Oil Changes

I have a 2006 Hyundai Sonata with 56,000 miles on it. The owners manual says to change the oil every 7500 miles. The place I take the car to for the oil change says every 3000 miles. Friends of mine say every 3000 miles because it is mainly driven in the city. I currently change the oil every 3000 miles which is about every four months. How often should I change the oil? Thank you for your advice. Sue

Sue, your owner’s manual should have a frequency for SEVERE service, which is the kind of driving you do now with many small trips. The servere service would also have a TIME interval, usually 4 months between oil changes. It would seem you are doing the right thing by changing every 4 months.

If you drove more and had a lot of highway driving, you would still change every 4 months if you did not reach the 7500 miles mark.

My wife’s Nissan had an interval of 3750 miles for severe and 7500 for normal highway driving.

Under your city driving conditions, I’d do a change every 6 months.

Your owner’s manual is the ultimate authority on this one, as well as any other questions regarding maintenance. It should be in your glove box. If for some reason it is not, a Web search should turn up a PDF version you can download.

Your type of driving would be considered severe service so stick with the 3k miles/4 months intervals. If you’ve ever heard about oil sludging problems then know that this problem is caused by extended oil change regimens.

I tore down a Ford V-8 engine (5.0 Liter) about a week ago and this engine was comparatively low miles (80k) and had gone through extended oil changes.
The 5.0 Ford engine is pretty much bullet-proof but this one was near wiped, with crankshaft bearings worn out, compression well down into the double digits on most cylinders, timing chain worn clean out, and some engine oil that could be removed in chunks.
That’s what delayed oil changes will get you. :frowning:

I would never dream of going 7500 miles between oil changes. Sludging is a major problem especially if you follow a 7500 mile oil change interval. I have gone 5000 miles between oil changes but the oil looked so nasty that I abandoned that interval and went back to my 3000-4000 mile interval. I think it’s money well spent.

I would add to my previous post that the maintenance schedule to abide by if you intend to keep this car for more than a couple years is the severe service schedule. Pretty much everyone falls into the category of severe service as defined by most of the descriptions in owner’s manuals. The worst example I have seen of extended oil change intervals is probably this guy: http://community.cartalk.com/discussion/2205794/gas-in-the-oil/p1

The worst case of outright negligence I have seen is an S10 that came into the shop once. If the sticker in the windshield is to be believed, it had been 30k miles and over two years since the last oil change. The dipstick showed thick, tarry oil. Removing the drain plug resulted in no flow without rooting around in there with a screwdriver to get the primordial sludge to ooze out of the sump.

As you now know there is not a single right answer.  If you add all the above together, you should end up with the right answer.

I’m going to weigh in hear, I have s 98 Buick and it has the oil change monitoring system. I know it’s just a algorithm and not a true sensor. However I do about 15-20 miles a day of driving, slow steady speeds 40-50 mph around town driveing. I do 5k oil changes and the light never turns on (I even did not reset it once and it dud nit come on till around the 7k mark. So if the computer says I have life left can’t I belive it?? Btw oil comes out dirty but not black.

gsragtop, the best authority is to capture some of the waste oil during your next oil change and have it analyzed. http://www.blackstone-labs.com/ will provide you with a free sampling kit, and analyze the sample for $25. This will verify the OLM’s effectiveness for you.

BTW, I also change my oil at 5,000. I do a mix of stop-n-go and highway in all my cars and trucks. These days, that’s about 6 months between changes in each. They are all over 200K miles on the odometer and I’ve never had an oil-related problem. I had the valve cover off of my wife’s Toyota Celica with 365,000 miles on it to change the gaskets, and there were no sludgy deposits or carbon build-up what-so-ever.

Hyundai recommends changing the oil and filter every 3000 miles for severe service.

I agree with “busted”.5000 to 7500 is more then enough. Anything sooner is wasted money. Do you think taxis change their oil every three thousand… I doubt it ! Car and Driver tested oil on NY taxis change intervals of 6k…the oil was nearly perfect. Darker color by the way, just means the oil is doing it’s job. Everyone here who recommends 3k intervals has stock in energy corps or are seriously disillusioned. ;=) Don’t believe them ! They are padding their and garages pockets with your gold.

Not really. Some of the people who recommend 3k miles oil changes are the same ones who have had to face customers with damaged or outright trashed engines due to following a 7k miles, give or take, oil change regimen.

If you’ve never worked a job as a professional mechanic and seen cars day in and day out with this kind of problem then your knowledge of this would be extremely limited or nil.

I might add this. Dark oil can mean deposits accumlating (oil sludge or coking) on the inside of the engine. Those deposits are not circulating with the rest of the oil so of course it won’t show up in an oil analysis.

Padding pockets with your gold? That’s laughable. Oil changes are not a profitable procedure for a shop or mechanic. Speaking for myself and other mechanics I know, a groan usually arises if presented a repair order for an oil change only because it’s a time waster and a losing propostion.
I’ve never seen or heard of a mechanic yet who “pads their pocket with gold” over a paltry .2 oil change operation and the only thing worse monetarily speaking would be performing a state safety inspection on a vehicle.

Ok4450… The problems mechanics see with lack of oil changes has NOTHING to do with Regular 5k to 7.5 k oil changes. You are feeding the frenzy that legitimate mechanics don’t agree with on today’s cars with today’s oil. You are living in the past…way back and prone to exaggeration of .2 oil changes.

Special case then yes, time should be used instead and I have always favored hour meters as a better gauge, but…

if you naively feel that encouraging, not one, but all the customers that come in for service in a dealership to change oil twice as often as needed, don’t make a significant contribution to your pocket book thats where your multiplying skills need a little work.

You and others like you can keep promoting the 3k mile changes out of non acceptance of the facts that modern cars and trucks survive well over 200k miles on 5 to 7.5 k oil changes to what end, I don’t know. The cruisers I drove back when oil was worse, survived in perfect running condition till traded to over 150 to 200k miles with 7.5 with non synthetic to 10 k with. . I suppose, the recommendation is given from fear that if an owner forgot at 3k, then at least it would be changed at 6 k. That 's the only false reasoning I can think of.

And no, oils aren’t suppose to be clean when you change them. You may be one mechanic with subjective working knowledge. I have family members who manage the service departments of more than a half dozen dealerships for over thirty years. They make money on excessive oil changes like all excessive service. By their admission the cars THEY sell, show no excessive wear when oil changes are done routinely on the longer schedules.

Btw, severe operating conditions for me when off roading and medium duty towing is 5k. Otherwise, I follow the 7.5k mile oil change interval, recommended in the MANUAL.

I assure you my math is dead on in regards to the .2 oil changes. Have you actually ever worked as a mechanic on flat rate? Even at that rate customers will complain. Imagine if .5 was charged with the shop having a 100 dollar an hour flat rate.

Many engines of all makes and models become damaged or totally trashed due to oil sludging or coking.
I’ve seen countless sludged engines with nowhere near 40k miles on the clock so what would you attribute that oil sludging or coking to?

This question has received a lot of attention, but the financial difference between every 3000 or 6000 is not a major issue unless maybe you drive a high-capacity vehicle (like many diesel trucks).
It probably matters little to the environment, since garages supposedly recycle motor oil, and four quarts of oil is negligible compared to the dozens or hundreds of gallons of petroleum-based fuel you burn in between changes. Sure, it’s nice to err on the conservative side when you are taking care of your expensive car, but today’s engines and oils are so good that they can be run for a long time between changes. So…

It’s probably one of life’s mysteries that can easily be ignored.

To dagosa - Every owners manual I have seen defines short trip driving in cold weather as severe service. The taxi cabs and police cruisers that you refer to seldom have their engines shut off during a shift, especially in cold weather so they don’t experience all the cold engine operation.

More people should read their owner’s manual and note that many drivers meet the severe conditions that the owner’s manual talks about and they should be using the shorter change interval.

OK4450…"I assure you my math is dead on in regards to the .2 oil changes. "

Just to be clear on my comments, I no way imply that the mechanic doing the oil change makes much though obviously it may contribute to job security. It is the garage owner over time, chain lubes, dealerships and motor oil companies along with their stock holder who benefit in general with greater then necessary service.

It also gives the garage the important duty, I will admit to checking mundane things like air pressure and fluid levels and component integrity on valued customer’s often neglected cars; things that the owner should be doing themselves. So, it does contribute to safer operation, just an expensive way of doing it over time.

oldtimer 11 "The taxi cabs and police cruisers that you refer to seldom have their engines shut off during a shift,"
Two things to consider; first, if motors may be seldom shut off, running time is much greater then the mileage change of 6K I referenced. So you make my point even better in these cases. !

Secondly, police cruisers are subjected to varied wear. The idea that a cop plants his fanny all day in an idling cruiser or coffee shop is only true in some (few) job situations. Cops vary their duties and the service the cars provide is much harder than the average driver. I can’t tell you how many times I jumped into a cold cruiser and floored it. An accident doesn’t ask you to warm your car up first by driving slowly to it.The opposite is often true.

Our state uses 10K interval changes for all service vehicles, our municipality used 5 to 7.5…Anything more, and the average tax payer would have a right to complain of over service. So if we think that constant idling then changing oil based upon mileage is good for a car, the 3k guys would be the first to never shut them off.

BTW, back when the the standard oil change was much lower…these same guys changed oil every 1500 miles; unfortunately, that included me too in my ignorance.