When to change oil

I have a when to change the oil question. I have a new 2013 honda cr-v and received maintenance coupons for free oil changes every 7.600 miles the recommended mileage. The honda also displays the percentage of oil life used. My problem is I an now retired and live in an area where my doctor offices, lots of stores, supermarkets and restaurants are near my home. A lot of trips I take are four miles total. In the four months I have had the cr-v I have traveled 1,291 miles which will mean I will drive 3,873 miles per year. Is the recommended 7,600 miles per oil change still correct and should the oil life percentage displayed be a true measure of engine operatiion conditions? I changed the oil in my 2003 honda cr-v every 7,600 miles and had no problems but I was working then and driving about 10,000 miles per year. With my driving miles today it will take two years to reach 7,600 miles. Is this too long between oil changes? Thanks for your help. chuck1 cmeads1@cox.net

Most of us would recommend two oil changes per yeaar. Your driving style is SEVERE in that it leads to rapid sludge formation. My late mother-in-law drove that way and we changed her oil spring and fall.

Somewhere in your Owners Manual I’m sure it says to change the oil at least once a year.
Twice a year would be more conservative especially if you’re making these trips every day.
I drive about 4000 miles a year but only 2-3 times a week (bicycle to work) and most trips are at least 30 minutes.
I did twice a year while under warranty then switched to once a year.

If you are in a warm region then once a year may be sufficient. If you are in a cold area I would be inclined to change every 8 months approximately. In any any case using a full synthetic would be beneficial regarding your short trips.

I bet that your CR-V has an oil life monitor. How much oil life remains according to the monitor? If you don’t know how to check it, your owner’s manual will tell you. Calculate your expected change time based on your current mileage and the oil life remaining. Be sure to read in your owner’s manual if the OLM is overidden by a time limit. Let us know what you find. You can change it more often if you like, as the others suggested. I’ll bet that the Honda dealer will honor the 7600 mile coupons at least once per year. They expect people to drive about twice that every year.

BTW, check the oil level at least once per month to make sure that you aren’t using oil. At your long change intervals, you could run low on oil between changes.

At Least Once A Week Go For A Ride. Those Short Trips Are Not Sufficient To Get The Engine Up To Operating And Run It Long Enough Before Parking For A Time.

Any type of combustion (internal combustion engine) creates water (Have you ever seen water dripping from a car’s tailpipe during a short trip ?). Most of the water is created in the combustion chambers and exits through the exhaust system, but a certain amount gets into practically everywhere in the engine.

Changing the oil every couple of months is not going to be as beneficial as taking some longer rides. Plan some time and pick out some interesting places to go and have fun. I’d say a 20 to thirty mile/minute trip should do it. A longer trip at least once weekly won’t hurt.

Only then would I use the OLM (oil life monitor) or change the oil every 6 months, whichever is earlier.

Any way to make some trips on foot or bicycle or golf cart ?


I agree w/others here, at least every 6 months. The manufacturers are advertising low maintenance as a selling item, but it has started a sort of car-maintenance war where each manufacturer is tryiing to extend scheduled maintenance longer than the other’s schedule. But the problems from this, they show up in later years as big repair bills. It doesn’t make economic sense to save $35 by deferring an oil change, when you are risking a $7000 engine.

5,000 miles between is reasonable if the car is driven frequently and quite a bit is freeway driving. But w/your driving schedule, you’ll be money ahead to not extend it beyond 6 months.

I think it also is a good idea to always use the same brand (and weight, weather permitting) of oil at each change. This can avoid incompatibility problems between the additives.

I can see this becoming a popular question as people get older, retire and drive less. Now that I’m retired, driving way less (and walking and biking way more) I’m finding that if I wait for the mileage recommendation my oil is getting really ugly looking (probably because of the short trips, failure to get the engine up to operating temperature for a sustained period and cold weather in winter). On a strict time basis I was supposed to change my oil last October but I waited until the mileage requirement was met (two weeks ago) and of course the oil was disgustingly black. Living in a climate where winter (and very cold temps are a reality) I think two changes a year regardless of mileage are warranted. I also agree with CSA on the need for a regular 'Italian" tune-up…get it out on the highway for a couple of hours and get it hot!

@london Agree; the number of seniors in the population is increasing. We have friends who spend 2 months out of the country every year and don’t drive much when they are back home. My late mother-in-law drove about 3000 miles per year and we had to borrow her car every so often to give it a good work out. She changed oil twice a year.

A retired fellow down the street owns a 2004 Ford Focus and just turned 20,000 miles. He’s had 5 or 6 oil changes. The dealer keeps pestering him to bring the car in every 4 months, which would have resulted in 27 oil changes, or every 740 miles!

Since the car is garaged all the time I recommend at least one oil chnage per year, and preferably 2.

This low level of driving demands oil and filter changes at least once a year, and preferably twice.