View Full Version : Oil Change--How Often?
08-17-1999, 08:39 AM
I have always changed my oil religiously every 3000 miles, mostly because my dad harps on it every time I go home. But the car's manual (96 Beretta) and the Car Talk guys both say that it's not necessary to do it that often anymore.
How often is really necessary?
PS: Of course, the guys at the garage say it should be every 3000 miles.
08-17-1999, 08:50 AM
Well, what does the oil look like after that 3,000 miles? If it's black and thick and the level's been dropping, change it. If it's thin and you haven't lost any of it, don't.
Yeah, the Car Talk guys say 5,000 for the newer engines. You could probably get away with that on your '96. If you have a lot of mileage, though, you're probably putting more oil in there and it's getting cruddy faster, and you should have it changed more often. 3,000 is safe.
08-17-1999, 09:00 AM
The ultimate would be every day but,3,000 is a good compromise economicaly. click and clack recomend 3K, but do say 5K isn't so bad.You are changing it yourself instead of paying some one $20.00 aren't you? Besides the needless cost you get the chance to examine the oil as bart says. Also hot oil down your arm and on your glasses, and play the exciting ' find the dropped drain plug at the bottom of the pan of hot dirty oil' game.
08-17-1999, 09:02 AM
Personally, I follow the recommendations in my car manual for stuff like this. If you have special circumstances (unusually high mileage or extremely difficult driving conditions), you could call your car manufacturers 800 number and ask if the manual's recommendation still meets your specific needs.
Full of 'satiable curtiosity
08-17-1999, 09:14 AM
I have always changed the oil on all my cars every 5000 miles because I considered it too difficult to track the mileage every 3000 miles without writing it down.
However...I use only synthetic oils when they became available, and I change the oil filter along with the oil, not every other time. I also check the oil pressure guage to make sure nothing is wrong and check the oil level often.
In thiry years, I have not lost an engine.
08-17-1999, 11:57 AM
To get more than 100,000 miles, change it every 3,000 miles [approximate].
Oil contains lots of important things, additives, lubricants, etc. When it's black, that means that it's working. You can't change it too often, but 3,000 miles is a great idea. Youll often find people with a car with 200,000 or more miles on it proclaiming they changed the oil every 3000 miles.
mr john: You are changing it yourself instead of paying some one $20.00 aren't you?
I would if it were physically possible to do so. But my last 3 cars were so low to the ground (standard sedans, no sporty things), I couldn't get under them! And the filter is so hidden in the maze of engine parts that I'm amazed I can touch it, much less hold it well enough to twist.
$20 isn't so bad for a little convenience. Plus, the place I go will check a bunch of other things and tell me about them. I'll say no to them fixing it, then go to Yates Auto Parts and fix them myself. (Last time was the air filter; $10 vs $34)
08-17-1999, 02:01 PM
I bought a '93 Dodge Dakota back in Dec. of '92. Changed the oil every 3000 mi. for the first year or so then changed to every 5000 mi. This Mar. I bought a new Chevy Silverado and kept the Dakota as a farm truck, it still starts every time you turn the key and the odometer reads 165,000. New engines will last just about forever with regular changes and maintenance.
08-17-1999, 03:36 PM
Oil contains lots of important things, additives, lubricants, etc. When it's black, that means that it's working.
I don't think "black" means it's working. New oil is nice and translucent, and not black. The black is from carbon blow-by from the pistons, a by-product of combustion. I would'nt use the color of the oil as any indication of the viscosity of the oil! Now if it turns pink....
08-17-1999, 03:49 PM
On a tangent.
I drive very rarely. I am lucky to get 1500 miles every three months. So should I change the oil every 3 months even though i don't get anywhere near 3,000 miles?
Im so confused! :-)
08-17-1999, 05:07 PM
I change the oil every 3 years or so, whether it needs it or not...
08-17-1999, 05:39 PM
Handy is wrong, sorry to say. I drive an ambulance as a volunteer in my town. When I started doing my inspections at the start of my shift, I was shocked at how grey the oils were. Come to find out, that is how it appears. They are diesel engines ( I don't know if that matters). I was told by the Captain that THAT is the proper color of the oil, right out of the bottle. Live and learn. I do change my own, when I have the time. Also, and this is just SO crucial, check the level AND color a lot- as you start to have it turn black, I change it- 3,000 miles or not. What is the cost of oil, compared to a blown engine??
08-17-1999, 06:12 PM
My dad has worked as Parts/Service Manager for a few different car dealers for more than 30 years and he has said while changing your oil every 3k certainly will not hurt your engine, you can go up to 5k. BUT only if you do highway driving! And he is not not talking about taking I-95 to work and then as you approach the city - STOP. Crawl. STOP. Go. STOP. Crawl, etc. etc. (Fortunately, I live only 4 miles from work.) I change my oil every 5k and have 140,000 miles on a '93 Explorer - still get over 20mpg on the highway! Be sure to use the manufacturer's recommended weight of the oil in your vehicle! Those in severe weather states (countries) may consider changing weights during colder months.
Keep on truckin'
"Quoth the Raven, 'Nevermore.'"
E A Poe
08-17-1999, 06:52 PM
"Also hot oil down your arm and on your glasses"
mr john makes a good point here.
You should drain the oil as soon as possible after shutting off the engine, and let it drain completely. That way most of the "stuff" is still in suspension and goes out with the oil. Most oil change places are in too big a hurry to take the extra time.
Oil and filter, every 3,000 miles. Cheap.
08-17-1999, 06:53 PM
Frankie: I'm getting about 3K a year! I change the oil every 6 months since a year is too long to wait for the standard 3K miles. If I drove more I'd do it every 3K or three months, which ever came first.
08-17-1999, 07:56 PM
OK... Personally, I think you are all the victims of great marketing. If you look at a car manual from the '60's, you'll find almost exclusively that the recommended change was every 6,000 miles. Hmmm... were the great engineering minds in Detroit wrong? Probably not.. but changing it 3,000 miles is twice as good as 6,000 miles (at least to the oil companies) so, why not? It won't hurt to change the oil more often.. the question is, is it necessary?
A friend of my father's has (this is hard to believe, I know) NEVER changed his oil in any vehicle he has owned. Instead, he changes his filter every six thousand miles and adds one quart of new oil. And he's had vehicles run over 100,000 miles. Would I do it? Hell no... but it does make you wonder just how much you DO need to change your oil.
I think this is one of the great marketing scams of our time. Remember the ad campaign for orange juice? (It's not just for breakfast any more.) Same idea... if they could get everyone to drink another glass of orange juice for lunch or dinner, just think how much sales would increase.. this could be the same thing going on here.
08-17-1999, 08:13 PM
"OK... Personally, I think you are all the victims of great marketing. If you look at a car manual from the '60's, you'll find almost exclusively that the recommended change was every 6,000 miles"
What you fail to mention is that those older manuals state 6000 miles is ok for 'normal' driving conditions, their definition of normal is hiway only, never stop and go and no traffic jams, no dusty roads, you know the type of driving we are lucky to do once per oil change. Otherwise they suggest that you change it at 3000.
Is 3k/3m a scam? is it still nesessary? I don't know, but it is a kind of status symble to change the oil at 3k or 3m whatever comes 1st, regardless of what the OM says. I try the 3k/3m but usally streach it out to 4k/4m, just a little lazy, but at lease i do it myself, AND DONT FORGET TO GREESE THOSE FITTINGS WHILE YOUR DOWN THERE.
08-17-1999, 08:49 PM
3,000 miles or every four months. So, Frankie, you should do it a little more often.
Also folks, don't forget that when you add oil, you are putting in some clean oil, which is nice.
Most of you forgot the idea of 'planned obsolescence.' Like a washing machine is supposed to last to wash clothes for just so many years before the manf wants people to get another one. Cars, as you can probably guess, have it set at a stupid 100,000 miles. So, the manual states change the oil every 5-6,000 miles, youll get 100,000 miles that way, which is what they promise. So, cheat, change it every 3,000 miles get 200,000 miles. :-)
08-17-1999, 09:08 PM
But don't forget if your engine over heat and something breaks and they[manufacturer] can prove that the oil hasn't been changed in 15000 miles you're on your own.
Formerly known as Nec3f on the AOL SDMB
08-18-1999, 10:05 PM
It won't hurt to change the oil every 3000 or 5000 miles. But it will barely help anything. A waste of time, money and resources. All new cars will easily last 15000+ miles between oil changes with no harm. Recommendations are usually every 7500 miles by manufacturer's now, except for dusty conditions, etc. But this is merely a precautionary overkill by the manufacturers, with nothing to lose by overkill. Sooner or later, the EPA will be using oil consumption in its total fuel economy calculations and the oil change interval will be of importance. GM will have onboard oil condition sensors on some models which measure essential oil properties such as acidity, oxidation, viscosity etc. The actual oil change time will be precisely determined, no sooner, no later.
Oil always blackens with use, its lubricating and protection are not necessarily diminished in relation to this "property" alone. This is another scam that oil change "mechanics" use--they show the blackened oil on the dipstick and scare the owner into an unnecessary oil change, or worse, an engine oil "flush". Many people will pay the unnecessary expense because they don't know the facts and find this "evidence" hard to counter.
Oil changes in the near future will be easily be as infrequent as every 25000 miles. The goal is the 100000 mile interval. Remember that trans oil used to be recommended changed at 25000 miles. New cars now routi9nely have 100000 mile trans oil change intervals. The 3000 mile change intervals are for old pre 90's clunkers, are out-moded, and only are for car nuts with nothing better to do, and other obsessive-compulsive types.
I think it's the lather-rinse-repeat syndrome. Someone is trying to get us to use twice as much oil as necessary. (Gee, I wonder who...)
08-19-1999, 09:53 AM
When I get myoil changed, I get oil, filter and an engine lube. What exactly is an engine lube? Can I lube it myself. Sounds kinda kinky...
08-19-1999, 11:00 AM
So if my car will last for 100K miles and I only get 3K a year I don't have to buy a new car for 33 years! Alright!
08-19-1999, 11:51 AM
AWB, that's part of the fun,jack it up put it on stands,mmm that ones kinda rusty hope it holds, squirm under,squirm out to get the wrench,twist arm behind head to reach filter,pull wrench,take wrench off, readjust wrench,pull wrench 1/4 inch,repeat100 times till filter is loose enough to use hand.Here is a cool one did you know you are supposed to fill the filter with oil before screwing it on? Tilt the filter and the new fresh oil washes that black stuff off your arm.I now pay about $8 bucks with coupons and such includes lube too. I can't even buy the oil and filters for that.(even easier is to do as rodd does drive 'er till she's dry, then fill 'er up.No mess,no tools.)
c-man, (just caught that) grease guns is way fun.but get the one with the flexible tube oooh boy!
Frankie,beleive it or not,you qualify as 'special cicumstances'. Once the oil has picked up some contaminants it starts to break down. so 3-4 months is a good figure. Especially if it is city,city driving is also severe driving conditions.
Don't judge by color too much,it will be 'black' in a few hundred miles. That's the idea Byz,I drive mine till there just aint any drive left. Something besides the engine takes um out first. 200k on an engine aint unusual for me. For the cost: benefits :: not doing it: possible cost, changing oil 'too often' is the most important maintenance you can do.(WheW! way long, I need to change the oil in the key board now)
08-19-1999, 07:42 PM
Where do you guys get it done for $20.00?
Is that one of those stores that drops the oil in the ground in back?
$5 filter, $8 oil, $4 getting rid of old oil fee. Look it that, $17.00! $3 labor? Hmm.
08-20-1999, 12:01 AM
Here in Lexington, you can get your oil changed for $20 just about anywhere. In fact, you can get it for less than $15 at a lot of places (Wal-Mart, Valvoline).
08-20-1999, 12:37 AM
Bought a set of cheap tires and $12 oil change at Firestone,every 3(three months they send me a 'reminder'and a coupon for $8 oil and lube, Phram filter, Kendall oil, walmart is $12, Phram , haviline oil i think, $14 with Castrol. I sure can't do it for 8 maybe $12 I buy oil on sale by the case. Discount house for filters. So 5 qts and a filter $8 at least. I do watch those guys though make sure they drain it all out,take filter off,and open filler cap befor replacing plug,make sure they dont use air wrench to remove and certainly not replace plug.make sure they put all quarts of oil in,one of my cars takes 4 qts,the others 5 qt. Then i bump the starter a few times without starting it.There aint no oil up top. let it idle a few minutes before I peel out of their garage. No old oil fees,in fact if i do it my self i can take it to any place that does oil changes.They have to take it.What the hay they don't pay to have it hauled off.Depending on the market they might get paid for it. The re-refiners come get it.A lot of parts houses even take the old oil. Used oil is a resource not something to store in a hazardous waste dump.
Listen to mr john.
WATCH these guys. I work with 4 people (out of only 34 employed here) who have had to replace an engine because the jiffy/kwick/speedy-lube drained their oil and didn't replace it before releasing the car.
Re-read the part about not letting them replace the drain plug w/ an air wrench. The next guy to try to get it out will thank you, and it may save you the $200 it costs to replace the pan.
Always bump the engine before starting (the whole thing is DRY). Even better, pre-fill the filter as mr j suggested in a previous post.
Once started, run at a fast idle (~1500rpm) until the oil gauge/light reads normal. If this doesn't happen in 2-3 seconds, shut it down; something is wrong.
As a former auto mechanic, I'm saying "listen to this guy".
08-20-1999, 04:30 PM
OK... Personally, I think you are all the victims of great marketing. If you look at a car manual from the '60's, you'll find almost exclusively that the recommended change was
every 6,000 miles. Hmmm... were the great engineering minds in Detroit wrong?
Well you've gotta look at the difference between the cars now and back then. Mainly that engines these days are mostly comprised of aluminum.
A friend of my father's has (this is hard to believe, I know) NEVER changed his oil in
any vehicle he has owned. Instead, he changes his filter every six thousand miles and
adds one quart of new oil. And he's had vehicles run over 100,000 miles. Would I do it? Hell no... but it does make you wonder just how much you DO need to change your oil.
That must have been a tricky maneuver considering that removing the oil filter is messy enough once all the oil has been drained. I can't imagine doing it with all the oil still in.
08-20-1999, 04:55 PM
Oh handy reminded me, when you get home check the oil level,even if you counted the quarts or did it yourself. Might be a leak. I dig you, Handy and black oil is not a sign that the oil is worn out,now if it takes an hour to drip off the dip stick...Volt, there are some really weird places they find to put those things.I think it was a ford courier i had long ago (cursed be its name) that had the filter hidden under the weird plumbing that thing had a bitch to get to but up high and open end down! re; filling the filter, i read somewhere a new dad would sometimes come across disposable diapers with no tabs,instead of using duct tape like any real man, he took um to the garage. When he filled the filter he wrapped it with the pamper,held the whole thing as he tilted and started the filter. It soaked up the nearly quart that spilled, he folded it up and 'discarded it in the approved manner' ah shucks,thanx pmh. i am a fanatic about oil and filters. And remember when you are getting a'loss leader' bargain those guys have no incentive to do a though job, 'get it done and get it out' And if they do screw up,and you get a scored cylender or seized cam shaft (if your lucky) they have 14,000 other reasons it happened.
"Something inciteful that some one else once said"- Suhm Wonn (1397-1334)
08-20-1999, 07:24 PM
"That must have been a tricky maneuver considering that removing the oil filter is messy enough once all the oil has been drained. I can't imagine doing it with all the oil still in.
Not really, I have done it when I didn't have a filter when I was changing the oil and later got the filter. The filter is above the oil 'liquid' line so the only oil that comes out is the oil in the filter- so it is basicly the same process with no extra mess.
08-21-1999, 12:08 AM
When I said black oil means its doing its job that is along lines of when you put soap in water and see bubbles? The bubbles show its doing its job.
Also, quite a few times I caught them putting in too much oil. Why they do this baffles me and I wish they would at least look at the stick once its been running.
08-21-1999, 02:04 AM
3K miles is not necessary. My race car gets lots of oil changes BECAUSE I have better things to do. I have had several cars go 200K+ with oil changes only every 6k+ miles. These cars were driven hard and in heavy capitol beltway type traffic.
After starting an engine I would let it idle normally, NOT high, untill the pressure comes up and then for another minute. Filling the filter is a good idea but not necessary if one cranks the engine for a minute with the coil disconnected. I'll bet that many of the oil change places that use "no-name" filters, are using poor filters that don't have anti-drainback valves. So the engine must fill the filter before protecting the engine before every start-up!
Kendall is very good oil, they are the only one's still using pure petroleum, not parafin based oil. Ergon makes the base oil for many of the well known motor oils. Valvoline only buys their best base oil. If you want the best, go with synethitic.
08-21-1999, 02:29 AM
My race car gets lots of oil changes BECAUSE I have better things to do.
What kind of race car? Just curious.
your humble TubaDiva
proud SCCA member, licensed worker
08-21-1999, 08:34 AM
The filter is above the oil 'liquid' line so the only oil that comes out is the oil in the filter- so it is basicly the same process with no extra mess.
Not it my present car (Mazda MX-3 V6 GS), although you're probably right for most cars. In my Mazda, the oil filter is facing straight down right behind the bumper.
08-21-1999, 10:09 AM
I hope all you air-cooled Volkswagen people out there are ignoring most of the preceding and changing your oil religiously every 3000 miles and doing your own valves, too.
08-21-1999, 11:18 AM
My old VW's came with 'automatic oil change.'
They would just drip all the time and thus just add more oil as needed.
08-21-1999, 01:51 PM
They would just drip all the time and thus just add more oil as needed.
It's a design tip the Germans got from the British, as anyone who has ever spent time with a British Leyland product can testify.
your humble TubaDiva
And the batteries! The company motto: "Lucas -- home before dark."
08-21-1999, 02:28 PM
No one is saying it is necesary every 3k,just that for the cost it is worth it. those 'auto-changers' are ideal places for re-refined oil,its not in there long enough to break down. Not just aircooled,especially them cause they run 'hot',but any 4 banger (or three if you got a SAAB) is spinning faster than a 6, way faster than an 8 so don't go too long between. I have driven lots of 4 bangers great city cars and great milage,I got one now gets 20 mpg ,uh thats G of water, the leaky water pump's harder to get to than the radiator cap.Tuba, did the english ever get the hinge and latch problems fixed? On my old mini, my brothers triumph, and some others i knew ,it was lift up HARD on the door to unlatch and latch. It was safest if you could get someone to close the door from the outside for you.
"Pardon me while I have a strange interlude."-Marx
08-21-1999, 05:03 PM
Just to let you all know, I haven't changed my oil filter for the past 12,000 miles. I know I should change it soon, but I just don't feel like shelling out $20 for someone else to put it on and I'm too lazy to change it myself.
"I'm not dumb. I just have a command of thoroughly useless information."
-- Calvin and Hobbes
`| |-----| |\
08-21-1999, 05:25 PM
Tuba, did the english ever get the hinge and latch problems fixed? On my old mini, my brothers triumph, and some others i knew ,it was lift up HARD on the door to unlatch and latch.
I dunno anything that comes easy on those cars.
That being said, I've always loved them, ever since I got my first ride around a race track in a MGB ages ago. It's like having malaria; you do recover, but you have occasional fits of fever afterwards. Sports car fever, it's the worst.
If I found one I could afford, I'd buy it, even now; I mean, I already know how to call for a tow truck . . . I know enough about those wiring harnesses to buy a fire extinguisher and keep it handy . . .and I know how to get oil stains off the driveway. :)
your humble TubaDiva
08-22-1999, 10:06 AM
TubaDiva, after reading your last post I'm afraid you might not be too enthusiastic about what I've got in the garage.
Buick Grand National
08-22-1999, 01:33 PM
TubaDiva, after reading your last post I'm afraid you might not be too enthusiastic about what I've got in the garage. Buick Grand National
Cool! It doesn't matter WHAT you run, but THAT you run. (Although I DO wonder sometimes about those folks that race on ice.)
your humble TubaDiva
who can't have Speedvision on 'cause then nothing gets done but racing
08-23-1999, 12:10 AM
TubaDiva, Cool Man; some of my sports car friends don't think to much of drag racing. I enjoy having so much power it's all I can do to just keep it in a straight line.
I've taken a friends car thru an autocross course, man what a new set of sensations.
If you wonder about those ice guys, let me lay this one on you. This was on ESPN2. These carpenters are some crazy cats - they were racing belt sanders. They had a track, were organized, and had different classes for some of the more heavily modified sanders.
08-23-1999, 12:29 AM
In the old days, you went to a store and got what was called a 'lube, oil & filter.'
Nowadays, there are no lube fittings for them to lube. As a matter of fact, probably haven't been any since around 1980?
So, when you go in for a lube these days, they must be pulling your leg...maybe its just an attempt to extort more money, right?
08-23-1999, 12:31 AM
A couple of years ago Consumer Reports did a story on how often to change the oil in your car. Was 3,000 miles the magical number?
They tested the hardest working engine driven by lunatics out there: The NYC taxi cabs. Put fresh oil in a bunch of cars and tested it at 3000 and 6000 miles. They also tested the synthetic oils too, but I don't recall the results. They came back with a verdict of change it every 6000 because of the oil was losing viscosity or someother such buzz word. I have been pretty faithful to that since then.
My two bits
08-23-1999, 12:31 AM
Autocross! Look out for those suicidal pylons -- they'll throw themselves under your car in a heartbeat. :)
Racing belt sanders? Okay, now I HAVE heard everything. Is this a Tim Allen thing or what?
You realize this does give a whole new meaning to the term "bench racing." (Workbench racing!)
your humble TubaDiva
"I need some parts for the race, go by Home Depot and get me . . . "
08-23-1999, 11:17 AM
"it every 6000 because of the oil was losing
viscosity or someother such buzz word"
By that time, an average person would have added more than 6 quarts of oil or more....so it would still be a working oil.
here's a related question...
The last time i was at the dealer for some kind of arcane maintenance, I got a sales pitch about cleaning the oil pan (dissolving the tar out of the pan). The guy claimed it needed to be done every 12000 miles, it cost a lot, close to $100 bucks or so.
needless to say i told the guy to take a hike. never heard of such a treatment, couldn't find it in my manual, etc. this is why i never use the dealership unless i have to.
anyone ever heard of such a thing? is it necessary/worth while?
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