# Frequency of Oil Change debate

### Help Support The Rocketry Forum:

#### Kirk G

##### Well-Known Member
OK, we're not all going to agree, but let's try to calmly discuss the recommendation for changing your auto oil AND filter, every 3000 miles.

When I started driving in the early 1970s, the recommendation was oil change every 5,000 miles and the oil filter every other oil change.
We were already past the winter weight/summer weight days, and my first oils were 10W-40.

Nowadays, in my 2009 Toyota Corolla the oil is 5W-20 and every 3000 miles is recommended, with a filter change every time.
The 2006 Pontiac Vibe calls for 5W-30 and also every 3000 miles.

When I asked a car mechanic in a social setting how they could change the periodic service, and the weight of oil required without changing the internal combusion engine, he laughed.
He said, "It's only because of a stroke of a pen." Meaning, they simply printed a different number in the owners manuals of the newer cars because the government wanted them to...to get higher miles/gallon out of the new cars.

Discuss.....

#### Kirk G

##### Well-Known Member
I might also add t hat I drive the Toyota 37 miles to work and again back home five days a week. This adds up to 20,000 each year. But they are virtually all highway miles.
The Vibe is driven within a two-three mile radius for home errands and sometimes less than a half a mile to work or school, and almost never at high speed on a highway.

To save money, I buy a jug of 5W-20 or 5W-30 for 4 or 5 quarts, and the local Autozone store always seems to be running a special that includes a replacement Fram oil filter of my choice.
As a result, I have at least a half a dozen filter that fit the VIBE, but I cannot access the Corolla's internal oil filter without a hoist, pit, and specialized wrench. So I take it two blocks down the street to an oil change place,
and they do it every other oil change.

Total cost: VIBE change: Under $25 (used to be under$19 regularly)

#### jderimig

There are oil testing labs that will help determine what YOUR frequency should be. For die-hard motor heads an oil test can be very interesting.

On an oil change you collect and send some of the oil to the lab and all sort of interesting content will come back such as how much life is left in your oil and the state of your engine. Here's a lab for such informtion...

http://www.blackstone-labs.com/

#### OverTheTop

##### Well-Known Member
TRF Supporter
There are oil testing labs that will help determine what YOUR frequency should be. For die-hard motor heads an oil test can be very interesting.
I did this years ago. The testing showed my diesel Nissan Patrol could go to about 15000km before needing an oil change. I always changed at about 6000km for the diesel. Oil is cheap, engines are not. Caterpillar have the service (known as SOS, Special Oil Sampling I think, here in Australia) down here. Some surprising results can be found. Bearings wearing leave trace metals in the oil and can indicate maintenance that is needed. It is quite dependent on the type of driving you do and the car. High silicon content can even tell you if your intake system has an air leak! Interestingly a lot of the labs that do this service use the spectrometers that I had a major part in designing!

#### Jozef

My vehicles are newer and all use synthetic oil, one uses semi-synthetic as recommended by GM for that engine. I follow the oil life indicator on the Pickup and SUV as there are the primary drivers. When oil life gets to 20% I begin considering service. The respective dealers are very reasonable and charge about $12 labor for the service. The difference in the cost of oil vs buying my own, the mess of changing it and having to dispose of it at Wal Mart is well worth the slight difference in cost. The hight performance car only gets about 6,000 miles a year, so the oil and filter get changed annually (Mobil 1). The dealers put a bring it back in 5,000 mile sticker, but the service manager says follow the oil life indicator. It uses an algorithm of use variables to determine oil life. #### Flyfalcons ##### Well-Known Member I use 5,000 miles or one year, whichever comes first, using synthetic. #### Pat_B ##### Well-Known Member Our two Honda vehicles calculate the oil change frequency based upon the type of driving. Never looked into the details of what's included in their calculations, but just generally get an oil change when recommended-- usually 6-8K miles. #### TangoJuliet ##### Well-Known Member I bought my 2013 Dodge Caravan used and it's supposed to have a 10,000 mile interval. I had the oil changed about a month ago after only having the van since April. I don't drive it all that much, mostly preferring to ride my motorcycle, but when I do, it's a combination of city and highway miles. I don't know that I trust 10,000 miles between oil/filter changes, but I haven't determined what interval I do trust yet. #### OverTheTop ##### Well-Known Member TRF Supporter but I haven't determined what interval I do trust yet. Oil analysis takes the guesswork out of it #### GregGleason ##### Well-Known Member I use semi-syns in our two vehicles. Oil is changed every 3 to 4 K miles. Might be overkill, but one vehicle is at 150K miles and the other is at 200K miles. I've only had one mechanical failure in the vehicles, a broken valve spring. That was likely not an oil related failure. Greg #### Zeus-cat ##### Well-Known Member I did this years ago. The testing showed my diesel Nissan Patrol could go to about 15000km before needing an oil change. I always changed at about 6000km for the diesel. Oil is cheap, engines are not. Caterpillar have the service (known as SOS, Special Oil Sampling I think, here in Australia) down here. Some surprising results can be found. Bearings wearing leave trace metals in the oil and can indicate maintenance that is needed. It is quite dependent on the type of driving you do and the car. High silicon content can even tell you if your intake system has an air leak! Interestingly a lot of the labs that do this service use the spectrometers that I had a major part in designing! So what is the cost for these tests? I would think you want to test the oil as the car ages to see if the frequency of oil changes needs to increase as the car ages and wears out faster. It almost sounds like have bloodwork done on humans o see what is wrong. If the cost is high for the tests than this is not practical. #### mkadams001 ##### Well-Known Member So what is the cost for these tests? I would think you want to test the oil as the car ages to see if the frequency of oil changes needs to increase as the car ages and wears out faster. It almost sounds like have bloodwork done on humans o see what is wrong. If the cost is high for the tests than this is not practical. Blackstone charges$28 according to their website for the type of oil test for this topic. There are added services for more .

What I thought was interesting was the oil test for buying a used car.

#### Screaminhelo

So what is the cost for these tests? I would think you want to test the oil as the car ages to see if the frequency of oil changes needs to increase as the car ages and wears out faster. It almost sounds like have bloodwork done on humans o see what is wrong. If the cost is high for the tests than this is not practical.
$28 per sample. That seems to be a reasonable cost as long as you are sending a sample once each year it would get expensive if you were sampling every oil change. You may send a sample on consecutive oil changes, maybe even clean oil from the bottle if you really want a solid baseline, when you first get started. #### michigander ##### Well-Known Member I like to go 5000 miles Mobil 1 I just changed the Buick 4500 miles on Mobil 1 , oil life monitor displayed 66% left , oil was in car 1 month from long trip out east changing gets us through the winter #### Bowman ##### Active Member Ok, I'll weigh-in. From 1973 to 1983 I was a GM (Mr Goodwrench) and Pontiac Master Technician. Just saying that to establish that I have been inside a few engines. Here's what I can share: When we took valve covers off an engine back in the 70's, if it had more that 20K on the engine, there was sludge! Frequent oil changes (2000) was better, but it still built-up. That was due to a number of causes; Sloppy machining (best they had at the time) meant more blow-by, Internal hot-spots due to primitive engine design, like exhaust cross-overs in intake manifolds that baked oil that came into contact, Lead and other crap in fuel, but I think mostly it was due to less advanced oil. Today, many engines, my current 2013 corolla and old 2003 Jetta diesel (198,560 miles when traded) included, specify light grade Full Synthetic and 10,000 mile oil changes. Take the covers off these engines @50K and they look almost new inside. Better engineering for sure, but MUCH better oil chemistry. Back in the 60s and 70s most engines were ready for a rebuild at 60,000 and the body was probably rotted away in many places. Today most cars and their engines are expected to see 200K with little problem. My experience today is that when I take my Corolla, still under warranty, into a jiffy-lube or similar, their reminder sticker still says 3000 miles, yet the manufacturer who is on the hook for repairs still says 10,000. Why do you think that is???? Do you think the Jiffy-lube parts-changer is smarter than the risk-averse manufacturer? Manufacturers are going to err on the side of conservative for their own benefit, but they know, as do professional mechanics that the engines generally don't wear like they used to due to better materials and much better synthetic oils. If they were worried about mechanical failures costing THEM money, you can be darn sure they would be telling you to pony-up for more frequent oil-changes! Bottom line, Follow the Owners Manual! If it says synthetic every 10K, believe it and do it. Forget the urban legends and the shade-tree mechanics masquerading as experts, the things that fail today are not those protected by the oil, it's all the complex electronics. Cole #### Nathan ##### ☢ TRF Supporter I get annual oil service on my 2008 Porsche but I only drive it about 3500 miles per year. #### cherokeej ##### Well-Known Member Stick to the manufacturer's maintenance schedule, and it's hard to go wrong. I just bought a new car. Negotiating from a position of power, I negotiated them paying for my "premium maintenance package." It's already paid for. They contacted me at 3 months, said it's time for the first oil change. Car only had 1800 miles on it. OK by me. But over the life of a car, how much can oil changes cost? How much does it cost to replace an engine? It's your car, and your money. Last edited: #### Andy Greene ##### Well-Known Member 35 plus years of auto service industry and I will say just this- Oil changes are cheap insurance- 3/5k is a good rule of thumb but will 8/10k kill ya- no. The reason the mfg's are going longer on the interval is very simple- it lowers the cost per mile on the marone label- period. #### Peter Olivola ##### Well-Known Member Monroney Label. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monroney_sticker 35 plus years of auto service industry and I will say just this- Oil changes are cheap insurance- 3/5k is a good rule of thumb but will 8/10k kill ya- no. The reason the mfg's are going longer on the interval is very simple- it lowers the cost per mile on the marone label- period. #### BDB ##### Absent Minded Professor I had a friend who had a long commute and drove 20k+ miles per year in a Ford Ranger. He always said he "changed the oil once per year, whether it needed it or not!" #### manixFan ##### Not a rocket scientist Lets see: Average oil change cost with tax:$35.
Miles driven over 10 years - 180,000
Cost of following Honda's recommendation of every 7,500 miles - $840.00 Cost of doing it like they did in the 'olden days' every 3000 miles -$2,100.00

Based on owning 4 cars reaching at least 150,000 miles following the makers oil change recommendations I'll keep the \$1,260 and spend it on something that will make a difference in my life.