Year long synthetic?

The maintenance schedule for my 2006 Toyota Matrix calls for an oil change every 5000 miles or 6 monthsn which ever comes first. On my last oil change (Last July) I went to fully synthetic oil. Here’s my question: Now that I’ve gone to synthetic, could I go the whole year between changes? In a year I barely put 7000 miles on it.

Do you drive a few long trips in a year? If so, then yearly changes could be okay.
Do you drive a bunch of really short trips per year? If so, then every six months may not be often enough.

Was your goal in changing t osynthetic to make your iol last longer or to make your car last longer? If it was to make the car last longer, then extending oil change periodicity will negate the alleged benefits of using synthetic.

Stay with the manufacturers’ recommended oil change schedule.

It mostly depends on how short in duration your low mileage is. The fuel enrichment process is the same for all of them. Long or short trip. That’s what loads your filter, not “metals”. If your short trip usage is mostly errand hopping where the engine is past that fuel enrichment state, then it should be okay. Stuck in traffic would probably work too. After warm up it’s typically down to the amount of fuel you’ve run through the engine.

So, give your location/climate …and describe your daily or routine driving event.

I’ve been going about 7,000 miles a year on RAV4 for 5 years…no problems…no guarantees either.

Is it in or out of warranty. If in you must follow the specified intervals otherwise you potentially can get denied on a claim.

My choice is to go with no less than what the owner’s manual says. While I believe you should be fine extending the change interval, I have not tested that thought an I would guess the Toyota has not tested that either. I would stick with the recommend schedule and I would likely use synthetic, you might even gain a little mileage, or not.

You will void the warranty if you have engine problems by going over the mileage. Just because synthetic costs more does not mean it has more additives to make it go further; it is just more resisistant to breakdown as a result of high temperatures.

Stick to the 5000 miles and your car is one that does not really need synthetic for normal driving.

Synthetic will help, but your low mileage per year actually takes more of a toll on the oil than long road trips. If the oil never has a chance to fully warm up and burn off moisture, blowby, and volatile impurities, it will degrade quickly. It’s sludging that’s the enemy here, and even a good synthetic won’t be totally resistant to this with your driving style. And if you live in a cold climate, that will really make the oil suffer.

If you really want to try this just to save maybe $50/year, get an oil analysis done for around $25 after going for say, 5000 miles and see if the oil has any life left and what the overall condition of the oil is and if there is an indication of abnormal engine wear.

Blackstone just raised prices, but not much. I agree, if you want to know, get the oil tested at an oil lab. The results are quite complex, and tell you much more than the condition of the oil. It’s like magic; bearing wear; blow by; contamination; and lots more, as well as how your oil is doing.

But, one thing is simple. If your car is under any sort of warranty or extended warranty, change per the manufacturer’s recommendation, or the warranty is void.

I first did this because of all the bad advice one gets here when asking about oil change issues, and it is the only way to find out what is happening with your car and your driving conditions.

I’d go for it. Full synthetic oil doesn’t break down molecularly as fast as conventional oil. Is it risky? Yes. Will it void a factory warranty? Yes, if you experience a motor failure related to oil.

If the car is off warranty, I see the risk as small. Don’t push it beyond 12 months or 10K miles. Many new cars are coming with full synthetic and recommending longer oil change intervals with full synthetic.

If your Matrix was built with a turbocharger I won’t extend the oil change interval in that case. I don’t think the Matrix has a turbo however.

If you go to th longer interval, make sure your oil has enhanced additives to account for the longer life. Here are some Mobil1 products. Read the information carefully, and decide if any of these products will work for you. After you narrow the list, you might check other manufacturers of similar products. Mobil1 Extended Performance will work, but there might be another option.