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When to change oil, a blog

Blog on drain requirements for different types of oil, debunking the need for 3,000 mile oil changes, still standard for a number of participants here who insist anyone who doesn’t change at 3,000 miles does not care for their cars.

Under certain conditions, short trip, stop and go driving in winter conditions, 3000 miles is just about right…Only so much moisture and blow-by can be absorbed. Highway driving during the summer, 7500 mile change intervals are reasonable…Some engine designs can tolerate longer drain intervals than others…There is no fixed answer…Bloggers who sound like AMSOIL distributors can change their oil whenever they want and the rest of us will do the same…There is no hue and cry promoting 3000 mile oil changes on this board and going 20,000 miles will void ANY car makers warranty…

if you use cheap filters and no name cheap oil 3k is it. but better oil and name brand filter (Wix for example) i go about 5-6 k between changs

It really doesn’t matter to me what others say. After about a million and a half miles of experience, I change oil when the OLM says about 50% which is between 3000 and 5000 miles usually. Even with synthetic, that’s only $25 worth of oil and filter a time on a $40,000 car. Seems kind of silly to scrimp on oil changes at that price.

This dialog seems to go on endlessly. Synthetic oil has some advantages in longer drain intervals under very stressfull conditions. Other than that, it needs the same drain interval as regular good quality oils.

The posters are right, that driving conditions and climate have a strong bearing on the drain interval. I personally do not trust to go the full 100% on the GM OLM; I would change at 50% remaining oil life. That will still be more than 3000 miles, probaly 4000 miles. In my Corolla I follow the manual and change at 5000 miles, at that mileage the oil is still clear, mostly because the engine is still in like new condition at only 35,000 miles.

I try to maximize engine life, not oil life.

Be very suspect of any blog which repeatedly mentions AMSOL!!!

I have a Buick LeSabre with 113,000 miles that has a dash readout which shows % of oil life remaining as discussed in the link. At 7200 miles and 42% remaining, I changed it. It was still fairly clear, but it was down its first quart. I figured that’s a good time.

Years ago I read of an oil test involving New York City taxis. They ran the fleet at different intervals from 2,500 to 20,000 miles between changes. They found that 10,000 miles between changes caused NO MORE wear on their engines than 2,500. The engines were torn down and checked at 100,000, 150,000 and 200,000 unless they needed it before then.

I can’t say that a lot of credence should be given to a hokey warranty company with many complaints against them and an expert automotive journalist.

Automotive journalist is not necessarily defined as mechanically proficient.

OLMs work for me. My 2003 Silhouette has 130,000 miles on it and doesn’t burn oil. I change the oil once the OLM drops below 20% life remaining. Note that the only auto manufacturer he mentioned is GM, but most, if not all, have oil life monitors now. You may recall several Honda owners complaining about not having a suggested oil change interval in the owner’s manual. If the system is faulty, why do so many manufacturers use them? It’s a class action suit just waiting to happen if there are long-term problems with the OLM. But I’ve never heard of such a law suit. California tested OLMs in their fleet by disassembling engines to see if there was additional wear on them vs. changing oil based on mileage. They couldn’t find any problems and the Cali motor pool uses the OLM for all fleet oil changes.

The oil tests I’ve seen back up the OLMs. Sure, no harm in 3000, but the same could be said for 1000, or 500, or any low number.

Yah! Oil changes are good conversation. My 4.8 GMC says 3,000 miles and that comes out to twice a year. I use Castrol Syntec. Do I have to? I say maybe with the rollers on my lifters. Who needs problems? It’s cheaper than my cost for gasoline.

The author of that blog seems to have some pretty shaky automotive company (Warranty Direct, CarMD, and Lauren Fix who apparently fills in on his show) and I think his comments are theory based; not real world.

He’s “not comfortable with going over 20-25k miles on full synthetic oil”? I bet; and he’s also apparently a shill for Mobil 1 and AMSOIL. No reference is by accident.

An expert automotive journalist also claimed in Motor Trend a few years ago that the newer Mustangs with LED taillamps would use 10 gallons of gas less per year in normal driving than a similar car with incandescent bulbs; all due to bulb differences. The author stands by that bogus statement and where does it trace back to? Sylvania, an advertiser and producer of LEDs.

I was real wary changing our 2005 Legacy turbo the recommended 7500 miles with spec’ed conventional. So I choose 3750 miles the typical Subaru severe interval. Guess what I got a letter stating highly recommending all Subaru turbo motors should have 3750 mile oil changes.

I follow the my Acura MDX OLM which turns out to be 6.5k-8k using spec’ed dino. Prior owner did the same.

Warranty Direct…has one of the WORSE records in the extended warranty market. I’m not a fan of any extended warranty programs…but warranty direct is considered the worse of the worse.

With a simple google search I’m sure you can find several oil change interval studies that say the opposite.

Stick with the OEM recommended oil change interval…As MB always said…(paraphrasing now)…Are you trying to get the most out of your oil…or the most out of the engine?? It seems that the people swear that by using synthetic oil you can extend your oil change interval is saying they are trying to achieve the most out of their oil…NOT their engine.

Between my wifes cars and my cars that I’ve maintained…there’s well over 1 million miles of PROVEN experience. When the extended oil change people can show me that…I’ll start to look into it.

I think you guys are being a bit tough on the jounalist. I didn’t see anything terrible in the article. I think because we’ve just been in so many lengthy debates on the subject, and because we’ve been spammed by an Amsoil rep, we’re being overly defensive.

I would say, however, that the article would have been better if the author had pointed out that different perspectives exist on the subject without making those who believe in frequent oil changes look like Hatfields & McCoys.

I’m a bit tough on him because of the obvious shilling, the outfits he associates with (for a fee no doubt), and the lunacy of condoning 20-25k miles oil change intervals. The cut and paste below is what he used to say before Mobil 1 and AMSOIL apparently padded the account a bit.

For Tom Torbjornsen, maintaining cars is easy and cheap compared to the work and costs of major repairs when owners neglect and ignore simple instruction. So the host of radio’s America’s Car Show - heard on 45 stations across the country by more than 1 million people - doesn’t have a lot of patience for those who don’t take his advice to heart. “I repeat it like a mantra, but some people refuse to listen,” he says. “If you want your car to last, change your oil every 3,000 miles, flush your radiator every 24,000 miles or two years and change your transmission fluid every 35,000 miles. And do it like clockwork!”

I see your point. I’m unfamiliar with the guy, so mine was a “cold” read.

when the web link contains “webpromotions” just close the browser.

I don’t go farther than 5,000 miles between oil changes, using synthetic blend. Could I go longer? Probably. But it seems silly to scrimp on this one. Peace of mind. And I like that my mechanic gives it a quick look over when it’s on the lift at each oil change.

This is one of those arguments like people insisting on what’s the fastest way to commute to work given two suitable routes, or which grocery store would come up with the cheapest bill. People love to have these discussions, but, in real life, unless one goes really too long between changes, or takes some out of the way road, or tries to do one’s shopping at a convenience store, it isn’t a big deal, and comes down to differences which are washed out in the particulars.

I average 10 to 12k per year. I do a spring and fall oil change. I have never had the GM change oil light, but accept this schedule as my minimum. 130k? I leave the odometer on trip, because I don’t want to know.

I go by time, not miles, for my O/C. If I went by miles I’d have only changed the oil once or twice in my car.
As others have pointed out on here before: Oil is cheap, engines are expensive.