schedule.

But then again I’m making an assumption that the OP (Louatwork) takes an occasional longer trip. I could be wrong.

I recently went to 5000 miles and changed to full synthetic. I (used to) change my oil in anything I drove since 1973 at 3000 miles with dino. It was hard for me to go to 5000, but it seems OK and I can say that I’m really happy with the change. The oil looks pretty clean after 5000 miles and I ran the economics and it comes out about the same, with synthetic at 5000 miles getting a slight edge. Just run your numbers . . . in 15000 miles with dino I would change every 3000 miles 5 tiimes X about $20 per change, or $100. With full synthetic I would change every 5000 miles 3 times at $25 per change, or $75. The bottom line for me is engine protection, convenience and price and it works out OK in all areas for me. I suggest going to the 5000 interval and using full synthetic. If you do it yourself, look on oil company websites for coupons, like Pennzoil or Mobil One, I usually can save a few bucks on the price of the full synthetic doing this. Less time under the car, better economics, good protection. Good luck! Rocketman

In some cases 3k miles or 3/4 month oil change intervals are justified and necessary. Moisture (both condensation and combustion processes) along with driving habits can make that interval critical.
Read the following…


Note the line about ZDDP in a full gallon of motor oil being destroyed by as little as a single drop of water.

Your dealership is lying. This is the first time I’ve heard of a dealership saying this. It must be the latest in this dealer’s scams. Hopefully it won’t catch on.

Yes, it upsets me. I hate hearing these things.

The manufacturer’s recommendation of changing the oil every 7,000 miles is perfectly good. If you prefer, every 5,000 is good too. But every 3,500 miles is entirely unnecessary except to transfer more of your wealth to the dealer’s bank account.

By the way, a 10 mile commute is perfectly sufficient to get the engine fully warmed up on all but the coldest days.

I have to respectfully disagree with the premise that changing the oil at 3500 miles intervals is not necessary and is a means of transferring wealth. The reason for both is:

  1. I’ve been at the service counter going round and round with the person who bought a new car and who is now wondering why oil sludging has developed at the 30 or 40k miles mark (or less) on their purchased from new car.

  2. Oil changes are not a money maker for the dealer or the mechanic. They’re clutter, an aggravation, and interfere with the real work that is more lucrative. Every place I’ve worked or know of has always charged .2 hour flat rate hours for an oil change; a whopping 12 minutes labor. That time includes dispatch time, finding the car, bringing it in, standing at the parts counter, running it back out after doing the actual work, processing of paperwork, and so on.

A mechanic makes 25 dollars a flat rate hour let’s say and he gets .2 for that oil change. That means he gets 5 bucks for the entire job.

At one dealer where I worked it was customary to spend 10-20 minutes at the parts counter just to get the oil and filter much less doing the actual job.
Nowadays dealers are piling on with free (meaning the mechanic pays…) multi-point inspections and tire rotations as part of those cheap oil changes.

I fail to see where the wealth is in any of that or where it’s ever been.

Oil changes get the customer into the shop often. Then the dealer can start recommending a lot of things that are not needed. There is a dealer in my area that provides free oil changes for life if you buy the car from them. Surely they have a plan to make money, and I think it involves substantial upselling.

For my '94 Honda Accord, I changed the oil at 7500 mi. intervals. NO engine problems in 20+ yrs and no measurable oil consumption.