Oil Changes on a Rarely Driven Nissan Maxima


1998 Maxima with 120K miles. As of a year ago, I drive it less than 5,000 miles per year. Used to change oil every 5,000, but am not sure that’s still a good guideline. What’s the conventional wisdom on oil changes for rarely driven cars.


If you drive less than 5,000 miles per year, change the oil once a year. Spring or fall, whichever you choose, but once a year is sufficient.


I agree with McP. Once a year is great.

  • mountainbike


I would base it soley on the kind of driving you do. I don’t see how the time(3 months vs. 12 months) is that big of a factor. Oil change franchises will tell you to do it at least every 4 months. I don’t know what the facts supporting this are, (if any). For average driving every 5k miles is fine. If you pull a trailer, do alot of city driving or drive alot on dirt roads I would do it every 3k miles. Just my humble opinion.


once a year. I have one that I have been doing that on for many years. Oil is fine, can actually go longer too.


Don’t forget to change the filter as well.


I don’t see how the time(3 months vs. 12 months) is that big of a factor.

You may have intended to indicate the following, but just to make sure and to make sure the OP understands.

The car manufacturers provide guidance for oil change times. They (almost always) provide a the lesser of time or miles.

There are two factors for miles. First low mileage cars are generally drive short distances and that is far harder on a car (per mile) than long drives. You need more changes. I suspect this is the most important part of their calculation. It may also be because oil can pick up moisture sitting in the open system.