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Discussion Starter #1
So I took my 2011 Outback 2.5i Premium into the dealer today to get the ECM reprogrammed and the service manager said I'm due for an oil change. According to the sticker on my windshield, my local garage changed my oil over 5,000 miles ago. I told him that I thought Outbacks can go for 7,500 miles between changes. He replied that yes, they can go 7,500 miles but only when using synthetic oil. If you're using conventional oil (which I used) I need to change it every 3,000 miles.

I called B.S. on his story since right after that he tried selling me a cabin air filter. Little did he know I changed it myself at 12,500 miles. I'm currently at 15,500 miles.

So, any truth to this? Am I risking damage to my car by using conventional oil every 7,500 miles? I saw nothing in my owners manual which would indicate his assertions. I know oil is a hot topic on this message board and I'm prepared for the responses, "You should always use synthetic!!". :)
 

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Folk lore plain and simple. Dino oil vs synthetic oil are both excellent. If I recall my manual for the 3.6L Subaru suggests but doesn't dictate synthetic oil.
The only way to know is to do an oil analysis and see what the results are. When your total base number which is a measure of additives to protect your engine is low like 1.0 your oil is worn out meaning the protection is not there.
That is the only way to tell.
Your dealer might consider your driving severe which the manual I think does say 3000 miles.
Whole can of worms here and I use BITOG.com to help educate myself regarding fluids which engine oil is a main topic.
Hope this helps some...
 

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He has no clue what he is talking about.
 

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the owners manual in my 97 GT list the oil change interval as 7.500 miles for regular conditions, 3,750 for severe conditions.

i doubt your year is very different, but check your manual.

but considering that the oil companies and car repair chain stores have spent 50 years convincing all of america that oil only lasts 3000 miles, it does not surprise me that he believes what he is saying.

i do not know if my owners manual mentions synthetic oil, but it came from the factory with dino oil.
 

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I used Mobil1 ep 15000 and changed mine at every 7,500 miles for my corolla. I am at approx 80,000 miles on the corolla. It has no problem at all. In fact, there are oil out there that guarantee 15,000 miles change enterval like Mobil 1 ep and castrol edge with titanium
 

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Yea, my stealership tried this one. I emailed SOA and their reply was 7500. When I mentioned this to service I got the song and dance of it depends on driving habits. Yes, it does however, my habits are gentle. Will hang onto the email just in case proof is needed.
 

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I called B.S. on his story since right after that he tried selling me a cabin air filter. Little did he know I changed it myself at 12,500 miles. I'm currently at 15,500 miles.
So without you letting him know you had already changed it, he saw that you were past due for a cabin air filter and recommended it? Yeah, I'd call BS on that, too.:rolleyes:
 

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On a previous vehicle, I had oil analysis done on conventional oil. What I found was that conventional oil can easily go 10,000 miles... This was in a diesel pickup that use to tow a boat, that weighed over 14000lbs, on some weekends. I never did let it go past 10K miles between changes, but I had it done multiple times and even though the oil looked really dirty, the analysis always came back good.
 

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I use real class IV and V synthetics (RedLine at the moment). In my previous car, a 2009 Scion xD, I towed a trailer a lot, so I was concerned about the lifespan of my oil. Analysis by Blackstone Labs showed that my oil was still going strong at 10,000 miles. I decided on a 10,000 mile OCI because it was easy to remember. I towed a trailer 1 in every 5 miles on that car, which had a zero point towing capacity (in the US). Modern motor oils are very good... Especially synthetic blends (what most "synthetic" oils sold in the US are) as well as full synthetics.
 

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Back to the real question behind what perpetuates the myth of "change every 3K." And the question is always "Cui bono?" or "who benefits?" The question has been around at least long enough that its original expression is in Latin (that's a couple thousand years, for those of you who missed that day in history class). Answer: the dealers and oil change shops & auto parts stores. The manufacturers have no dog in the fight, as they don't profit from oil changes. As a rule of thumb, put in what the manual says, as often as it says.

Now, that being said, if you really want to know what YOUR engine in YOUR specific car needs, do a UOA. Only way. Get on line and tell Blackstone Labs in Fort Wayne that you want a UOA kit, and have your oil TESTED. I mean, what do you do if you want to find out whether or not your toes rotting and falling off are diabetes? You go pee in a cup and have your urine tested. Only way. Same thing with your car, if you want to find out what's going on in your engine after 5K, or 10K, or whatever, then do a UOA. Please.

It is, however, interesting to note that if you buy basically the same car in Europe, the OCIs in the manual can be far longer than in the U.S....sometimes 25-30K kilometers. And I draw no conclusions from that, nor do I recommend such intervals. If anyone can't be bothered to test their oil (I did!), then follow your manual.

And, yeah, synthetics are better. Go to BITOG and READ ABOUT IT. I suggest starting with "Motor Oil University," which cleared up some misconceptions I had about oil.
 

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Oil

I use synthetic with viscosity requirements listed in users manual every 3000 K. I drive less than 5 miles daily and that would fall into "severe condition" category chart.
 

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Conventional oil

The bigger question is are you still under warranty and do you still want to have the piece of mind that you are still covered in the event there is an engine mechanical problem. The dealer and soa could easily point to non compliance with service requirements. Then you will be arguing forever. Is this that important to you?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
The bigger question is are you still under warranty and do you still want to have the piece of mind that you are still covered in the event there is an engine mechanical problem. The dealer and soa could easily point to non compliance with service requirements. Then you will be arguing forever. Is this that important to you?
I can't see how the dealer and SOA could cry non-compliance since synthetic is not required..it's only recommended.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I sent an email to the Service Manager. Our names have been changed to protect the innocent. :) His reply is below my email:

MY EMAIL:
Dear Steve,

If you recall, I brought in my 2011 Outback 2.5i for the ECM recall yesterday. (VIN: 4S4BRXXXXXXXXXX) and you mentioned that I can go 7,500 miles between oil changes with only synthetic engine oil and conventional oil should be changed more frequently. I looked through my owners manual last night and I didn't see this mentioned. Can you please forward me some documentation where it states this? It was 5,000 miles since my last oil change with conventional oil and I don't drive the car under severe conditions. I want to make sure that I take good care of my Subaru since I plan on having it for a long time.

Thank you,

Daniel Craig

HIS REPLY:
Hello Bond,
I looked into your maintenance question.
Your vehicle requires conventional oil.
Most conventional oil vehicles require oil changes every 3,750 miles.
Your vehicle, through Subaru standards, requires oil changes every 7500 miles.
Technically you can change oil every 7500 miles but we still recommend conventional oil changes sooner.
You would not void your warranty by waiting 7500 miles.
The choice is yours.
Not many vehicles fall into this “gray” area.

Steve
 

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OTOH, Soobie of Germany sez 15,000 km (= 9320 miles):

 

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