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Oil changes for lightly driven car

Hi Ray, I have a 6 cylinder 2017 Dodge Charger. As I am retired I just drive it about 3000 miles a year. I’m wandering about oil changes. Should I get one at least once a year or is every 2 years fine. I live in Phoenix so it is hot and dusty but car is kept in garage.

The owners manual will have that specification, use the one for severe service. I personally would do it every six months.

The owners manual tells you a time and a mileage whichever comes first.

An example. 5000 miles or one year. That means you change oil every year because that comes first. Easy.

Yep wonder no more. I think you could do once a year and be fine. Twice a year if you really want to take care of it.

Actually, the OP told us that he is “wandering”, which makes me wonder if his car is in need of a wheel alignment.


I would feel comfortable once a year minimum. I live WI, I do spring and fall no matter what the miles. Oil life monitor has never gone off, usually change is at 3k or so miles, and that is about the time it needs a quart. 199k miles on an 03.

Once per year is probably OK, but. You should see what is recommended in your owner’s manual or maintnenance manual.

Yeah I wondered if he was wandering or wondering but figured a slip of the finger on the keyboard. Not as bad as “witch” instead of “which” on Halloween though. Gobble gobble gooble coming up. Wonder what’s in store for us. Looking for a turkey dealer or a turn-key dealer. Never mind. If it wasn’t so dang cold I’d try to get some work done in the garage instead of playing on the computer.

Time for oil changes on both cars. As the one rolled over so is no longer on warranty, I commented to my bored passengers how I stopped my Riviera to take a picture of the dash when it rolled over to 500,000.0. Problem is it is on my old phone and try as he did, my IT guy was never able to get it out of there so it could be pondered. It was a site to behold anyway due to frequent oil changes.

If you’re making a lot of short trips (avg 11 miles every day) I’d do 6 months.
If it’s mostly weekend drives of some distance then I think once a year is OK.

This frequently comes up with “hobby” cars that aren’t driven a lot.

The general consensus is that frequent short trips, where the engine doesn’t get hot enough to boil off the moisture from the engine and oil, is actually harder on the car because of corrosion so every 6 months.
Fewer but longer trips and you can go the 1 year or 6,000 miles.

But running only 3,000 a year, at least once a month I’d also be sure to take a half hour freeway cruise to exercise the A/C, keep your seals flexible, keep mold from forming inside and to dry out the exhaust.
And most important for “when you decide to give up the keys”, be sure your spouse and/or potential heirs know that a 20 year old Charger with 60,000 miles isn’t an old heap but a cherished find!!!

Keep on truckin’

As long as it is under warranty, you must fulfill the maintenance requirements so if the owners or maintenance manual says one year or x miles whichever comes first, you must follow that.

After the warranty is up, it depends on your driving schedule. If you drive the car everyday but short trips, then continue following the manual. If you only drive it once or twice a week, but put some miles on it each trip, then I don’t see an issue going by miles alone.

BTW, if you are the short but frequent trip driver, you should drive the vehicle at least 14 miles once every other week just to keep the oil pH in the normal range.