Oil change interval: manual vs. dealer


#1

When the owner’s manual (2006 Toyota) says change every 5K and the dealer puts on a windshield sticker for 3K, whom do you believe?


#2

I go with the manual - but make sure you evaluate whether your driving falls under the “extreme” (or whatever its called) service category. (E.g. lots of short trip, stop & go, hauling, dirty conditions, etc. call for more frequent svc intervals).


#3

the manual. it is a personal choice. some swear by 3k oil changes. i don’t have a problem with 5k, a try to do 3k, but hey, i’m human. i slip once in a while and get a long one in sometimes.


#4

I think most of these cars have the “maintinence required” light that will blink a little when you start your car and it’s getting close to needing an oil change and come on solid when you’re overdue. I’m not sure if they do the oil life calculations some models do or if it just comes on a little bit before 5k miles.

In my opinion, a 3k change on a modern car with modern oils is way too short.


#5

Ask yourself this question, what is the dealer’s motivation and what is the manufacturer’s motivation? The dealer views every trip to their shop as an opportunity to sell you something, so the more often the better. The manufacturer wants the car to appear to need very little service, so less often is better. I personally decided around 1980 to go with 5K mile intervals and have never regretted it. I occasionally get someone telling me how I’m ruining my cars by not going with 3K, but for me and my cars there is zero evidence of a problem. The 3k oil change almost always seems to come from people selling oil and/or service.

One old mechanic on another on-line forum told me I must be buying new cars every few years and just didn’t know. When I pointed out that I have always kept new cars 10 years or more (with a couple exceptions) and had well over 100,000 miles without any oil usage on several, he told me I was just lucky.

In my opinion, 5K is fine unless you do a lot of short trips and no long ones at all, or almost no long trips. Short trips being less than 5 or 10 miles.


#6

With today’s oils 5k oil change intervals are perfectly fine. Many cars call for oil changes in intervals upwards of 10k miles.


#7

Go with the manual, for a number of reasons. Toyota reduced the iterval from 7500 miles in the past to 5000 for all kinds of driving. I bought a new Toyota last year and since my driving is average, I’m sticking with the 5000 mile interval.

However, if live in the Northern states, and you park outside in the winter (no engine block heater) and do a lot of stop and go driving with short trips, I would play it safe and go with 3000, but not because the dealer says so. My Toyota dealer is highly regarded here and says 5000.


#8

The manual is correct but dealer wants you in more often. There are good reasons for 3k oil changes like owners(my wife for example) who never open the hood to check the oil level as many engines (yes even golden Toyota) consume oil.

However the dealer is looking for more opportunity to get potential work on your vehicle too.


#9

Thanks to all – it’s nice to see such unanimity!