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Thread: How often should you change your oil?

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  1. #1
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    How often should you change your oil?

    How often should you change your oil?
    By Eric Peters
    for immediate release

    Recommended oil and filter changeout intervals have increased significantly over the past ten years or so -- to as infrequently as once every 8,000 (or even 10,000 miles or more) in the case of a few vehicles -- vs. once every three months and 3,000 miles or so.

    These extended service intervals concern some drivers -- who worry they may be harming their vehicles or at least pushing them toward a premature date with the crusher.

    But in general, there's nothing to worry about .

    The reason for the increase in recommended service intervals is two-fold: One, modern engines operate with ever-increasing efficiency -- which has reduced the rate at which oil becomes fouled with harmful byproducts of internal combustion, such as as water and unburned fuel. Two, today's oils are formulated to last much longer -- with better additive packages that extend their service life significantly. This is especially true of synthetic oils -- which many automakers (Mercedes, Chevrolet, Cadillac, etc.) now use in several of their models and which they recommend be used exclusively for best mileage, performance and engine longevity.

    For consumers, having to change the oil and filter less often equals less money spent on basic maintenance -- as well as fewer trips to the dealership for service.

    This is good news -- but a few cautionary notes should be remembered:

    * One, the "maximum recommended interval" listed in your owner's manual (and talked up by the salesman) is just that -- The listed mileage/time interval is the longest you should ever let your vehicle go in between oil and filter changes. Extending the interval beyond the recommended maximum can be penny wise, but often pound foolish. "Saving" $40 on a skipped oil change isn't much consolation when you get slapped with a $800 repair down the road caused by sludge build-up inside the engine. The emissions control systems of modern engines can be very sensitive to the build-up of crud -- for example, the crankcase ventilation system.
    (Several new cars and trucks are even equipped with onboard electronic oil life monitors that alert the driver when it's time for a change -- which is sometimes well before the scheduled date in the manual.)

    * Two, you may still need to change your vehicle's oil and filter more often -- If the type of driving you do falls under the "severe service" or "heavy duty" service schedule listed in the owner's manual. Many people don't realize that today's routine stop-and-go commuting and city-type driving counts as "severe service" -- requiring more frequent oil and filter changes. If you use your car for short trips and rarely drive on the highway at steady-state speeds, that also may qualify for the shorter changeout intervals.

    * Three, you must use the specified grade/type of oil -- Automakers are very specific about the weight/grade and additive packages you should use in your engine. Failure to use the correct type of oil can lead to poor performance, possibly engine damage -- and could void the terms of your new car warranty. Your owner's manual will contain the information you need to know under "maintenance" -- including specifics about weight, API service ratings and so on.

    * Finally, check the oil level periodically -- This is especially important today, in our self-service world and when you might go six months or more without lifting the hood. All engines -- even those in $100,000 luxury cars -- use some oil as part of normal operation. So the level will fall over time -- and if you let it go too far without a top-off, you could have a very bad day indeed. Few things are more miserable than ruining a $4,000 engine because you filed to add a couple quarts of $2.50 Pennzoil.

    END

  2. #2
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    Re: How often should you change your oil?

    I have been fortunate to have the income to own some pretty nice European/Swedish cars, over the last 20 yrs.

    IMO, the biggest PITA about oil changes is the time it takes to get one. So, if you can lessen the frequency, you lessen the hassle. I reccomend synthetic - Castrol Syntec, Mobile 1, or Amzoil. With normal driving, change it in the autum and spring. I have never had a engine or turbo problem using synthetics.

    Naturally, if one tows a heavy load, or very dusty driving, maybe it should be 3 times a year.

  3. #3
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: How often should you change your oil?

    That's gospel; I also use nothing but synthetic in all my vehicles - from my antique Firebird to my sport bike (which gets Motul or Repsol exclusively). I also have never had an oil-related breakdown or issue with any of my vehicles - and all of them run like Swiss watches (though I admit I am as anal as it gets when it comes to upkeep/maintenance!)

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    Re: How often should you change your oil?

    Hi Eric

    You're talking about synthetic oil. I use "regular" Penzzoil 30 weight as recommended by Chevrolet on my '76 Impala.
    I should changeat the 3000-mile interval, but my only trips are local stop and go city driving. Isn't that considered "severe service"?

    Regards,

    Larry

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    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: How often should you change your oil?

    Quote Originally Posted by ChevyMan
    Hi Eric

    You're talking about synthetic oil. I use "regular" Penzzoil 30 weight as recommended by Chevrolet on my '76 Impala.
    I should changeat the 3000-mile interval, but my only trips are local stop and go city driving. Isn't that considered "severe service"?

    Regards,

    Larry
    Hi Larry,

    If you're still using straight 30 weight, you should consider a more modern multi-viscosity weight - less wear and tear and better fuel economy will be your bennies from doing so.

    And yes, short trip driving of the sort you describe is considered "severe" service according to the manuals I've read. My attitude toward oil change frequencies is it's better to be conservative (and chnage more often) than push it given the cost differences between more frequent oil changes and more frequent engine changes!

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    Re: How often should you change your oil?


    << If you're still using straight 30 weight, you should consider a more modern multi-viscosity weight>>

    Well, I've been using straight 30, and no other weight since I've bought the car 30 years ago. I have no idea what multi-viscosity would be ideal to use. The weather here doesn't go lower than 55 degree or higher than 94 degree (for about 3-4 days during August only). Maybe some one can recommend what weight I can use? Appreciate it


    Larry

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    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: How often should you change your oil?

    Quote Originally Posted by ChevyMan

    << If you're still using straight 30 weight, you should consider a more modern multi-viscosity weight>>

    Well, I've been using straight 30, and no other weight since I've bought the car 30 years ago. I have no idea what multi-viscosity would be ideal to use. The weather here doesn't go lower than 55 degree or higher than 94 degree (for about 3-4 days during August only). Maybe some one can recommend what weight I can use? Appreciate it


    Larry
    Any high-quality/name brand 10W30 or 10W40 should be about right for your vehicle; heck - I'm surprised you can even find straight 30 weight for automotive use.... haven't seen any around my part of the world in several years. More so than the viscosity as such, the API specs. have changed signifcantly over the past few decades. But so long as you're using oil that has at minimum the rcommended certifications (see your owner's manual - and then look atthe oil container) you're probably ok...

    Here's a link to the API and some info you may find helpful:

    http://api-ep.api.org/quality/index....01005000000000


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    Re: How often should you change your oil?

    Hi Eric,

    According to the API site, The 10W30 should be appropriate enough for my need. I guess you have to live in a warm climate zone to buy straight 30 or 40 weight. Walmart stores here sell them year round.

    Incidentally, the FONT SIZE tab doesn't work except the "10" . Any way to change that?

    Larry

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    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: How often should you change your oil?

    Quote Originally Posted by ChevyMan
    Hi Eric,

    According to the API site, The 10W30 should be appropriate enough for my need. I guess you have to live in a warm climate zone to buy straight 30 or 40 weight. Walmart stores here sell them year round.

    Incidentally, the FONT SIZE tab doesn't work except the "10" . Any way to change that?

    Larry
    Roger all that - and on the font issue; I will check into it.. we're trying to address/sort out reported problems as quickly as we can!

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    Re: How often should you change your oil?

    Hi Eric

    I mentioned in my previous post that I'll be changing from straight 30 wt. to 10w30 on my next oil change.
    I've decided to change to10w40 instead, seeing as my rear oil seal and several other parts are moderately leaking oil which requires me to replenish every 60 or 70 mile interval.

    What do you think?

  11. #11
    TC
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    Re: How often should you change your oil?

    I mentioned in my previous post that I'll be changing from straight 30 wt. to 10w30 on my next oil change.
    I've decided to change to10w40 instead, seeing as my rear oil seal and several other parts are moderately leaking oil which requires me to replenish every 60 or 70 mile interval.

    What do you think?
    10W40 sounds good and Repair those leaks.

  12. #12
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    Re: How often should you change your oil?

    I neglected to mention that the leaks every 60-70 miles is only about 1/5th of a quart, so rather than spend 4-500 bucks on repairs, buying oil is a LOT,LOT cheaper, don"t you think?

  13. #13
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: How often should you change your oil?

    Quote Originally Posted by ChevyMan
    I neglected to mention that the leaks every 60-70 miles is only about 1/5th of a quart, so rather than spend 4-500 bucks on repairs, buying oil is a LOT,LOT cheaper, don"t you think?
    Definitely; I agree completely!

  14. #14
    TC
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    Re: How often should you change your oil?

    Quote Originally Posted by ChevyMan
    I neglected to mention that the leaks every 60-70 miles is only about 1/5th of a quart, so rather than spend 4-500 bucks on repairs, buying oil is a LOT,LOT cheaper, don"t you think?
    It might be cheaper for you, but I wouldn't want you to bring it into my driveway nor parking space.

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    Re: How often should you change your oil?



    "It might be cheaper for you........."


    To each his/her own!

  16. #16
    DonTom
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    Re: How often should you change your oil?

    If that's gospel, why do ALL of my owner's manuals of my MANY vehicles say something like:

    "You may use synthetic oil as long as the service recommendations are not exceeded"

    I have yet to use synthetic oils in the engines of any of my many vehicles. I am not convinced that they are better in normal driving siturations. Besides, even the Chilton's guide has guide lines for synthetic oils, such as "do not use in new vehicles" and "do not use in older vehicles" and "do not use in vehicles with higher mileage". Read about synthetic engine oils in any of the Chilton guides in the "General Information and Maintenance" section. Other more "normal" oils you don't have to consider much of anything, just use it and drive.

    I only use synthetic oils where the owner's manual says to, such as in the rear differential in my Jeep. I have yet to use synthetic in any of my engines, but I would if ANY of my owner's manuals say there's an advantage.

    -Don-



    Quote Originally Posted by Eric
    That's gospel; I also use nothing but synthetic in all my vehicles - from my antique Firebird to my sport bike (which gets Motul or Repsol exclusively). I also have never had an oil-related breakdown or issue with any of my vehicles - and all of them run like Swiss watches (though I admit I am as anal as it gets when it comes to upkeep/maintenance!)

  17. #17
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    Re: How often should you change your oil?

    Oil Change

    for Women:
    1) Pull up to Jiffy Lube when the mileage reaches 3000 miles since the last oil change.

    2) Drink a cup of coffee.

    3) 15 minutes later, write a check and leave with a properly maintained vehicle.

    Money spent:
    Oil Change $20.00
    Coffee $1.00
    Total$21.00


    Oil Change instructions for Men:
    1) Wait until Saturday, drive to auto parts store and buy a case of oil, filter, kitty litter, hand cleaner and a scented tree, write a check for $50.00.

    2) Stop by 7 - 11 and buy a case of beer, write a check for $20, drive home.

    3) Open a beer and drink it.

    4) Jack car up. Spend 30 minutes looking for jack stands.

    5) Find jack stands under kid's p edal car.

    6) In frustration, open another beer and drink it.

    7) Place drain pan under engine.

    8)Look for 9/16 box end wrench.

    9) Give up and use crescent wrench.

    10) Unscrew drain plug

    11) Drop drain plug in pan of hot oil: splash hot oil on you in
    process. Cuss.

    12) Crawl out from under car to wipe hot oil off of face and arms. Throw kitty litter on spilled oil.

    13) Have another beer while watching oil drain.

    14) Spend 30 minutes looking for oil filter wrench.

    15) Give up; crawl under car and hammer a screwdriver through
    oil filter and twist off

    16) Crawl out from under car with dripping oil filter splashing oil everywhere from holes. Cleverly hide old oil filter among trash in trash can to avoid environmental penalties. Drink a beer

    17) Buddy shows up finish case of beer with him. Decide to finish oil change tomorrow so you can go see his new garage door opener.

    18) Sunday:
    Skip church because "I gotta finish the oil change." Drag pan full of old oil out from underneath car. Cleverly dump oil in hole in back yard instead of taking it back to Kragen to recycle.

    19) Throw kitty litter on oil spilled during step 18.

    20) Beer? No, drank it all yesterday.

    21) Walk to 7-11; buy beer.

    22) Install new oil filter making sure to apply a thin coat of oil to>gasket surface.

    23) Dump first quart of fresh oil into engine.

    24) Remember drain plug from step 11.

    25) Hurry to find drain plug in drain pan.

    26) Remember that the used oil is buried in a hole in the back yard, along with drain plug.

    27) Drink beer.

    28) Shovel out hole and sift oily mud for drain plug. Re-shovel oily dirt into hole. Steal sand from kids sandbox to cleverly cover oily patch of ground and avoid environmental penalties. Wash drain plug in lawnmower gas.

    29)Discover that first quart of fresh oil is now on the floor. Throw kitty litter on oil spill.

    30) Drink beer.

    31) Crawl under car getting kitty litter into eyes. Wipe eyes with oily rag used to clean drain plug. Slip with stupid crescent wrench tightening drain plug and bang knuckles on frame

    32) Bang head on floorboards in reaction to step 31.

    33) Begin cussing fit

    34) Throw stupid crescent wrench.

    35) Cuss for additional 10 minutes because wrench hit bowling
    trophy.

    36) Beer.

    37) Clean up hands and forehead and bandage as required t o stop blood flow.

    38) Beer.

    39) Beer.

    40) Dump in five fresh quarts of oil.

    41) Beer

    42) Lower car from jack stands.

    43) Accidentally crush remaining case of new motor oil.

    44) Move car back to apply more kitty litter to fresh oil spilled during steps 23 - 43.

    45) Beer.

    46) Test drive car.

    47) Get pulled over: arrested for driving under the influence.

    48) Car gets impounded.

    49) Call loving wife, make bail.

    50) 12 hours later, get car from impound yard.

    Money spent:
    Parts $50.00
    DUI $2500.00
    Impound fee $75.00
    Bail $1500.00
    Beer $40.00

    Total - - $4,165.00


    "But you know the job was done right!" - Priceless


  18. #18
    DonTom
    Guest

    Re: How often should you change your oil?

    I think that you won't notice a drop of difference between 10W30 and 10W40 or even the 30W.

    -Don-


    Quote Originally Posted by TC
    I mentioned in my previous post that I'll be changing from straight 30 wt. to 10w30 on my next oil change.
    I've decided to change to10w40 instead, seeing as my rear oil seal and several other parts are moderately leaking oil which requires me to replenish every 60 or 70 mile interval.

    What do you think?
    10W40 sounds good and Repair those leaks.

  19. #19
    mrblanche
    Guest

    Re: How often should you change your oil?

    Quote Originally Posted by ChevyMan
    Hi Eric

    You're talking about synthetic oil. I use "regular" Penzzoil 30 weight as recommended by Chevrolet on my '76 Impala.
    You have a bigger problem than you might imagine. That engine has an old-fashioned cam and tappet hydraulic lifters. No modern cars have those, and oil has been modified for that use. Modern oils are lacking the shear modifiers, and the old lifters and cams may wear extremely fast. You need to either change to a synthetic or to an oil designed for diesel engines, such as Rotella T. Diesel oils are mainly available in 15W-40, but that will work in your engine.

    http://www.revsearch.com/dynamometer...lattappet.html

  20. #20
    Vulture of The Western World Eric's Avatar
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    Re: How often should you change your oil?

    I've read about this too. Do you know whether the problem affects roller cam OHV pushrod engines (for example, the current "Vortc" family of Chevy V-8s) and, if it's just a matter of older OHV engines with non-roller cams being affected, did the OEs update anything in their replacement lifter designs to deal with the issue?

    As an aside: I only use Mobil 1 in my Trans-Am, which has those "bleed down" Rhoads lifters which help the engine maintain a decent idle/vacuum.

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