As a younger A.S.E. certified tech, I was one of those"every 3000…on the dot" type guys for my OCIs on my personal vehicles for many years.One of the first shops I was employed with(class 8 trucks) introduced me to oil analysis, and it was a practice that I incorporated when I started a small otr trucking company of my own.
Heavy trucks aside(300,000 to 500,000 OCIs w/synthetics and by-pass filtration), I decided to analyze the oil in some personal vehicles.Yes, I realize that one oil analysis is costs more than an oil change for the avg commuter car.This was done just for my peace-of-mind.
What I found was that cheap dino oil can go well past the 3000 mile mark, depending on the condition of the engine(%blow by,injectors,CTS,FPR,head gasket,…etc) and typical driving conditions(ambient temp and long vs. short trips).
Car #1 Nissan Sentra(ga16de motor).: I consistently went 7500 miles on whatever oriely had on sale at the time(chevron,mobil,pennz,valv), always 10w30. If my routine involved daily non-stop freeway driving of 20 miles or more, I could push that to 10,000 mile before I saw degradation of any sort in the oil(viscosityand total base#).I sold this car at 250,000 miles with perfect compression in each cyl. To be honest, I have a freind that still has a similar year sentra that is in the mid 300s…and his idea of maintenance is add oil when it gets noisy or the light flickers.
Car#2 2006 Sonata I-4 Currently at 105,000. I was changing oil at 10,000 with penz synth when i was driving it with good reports from the lab. I probably could have pushed it to 15,000, but it’s just easier to remember to change at 70, 80, and 90 thousand. I gave the car to my daughter to drive and have since changed to dino oil (mobil 5w30) and back to a 5000 mile OCI. She drives much less than I and the car barely gets to operating temp by the time she gets to school. I could get more from the oil, but I doubt it would make it to 10,000 and a 7,500 oci is harder to remember than every 5000.
My conclusion? JUst because your dad changed oil every 3000, doesn’t mean you have to do the same.Today’s oil is much higher quality and we don’t have carburetors anymore contaminating the oil with raw fuel(although a stuck injector will do the same thing). Jiffy lube (or Autozone)says you need to come back every 3000. Why? What’s their motivation?.. What other countries have built a billion dollar industry on changing oil? I don’t see it when I travel in S. America anyway, and I think Europe is similar.
Can I tell anyone when exactly to change the oil to maximize their consumer dollar and minimize their eco-impact? Nope. A lot of variables to consider.At the very least if one knows his/her gas mileage avg and can tell when they are running rich,you have a better chance of extending the OCI. I choose to use a quality synthetic, a good filter (purolater white or gold, napa, or rebranded champion, hastings, wix) and change it every 10,000 miles.
Anyone that wants more info, “bob is the oil guy.com” is a great forum full of info from oil nerds like me.
Polaris labs, Blackstone, Lab One (here in Phoenix) are a few examples of oil analysis labs. I won’t buy a piece of equipment without taking an oil sample first. It can tell you so much info. High lead/copper =bearings, iron=gears, potassium(if i remember correctly)= coolant(head gasket), %fuel dilution= bad injectors/temp sensors/rings…just to name a few things.
Anyway…sorry for the long-winded rant.