Oil Change Interval for 0W-20 oil

My daughter has a 2016 Camry 4 cylinder that gets very little milage; the driving she does is a mixture of city and highway. The maintenance guide recommends chaining the oil every 5K miles or 6 months, whichever comes first. It takes 0W-20 oil, so it has to be synthetic. Given this, why the 6 month guideline? Everything I’ve read says 1 year. (I’d also note that our 2011 Odyssey also uses 0W-20 and gives a maximum interval of 1 year, as does my Audi)

That’s a recommendation. Not a requirement.

It’s her property.

She can do whatever she wants.


I use 0-20 syn in my Acura and change at 5000. 6 months has never really been an issue until the last 6 months but changed it anyway. I think I paid $30 for a 5 quart jug plus $5 for an OEM filter. Pretty cheap compared to the cost of the car or an engine. Not sure why oil changes seem to be where folks want to cut costs.


The maintenance guide states to change the oil every 12 months/10,000 miles. Most Toyota/Lexus vehicles have had this schedule for the last ten years.

You can view the maintenance and warranty guide here;

Well yeah but they still make exceptions for severe service such as dusty roads, towing, car top carrier, or short trips in cooler weather.


New engine $4,000 to $6,000 - single oil change $50.00, you can do the math and determine how much risk to take to save $50


It’s up to your personal comfort factor, Mom’s 2010 Prius does a similar mix and around 8,000mi a year on average. Oil changes every 6,000 which the shop that’s been servicing her cars since 1993 believes is often enough.

The street I live on was paved in 1992 so none of those exceptions apply to me or any of my customers.

We charge twice as much for an oil change and a lot more for a new engine, about $5,000 for a used engine but there have not been any oil related engine failures, the desert environment must be easy on engine oil.

Hi ptesterman:
Where are you reading your oil must be changed every 5K or 6 months?

Your car specifies changing it that often only if you tow, use a car-top carrier, or drive with heavy vehicle loading. Is that your primary driving?

If that’s not your primary driving and especially given your daughter includes highway driving, you should be fine following your vehicle’s 10K/12month recommendation.

My son’s Mazda 3 and my 14 Highlander recommend 0w-20 oil. The Mazda says every 5k miles and Toyota says every 10k miles. I tend to keep my vehicles over 300k miles. I know for a fact that 5k oil change interval will get me there. Not so sure about the 10k interval. I’m sticking with the 5k interval.


Thanks - I got the 6 month/5k recommendation from the maintenance guide that came with the car. After reading your post I went back and looked again and I had missed the footnote saying that was for ‘severe driving conditions,’ so it actually is 10k/12mos for her.

My daughter doesn’t do her own oil changes, so it’s generally $50-60 to get it done, plus the time factor. She’s a college student, so both commodities are valuable. Neither she nor I have an issue spending money to properly maintain a car, but we do have an issue wasting money (and resources, since you’re going through more oil.)

I repeatedly see the “$xxx is cheaper than a new engine” and “more often is better” arguments, but one can also take those arguments one step further and say you should change the oil every 3 months or 25k miles. Or monthly, for that matter, ‘just to be safe.’ For the people making these arguments, why don’t you change your oil monthly? Or how about any of the engine additives that cost $25?

Oil breaks down with use and does degrades over time. My question was essentially given equivalent use, why would it degrade more quickly in a Camry than it does in an Odyssey or an Audi?

My father in law used to say, “If you simply regularly change the oil and fluids and do regular maintenance, a car should last practically forever”.

I do oil changes every 6 months and the the Hyundai is pushing 150,000 miles, the Chrysler 200,000 and the 1952 MG is pushing 70 years old … no major drive train repairs or rebuilds so it seems like the FIL knew what he was talking about.
As far as the Brand goes, these cars have been run on everything from Dino to Syn, House Brand to Mobil 1 with no noticeable difference as long as you follow the manufactures’s specs and regularly change the oil.

So simply schedule a visit for your car to your trusted mechanic the same day as your semi annual dentist visits and stop worrying about it. Trust me, the former will be a lot less painful than the latter. :wink:

I have 2 cars that use 0W-20, and 1 that uses 5W-20, all synthetic.

All three of them get the oil changed every 6 months or 6000 miles. It’s simple and easy to remember.

Oil and oil change frequency is an unneccesarily contentious issue.

You make an absurd arguement when you drive the change interval to 3 months or 3K, 1 month or 1K. Those of us that use the line… oil is cheaper than a new engine… and I do, are only trying to tell you to err on the more conservative side if in doubt.

We all have some prejudice in this area because we’ve got a lot of anecdotal experiences with this. Many of us have high mile cars, or really high mile cars, that validate our maintenance schedules. As you can read most change at least to the manufacturers spec but most do better. But they don’t miss or skip changes and that may be the most important point.

Be careful picking Audi as an example to follow, as they are well known for their timing chain getting worn prematurely.

I’m not an expert to claim I have the stats, but one of the suspected factors is their extended oil change intervals combined with relatively high power drawn from their engines.

@wolyrobb made a good point above: “it’s up to your personal comfort factor”.

I would add that you have to make your mind if you are targeting 300K+ miles on the car like @MikeInNH or you expect to dispose your car much earlier than that, this is also a factor to making your own decision.

… and also for consuming oil VERY quickly.

Yes, it was intentionally so. The point is why is it absurd to suggest 3 months but not 6 months? As you state, everyone has anecdotal experiences but if I play devil’s advocate, the fact that a car makes it to 200k miles getting oil changes every 6 months doesn’t prove that they wouldn’t get that much milage getting the oil changed every 12 months. The other factor is that people who change their oil religiously are are also more likely to take care of other maintenance and not drive the car hard, also reducing wear.

We’ve never kept a car to 150k, but never had an engine failure either. Our Odyssey uses an oil life gauge and it generally hits 10% around 7500 miles/9 months. We’ve had it for 10 years/110K miles and had absolutely no problems.

Totally agree; just trying to figure out if there’s any reason people are more comfortable with 6 months; like Mustangman said it seems to be a whole lot of anecdotes which really isn’t terribly helpful.

How does the oil affect the timing chain? The chain is outside the engine and doesn’t touch the oil.

I would not go that far… I drive my cars very hard. My Mustang with 75K on the odo does track days regularly and gets one oil change a year… and my OLM never reaches lower than 40%. My truck was used to tow 9300 lbs (500# more than its rating) worth of trailer and race car 6-10 times a year for the first 110K miles. Whenever the service engine light came on, the oil got changed. Now it is once a year and the truck has 140K on it. Uses a quart every 4000 miles or so.

As for 3 month intervals… You change on time because of moisture and acids that build up because of short trips where the engine does not fully warm up. I live in a hot humid state so warm-up is fast and complete even in short trips but the cars sit enough to build moisture in the oil anyway. So my changes are 1 year and about 4000 miles for all 3 of my cars.

DOHC engines bathe the long, multiple timing chains and guides in engine oil. Far more than the old V8’s did. The oil passages are not large so if there is any buildup, it clogs those first.

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Then how does it receive lubrication?

Actually I did change the oil in my Riviera every month when I was driving 3000 miles a month. Dang thing only made it to 520,000 miles though. It wasn’t the engine though that had never been opened up in that time, but hey, suit yourself. I understand being frugal and that’s not me. My frugal neighbor only washed his new car when it was raining to save water.