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Read that article 2 years ago when they first posted.

Still agree with it too. As always, follow the manual.

We need a "Follow the manual" smiley. :headg: If we have this? How hard can it be?
 

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Edmunds sells cars, right? Thought so.
Jiffy Lube sells oil, right? Yep.
So, if one tells me 3k miles and the other says we can go up to 15K miles, where might the truth be?

The problem with oil change habits is that most drivers don't really follow ANY maintenance schedule if they don't have a silly sticker shoved in their face. Newer cars with oil monitoring are trying to do this in a more scientific way - but does YOUR car have that? The average car in the US is 10.8 years old. Average! 'Today's cars' being spoken of are mostly much newer than the cars most people are actually driving, and thus most lack the technology. Even with the oil change sticker, people almost never check their oil levels. The 'low oil' warning lights on most cars are based on a lack of oil pressure - by which time you're screwed. Few cars have a way other than the dipstick to tell you that you're losing oil, and until they do, using a 3k mile oil change is basically how they successfully check their level. All that talk in the article to try to tell you to slow down your oil use, but none about how often you check your oil. Not a lick of data to back up their claims, either. All kinds of mention is made of how oil doesn't break down anymore, but no discussion is made of how oil gets dirty. I know from my past use of synthetics that the best oil can't help you if there's too much junk in it. You have to have oil in your engine, that isn't muddy grime, for your engine to live. We have two ways to assure that, checking it and changing it. We have a great system of commerce to support the latter that's proven successful. It may not be the most economical or so environmentally friendly, but it works.

I trust my eyes and my dipstick, and a bit of info from Subaru. My oil was pretty grossly dirty when I got the car, because it was starting to experience 'extended drain intervals' courtesy of being a paid off car. I've been changing it at ~3500 miles, and it gets cleaner every time. It loses a bit through leakage, and once that's fixed and an oil check shows me oil that looks fairly transparent after 3500 miles, I'll change to synthetic and explore the practical application of an 'extended drain interval'.

So, somewhere between the likes of Edmunds and Jiffy Lube lies the truth. The best way to find out for yourself is to start really checking your oil. That, or just pick sides and change your car in less than 10 years, or change your oil every 3k miles.
 

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The ony true way to know how well your oil's condition is, is to send it to a oil lab to be tested! Oil that has reaches its shear point is not visible!
 

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i have ignored the 3000 mile rule of thumb for at least 20 years. my 90s subarus all have an oil change interval of 7500 mils for regular driving and half that, 3750, for severe driving conditions. both of these are longer than 3k. so i use 5k miles as a change interval. it is closer to the ''severe'' interval than the regular interval and it is really easy to know when it is oil change time. 150k, 155k, 160k, ..... most people know their ''5 times table''. i'm pretty good at my ''7 times table'', but my ''3.75 times table'' really sucks.

and most important for me, i don't have those little stickers to put on my windshield when i change my own oil, and i'm not organized enough to write it down in a service log, so 5k is a really easy oil change interval to remember.

i think they keep the 3k interval around so they can sell oil and upsell other services, but also because most folks can divide by 3.

.02
 

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so, what about extending the TIME side of the schedule? I don't put many miles on my cars, they get a lot of stop/go, secondary road use and short trips. rarely are they on the highway. Should I do oil changes every 6 months anyway? It's not so bad on the wifes; car - maybe 4K between changes (7-8K miles a year), But My car may only get 5K miles a year. That's maybe 2500 miles on synth oil every 6 months.
 

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I do mine at 5k and drive 500 miles/week.

My wife ('05 2.5 fozzie non-turbo) worries past 3000, so hers goes just a bit over that, mostly because I'd have to add a quart then anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Parts-Master 5W-30 Full Synthetic

is the oil I have used now for over ten years, been running pure synthetic since it came on the market in the 70's with Mobil 1.

I have learned that I don't need to be restricted or "tied-down" to when the next oil change is due, as I still typically do the changes before the maximum miles spelled out in the owner's manual. I realize we have more hills and mountains than a lot of other places, we also have extremes in temperatures more than other places.

Taking that all into consideration, plus the fact that a lot of my driving is short trips to town and back (about five to ten miles total), and I still try to keep the changes well below 10K miles. For the longest time, I just figured "change it every 5,000 miles, that way, it is easiest to remember when the vehicles are due for another change, after break-in, at 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 thousand miles, etc. That works out pretty well, and gives a good balance, however with money as tight as it has been getting, I am looking more at longer periods between changes, more like every 10,000 miles.

Both my vehicles are off the warranty, except for my other vehicle still has some emissions warranty left. Also, since I am usually the one to change the oil, I try to do it as late in the fall as I can so that it will last me until an "Indian-Summer" kind of warm-enough day in, say, January-March that will let me change the winter's oil.

I'm not too worried about the oil filter. I believe, when I buy nearly the best (for the money), that anything under, say, 15K miles is going to be OK. We don't thrash our engines, we typically don't race the engine, except for maybe during a pass where much acceleration is necessary, up to red line, but then down again, not constant red-line driving!

I also believe if we maintain the PCV Valve so it is always working as it should and we also keep the air cleaner element in good shape with a changing about every 5k - 10k miles, I am doing all I really can to make sure my oil won't let my engine down!

This is really another topic, however, I had to replace the oil level dipstick as the rubber o-ring on it was getting real easy to slide in and out. After trying a bunch of different ones I have on-hand, I decided it is safer just to get the new dipstick, I believe it was about ten dollars or so, ordered online. I also replaced the oil filler cap a while back as well, come to think of it, as the rubber ring (not and o-ring) was getting hard. I figure any leakage in either or both of them would not be a good thing in the long run!
 

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The ony true way to know how well your oil's condition is, is to send it to a oil lab to be tested! Oil that has reaches its shear point is not visible!
Actually, testing is good not because it just tells you shear weight, but because they'll tell you how much junk has gotten in your oil. Shear weight is not the only thing that goes wrong with oil, and especially with synthetics it rarely fails. When I first learned of using extended drain intervals with synthetics, it was stressed to me that the reason I basically would have to change it wasn't that it would break down, but because it would get dirty. You can have oil that that has lost none of its shear, but is loaded with silica and still wears on your engine.
 

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The one thing I completely disagree about in the article is how it implies that old oil is commonly illegally dumped and/or disposed of in a way that severely harms the environment. Does illegal dumping happen? Probably. Does it happen frequently or in vast quantities? NO!

The majority of the used oil is used in other products that need a mix of low quality petroleum, like shingles and road asphalt. Also, a significant portion of used oil is cleanly burned to produce heat. Back when I worked at a quick lube 10+ years ago, a company came around and collected our waste oil for free. They turned around and sold it to companies that need it. Everybody won. The only thing that cost us money to dispose of was the used filters.

Used oil is actually worth money now more then ever before. Quick lubes are now being paid for the waste oil. It wouldn't be worth illegally dumping it when a shop could get paid for it or at the very least have it removed for free. Around my neck of the woods, industrial shops are fighting over used oil for heat in the winter.

Finally, put me in the camp of the correct oil change interval probably being somewhere between 3,000 miles and 12,000 miles. Me? I change my oil sooner than later for various reasons but I'm not going to say my exact mileage because I don't feel like having to defend it because many will say that it is too soon.

Edited to Add: Having a used oil analysis can be pretty interesting. I did one on my street motorcycle to make sure I didn't have any hidden issues before the warranty expired. The results were pretty interesting. Mechanically the bike looked great and the oil stayed in the correct viscosity range. What concerned me was the high silica, which I attribute to living along a busy gravel road.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I shall check into oil-testing for both my vehicles.
That sounds like a great idea, especially since I want to prolong the time between changes!
 

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I shall check into oil-testing for both my vehicles.
That sounds like a great idea, especially since I want to prolong the time between changes!
bobistheoilguy.com is a big site with info about UOA (used oil analysis) evidently, plane owners and truck fleet managers have done UOAs for decades.

Blackstone labs is one provider that seems poplular.
 

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The 3,000 mile oil change is a piece of history. Yeah, I used to do that, back in the day, but I've been changing my own oil for over 40 years, and times have changed. When I was growing up, I remember the stations with the oil in quart glass bottles with a metal funnel screwed on top, so people could pour a quart or two of that non-detergent stuff in when they filled up. That was that way things were done then, but they've changed. There have been tremendous changes in engine manufacturing processes and in motor oils.

I would never recommend that anyone go beyond the recommendation in the manual, but 3,000 is wasteful of resources and money. There's no reason to speculate- Blackstone in Fort Wayne will test anyone's oil for $25 or so, and then guesswork will be transformed into facts. I've had mine tested- how about you?
 

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So call me an evil earth killer. I changed my oil today with 'only' just under 3700 miles on it. Twas pretty black, but not obviously gritty or even grainy looking. Now, I put in a quart between the last change and this one, because of previously mentioned leaks. When I ran the engine for a couple of minutes after changing the oil and re-checked the level after a few minutes of sitting, the oil didn't show much darkening from residue in the engine.

As for $25 for an oil analysis - that's more than this oil change cost me. I did it myself, and for $20 I could have someone else do it. To the average consumer, its not worth much of their time to send off a sample, and then really try to figure out what the results mean, and decide a course of action. If you find out you need to change your oil every 7500 miles anyway, the cost becomes a wash. Not saying changing is right vs testing, just explaining the reality of it. As it is, the business model doesn't support testing as effective for private individual owners. It remains the territory of fleet management.
 

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I agree testing is moot for us privet people. I did it just for fun, to learn something new, and to bring some facts into the debate with my dad. ;)

Not everyone should be changing thier oil at the same interval, some people are more of a lead foot, others drive like grandma, some see lots of hwy, some stop and go. All are factors and determining when your oil is "bad" but the truth is most people change thier oil too often today.

Unless you dump it down a storm drain I don't see the harm in changing it early but some people feel it is necessary to perpetuate the myth of 3k miles, just so they feel better.
 

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So call me an evil earth killer. I changed my oil today with 'only' just under 3700 miles on it. Twas pretty black, but not obviously gritty or even grainy looking. Now, I put in a quart between the last change and this one, because of previously mentioned leaks. When I ran the engine for a couple of minutes after changing the oil and re-checked the level after a few minutes of sitting, the oil didn't show much darkening from residue in the engine.

As for $25 for an oil analysis - that's more than this oil change cost me. I did it myself, and for $20 I could have someone else do it. To the average consumer, its not worth much of their time to send off a sample, and then really try to figure out what the results mean, and decide a course of action. If you find out you need to change your oil every 7500 miles anyway, the cost becomes a wash. Not saying changing is right vs testing, just explaining the reality of it. As it is, the business model doesn't support testing as effective for private individual owners. It remains the territory of fleet management.
I fail to see the "reality of it" in your explanation. Yes- many people will go on draining and throwing out perfectly good oil, based on outworn beliefs about oil performance. I've read the whole thread, and NOBODY called ANYBODY an "evil earth killer." Just people who waste their money. Human nature does not change, only their fashions and gadgets.

And it is by no means necessary for anyone to spend a nickel on a UOA if they don't want to- the money has already been spent. Go to BITOG (Bob Is The Oil Guy), and scroll through the hundreds of UOAs posted there. They demonstrate conclusively the points that have been made here, not only for modern detergent dino (petroleum-based) oils, but also for synthetics. THAT is facts; THAT is reality.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I remember, back in the 60's, the cars and trucks leaked so much fluid that all roads had a black strip along the center of the lane. When it began to rain, you had to be careful if your tires were on that dark strip, as it was mostly oils that dripped off the undersides of vehicles, and the rain water would bead up on top, making that center strip very slick!

You look at the center of roads today and you don't really see much of the "oil-drip-strip!" We know that the tolerances for everything have gotten much tighter than back in the 60's. Heck, in the 60's, a car was pretty much meant to be kept, it was meant to be worked on, I believe later in the 60's is when the planned-obsolescence of everything started to rear its ugly head. Now, it is almost a throw-away world -- a car today suddenly becomes a dishwasher next week!

I just checked my H4 2.5i SOHC oil. It is nearly ALWAYS above the Full mark, like 1/2" above! I'm not losing any antifreeze coolant at all and the car has done this since it was new! The oil looks clean, like there are no droplets of anything else on the dipstick. I even take the fill cap off first in case pressure might push a bit up the dipstick tube as soon as the stick is pulled and that rubber O-ring stops the dipstick yellow handle cap-seal from sealing.

I see oil dripping out, presumably the valve cover gaskets that I still have here to install when I'm in the mood and my body says it's OK, but hardly ever have to add any oil between changes!

Oh, and I stopped putting 4.5 quarts in when I change the oil and filter (like the manual says), and have been only re-filling with four quarts at every change, still, the level is about 1/2" high, sometimes a bit over that notch which I think is like a MAXIMUM marking.

What gives?
 

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Heck, in the 60's, a car was pretty much meant to be kept, it was meant to
be worked on, I believe later in the 60's is when the planned-obsolescence
of everything started to rear its ugly head. Now, it is almost a throw-away
world -- a car today suddenly becomes a dishwasher next week!
That's not the way I remember it. In the bad ol' days (50's thru 70's)
most cars were totally clapped out by 70k miles -- with lots of repairs
required to even get that far.

My first car to reach 100k was an '83 Civic, and cars have gotten better
ever since. Now, I routinely get 150-200k miles (with minimal repairs!),
and then pass them off to a grateful teenager.

Cars were NEVER longer-lived or more reliable than they are today.

.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
That's not the way I remember it. In the bad ol' days (50's thru 70's)
most cars were totally clapped out by 70k miles -- with lots of repairs
required to even get that far. Cars were NEVER longer-lived or more reliable than they are today.
I am referring to older cars that HAD MAINTENANCE performed on a regular basis - as OPPOSED TO most people (even my dad) who opted not to take good care of their cars and instead, just trade them every two years causing things to transpire as you mentioned.

Read this article about how the '64 car was maintained as it should have been and is still on the road:
93-year-old Florida woman retires her ?64 Mercury after 576,000 miles on the road | The Sideshow - Yahoo! News
 
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