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Oil change recommendations
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besson3c
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Dec 15, 2009, 01:43 PM
 
Hey guys, I need some advice...

My car is very low mileage these days. I never hit the recommended mileage for an oil change, so I've been going more off the recommended date for the next change. However, I've heard people say that you should get an oil change 2-3 times a year. The place I go always writes in the date for the next change three months into the future, which I figure makes sense for them since they're in the market to sell as many oil changes as possible.

How many changes a year would you recommend doing for a low mileage car? Would you recommend adding air to the tires myself when the weather changes drastically?
     
sek929
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Dec 15, 2009, 02:38 PM
 
I change my oil every 6-7,000 miles.

I know several lifetime mechanics that say an oil change every 3000 miles on a modern engine is a complete waste of good oil. I go by the color and texture of my oil, not arbitrary mileage and time.

The time factor is complete BS. If you get an oil change and only put on 7K miles the whole year then that's one oil change per year.

Get a pressure gauge and check your tires frequently. It amazes me how little attention people pay to their tires despite the fact that they're the only part of your car that contacts the road.
     
nonhuman
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Dec 15, 2009, 02:40 PM
 
Originally Posted by sek929 View Post
It amazes me how little attention people pay to their tires despite the fact that they're the only part of your car that usually contacts the road.
Fixed!
     
Railroader
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Dec 15, 2009, 02:49 PM
 
If you drive very short distances, but do it often, you would want to change your oil more often than 3,000 miles. For example, if you always took a one mile trip and your car never fully heated up, I'd change the oil every 500-600 miles. Or once in the spring and once in the fall.

If you drive a long commute daily, you can probably get by with changing your oil every 7,000-9,000 miles, or every 4-5 months or so.

Personally, our van gets driven about once a week or so, but the trips are longer. We drive it less than 10,000/yr. I usually change the oil every 6 months. It's a 2003 that I bought new and have not done anything to other than the above mentioned maintenance, and new brake pads and tires. It has about 60k miles, so I will be changing the transmission oil soon.
     
downinflames68
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Dec 15, 2009, 02:49 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
Hey guys, I need some advice...

My car is very low mileage these days. I never hit the recommended mileage for an oil change, so I've been going more off the recommended date for the next change. However, I've heard people say that you should get an oil change 2-3 times a year. The place I go always writes in the date for the next change three months into the future, which I figure makes sense for them since they're in the market to sell as many oil changes as possible.

How many changes a year would you recommend doing for a low mileage car? Would you recommend adding air to the tires myself when the weather changes drastically?
Unless you have something weird where moisture or coolant seeps into your oil, the time doesn't matter. Oil doesn't really "expire" at all. If it is NOT a performance car, and it is not driven HARD (you aren't beating on it), just switch to synthetic oil, and change it once a year. My dad does this on all his cars, and they run fine, including his 70s caddy, 90s riv, and wagon. Since my car is turbo and higher performance, I change it ever 5k. About twice a year, generally.
     
finboy
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Dec 15, 2009, 03:16 PM
 
Originally Posted by downinflames68 View Post
Unless you have something weird where moisture or coolant seeps into your oil, the time doesn't matter. Oil doesn't really "expire" at all. If it is NOT a performance car, and it is not driven HARD (you aren't beating on it), just switch to synthetic oil, and change it once a year.
That's a good recommendation.

Another thing to consider is whether you live in an area of temperature swings. If so, your oil can accumulate water through condensation alone. Driving it every week is useful to dissipate this, but it can still accumulate if you don't take long trips with it every so often. Condensation -- the silent killer (of oil).
     
Shaddim
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Dec 15, 2009, 03:25 PM
 
I have the oil changed in my car every 7k miles, regardless of how much time has gone by. I use Castrol Edge.
"Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."
- Thomas Paine
     
imitchellg5
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Dec 15, 2009, 03:26 PM
 
Originally Posted by finboy View Post
That's a good recommendation.

Another thing to consider is whether you live in an area of temperature swings. If so, your oil can accumulate water through condensation alone. Driving it every week is useful to dissipate this, but it can still accumulate if you don't take long trips with it every so often. Condensation -- the silent killer (of oil).
Exactly, here in Colorado I only really need to change my oil twice a year... I always change it right before it starts getting frigid, and then I'll do it in Spring. Generally that's about every 4k (full synthetic) miles for me. I also go to a heavier weight in the winter, -15˚ starts can be very hard on a car.

Since my driving is never very long (generally a 15 minute trip each way) I tend to change it a little sooner. If I was driving a half hour each way, I wouldn't do it as soon.
     
downinflames68
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Dec 15, 2009, 03:39 PM
 
Originally Posted by imitchellg5 View Post
Exactly, here in Colorado I only really need to change my oil twice a year... I always change it right before it starts getting frigid, and then I'll do it in Spring. Generally that's about every 4k (full synthetic) miles for me. I also go to a heavier weight in the winter, -15˚ starts can be very hard on a car.

Since my driving is never very long (generally a 15 minute trip each way) I tend to change it a little sooner. If I was driving a half hour each way, I wouldn't do it as soon.
You mean a thinner oil? Heavier weight sound like thicker oil, which would be a bad move in colder weather. Where do you live in CO? You're lucky, you live in the best driving state I've ever been in. Hoping to move there next summer.
     
Doofy
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Dec 15, 2009, 03:49 PM
 
Oil change? Don't bother. Just buy a new car when the old one seizes up.
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Person Man
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Dec 15, 2009, 03:52 PM
 
Originally Posted by downinflames68 View Post
Unless you have something weird where moisture or coolant seeps into your oil, the time doesn't matter. Oil doesn't really "expire" at all. If it is NOT a performance car, and it is not driven HARD (you aren't beating on it), just switch to synthetic oil, and change it once a year. My dad does this on all his cars, and they run fine, including his 70s caddy, 90s riv, and wagon. Since my car is turbo and higher performance, I change it ever 5k. About twice a year, generally.


I use AMSoil in my car. Change it once a year.
     
Arty50
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Dec 15, 2009, 04:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by downinflames68 View Post
You mean a thinner oil? Heavier weight sound like thicker oil, which would be a bad move in colder weather. Where do you live in CO? You're lucky, you live in the best driving state I've ever been in. Hoping to move there next summer.
Yup, you want to go with lower viscosity in wintery areas. It doesn't thicken as much at low temps and thus the oil pump picks it up sooner than a higher viscosity oil.

One other thing that should be mentioned is that you should make sure you change your oil at the recommended service intervals while your engine is under warranty. Not doing so will void your warranty. Also, it's illegal for companies to void your warranty for using synthetic oil. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Synthetic is so much better than normal oil, it's not even funny. Normal oil barely lasts 3k in my old Jeep. Synthetic lasts at least 5k. It doesn't foul or break down as quickly as normal oil, and that's a very good thing. It's all I use anymore.
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those with loaded guns, and those who dig. You dig."

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mduell
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Dec 15, 2009, 05:24 PM
 
I think every 3 months is excessive for modern cars/oils as long as you're regularly driving it long enough to boil the water off.

I'm still trying to figure out how I want to structure my oil changes. My commute isn't long enough to bring it up to temperature and about once a month I'm at the track where oil temps exceed 260F (125C).
     
downinflames68
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Dec 15, 2009, 05:26 PM
 
Originally Posted by Arty50 View Post
Yup, you want to go with lower viscosity in wintery areas. It doesn't thicken as much at low temps and thus the oil pump picks it up sooner than a higher viscosity oil.
Yes, which is what I just said. Using a thinner, or lower viscosity oil in the cold. But he mentioned heavier weight.... hence my confusion.
     
imitchellg5
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Dec 15, 2009, 05:52 PM
 
Originally Posted by downinflames68 View Post
You mean a thinner oil? Heavier weight sound like thicker oil, which would be a bad move in colder weather. Where do you live in CO? You're lucky, you live in the best driving state I've ever been in. Hoping to move there next summer.
Oops, that's what I meant. Thinner in winter, thicker in summer. It probably doesn't make a huge difference, but I'm just more comfortable with doing that with the extreme changes in temperature from seasons to season (Nearly 90˚ in summer, -20˚ in winter).

I'm in Colorado Springs. It's a great state for driving, if you don't mind loss of power (about 20% where I am at 6.5k feet).
     
downinflames68
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Dec 15, 2009, 06:08 PM
 
That's why you need boost.
     
imitchellg5
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Dec 15, 2009, 06:29 PM
 
Yes, turbocharging does help a lot, but then you have to deal with lag for a lot of cars. My mom's Legacy GT was perfectly fine when I picked it up in Seattle last year, no lag at all. But here, there is a good deal of lag, which can be entertaining and annoying at the same time.
     
Arty50
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Dec 15, 2009, 06:44 PM
 
Originally Posted by downinflames68 View Post
Yes, which is what I just said. Using a thinner, or lower viscosity oil in the cold. But he mentioned heavier weight.... hence my confusion.
Yeah, I got all that. I was just agreeing with you and then expanding on it and explaining why.
"My friend, there are two kinds of people in this world:
those with loaded guns, and those who dig. You dig."

-Clint in "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly"
     
   
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