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Read our primer articles on High Mileage Oil, Synthetic Oil and Kinematic Viscosity

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It depends on what kind of driving you do. If you do all short trips of a few miles at a time and only rack up 2500 miles in 6 months, they you are right on. But if you drive 40 miles a day you should be fine going 5000 mile oci on conventional and longer on synthetic.

I always did 3000 mile and sometimes shorter, but now am running closer to 5000 mile. The motorhome gets whatever the trip length is, typically 4000+ miles.

I have an Aerostar which is on month 13 of an oci at 6000 miles. I plan to change at 7000 miles and run an oil analysis. The oil is Redline and it has taken over 4 quarts of makeup.
"Oil Change Intervals - Why Try To Extend?"

For the simple reason that it's a wast of time and money not to. Today's modern vehicles are not your fathers 55 Chevy with a inline straight 6 engine and 3 on the tree. Today's modern engines, transmissions and other drivetrain components are held to much tighter tollerences then components of old. Cleaner running, more efficient and produce less contaminat byproducts. On the flip side today's modern engine, gear / transmission fluids and greases are also a vast improvement over older lubricants.

I run TRC's Moly XL Pro-Spec in all my engines. 5W30 in all gas engines and 15W/40 in the diesels.

1997 Ford E450 18 foot cube van w/7.3L Powerstroke. Average OCI 24,000 miles
1996 Ford F150 pickup truck w/V6 gas engine. Average OCI 11,000 miles.
1988 Chevrolet G30 12 foot cube van w/V8 gas engine. Average OCI 9,000 miles.
2001 Freightliner FL112 tractor w/C12 Caterpillar engine. Average OCI 33,000 miles.
1998 International 4900 straight truck w/DT530E engine. Average OCI 29,000 miles.
2001 Chevrolet Impala w/V6 gas engine. Average OCI 11,000 miles.
This is just a small sampling of my fleet.

I run UOA's on all vehicles, 3,000 for gas engines and 5-10,000 for the diesels. Transmission and rear gear oils are tested at 100,000 mile intervals.

To this date I have never had a lubricant related failure. A properly run UOA program will not only extend your drain intervals but will also extend the life of the vehicle or equipment by catching possible problems before they destroy a component and take it out of service for repair.
Intersting topic because the term, "extended.." only generally refers to number like 3,000, 5000 miles or 5,000, 8,000 etc kms. Owners manuals are already reflecting OEM base lines, ie. using numbers like 8,000 kms & 12,000 kms. This suggests to me the the term "extended" should be expanded to "extended from what?" I agree w/ A.O.
If a brand claims to have ability to "extend oil change interval", then "show me the facts" would apply.
Your drain intervals should be based on something real. I think the 3000 mile oil change is a waste of time and money.
I drive mostly dirt mountain roads, often in 4x4 mode, steep mountains, etc. I do used oil analysis and base my maintenance of filters and oil changes on that. I have determined that I can run 4000 miles with less than 4 ppm of iron if I don't allow cleaning of my air filter (just throw out every 4 oil changes). I have also determined through analysis that over time the bearings corrode if left in old oil, so my rule is 4000 miles or 6 months, and park for more than a month with used oil, always fresh.
I do this for my 11 vehicles.
I've also analyzed oils for hundreds of other vehicles and equipment and set the parameters for each company according to their use. In a company with 60 pickups that run 30,000 miles a year each, extending oil drains saves a lot of money and time.
came across this.

Recreational Oil changing

The term "recreational oil changer" was coined to define people (you 3000 miles changers) that change their oil far more than necessary because they actually enjoy doing it. It's easy to understand the psychology behind the recreational oil changing. It's the visceral feel of the tools, the victory when that old oil filter breaks free, the hot dirty oil pouring out, the joy of oiling of the gasket on the new filter, that new copper or fiber gasket on the drain plug, the clean clear oil going in, and the sense of accomplishment when you start the car, the oil light comes on for a moment, then goes out. For $8-10 in oil and parts, it's pretty cheap entertainment, but if people would be content to do it only when it provides some benefit to the vehicle, it would be better.
Originally posted by JasonD:
I'd like to hear how often everyone changes their oil and why. I don't believe the auto manufacturers recommendations - I think that they are just trying to sell more parts and cars.

I change my oil every 2,500 miles - I think it's the safest way to go. Why risk extending it?

I've run my 7.3 non turbo for 250,000 plus after overhaul & oil analysis at each oil change. I do not use expensive oil since analysis shows wear elements accumilate at about the same rate with or withour synthetic oil. My interval is approximately 50 hours.
The most important thing is additive package, of which I have my personal favorites. Additive packages are meant to go for a defined amount of time before they deteriorate to unusable and detrimental stages. Filters cannot take out the small micronic particles that form wear particles. I used Caterpiller Labs for my testing and they give you feed back on what is good and bad.
I think you are on the right track with your idea on not extending oil change intervals. If you don't buy new vehicles or expensive replacement parts, you put a kink in auto and part manufacturers business plans.
Originally posted by JasonD:
...I change my oil every 2,500 miles - I think it's the safest way to go. Why risk extending it?

Isn’t it for you at least a little bit strange recommendation for oil change at 3.000 miles TODAY? That is perfectly same as before 30 and more years!
Therefore, all developments in distillation, chemistry, (engine) materials, metalworking… are completely denied. The engines are greatly upgraded, better built, longer lasting – but oils are same for decades! Nothing changed!

It is for sure that you are ready to admit that European manufacturers are making good and reliable cars. Small numbers would be used if anyone tried to count those who wouldn’t like to drive Mercedes, BMW, Porsche, Ferrari… But, on the other side, widely accepted rule of 3.000 miles is exactly telling that (particular) European engineers are stupid enough to recommend (and use!) extended drains. Equal definition is applicable for design teams in Japanese and some N.American companies for inclining toward extended drains.

Before 30 years nobody, but really nobody, haven’t been thinking about natural resources, about emissions and about Earth’s future. Do you agree with me that today it is a must? Any oversight today could have great impact for the next generations. Therefore, we have to take care about resources, to use environmentally friendlier materials, to use all available potentials. It is not only a slogan that each drop (action and result) counts. Is there any reason (except your personal opinion) why you would drink just a couple of sips of your Starbuck’s coffee instead of drinking it all? Beside your personal opinion mainly based on non-technical parameters, could you name technological reasons for not using all the potentials of oil in your engine? You, and unfortunately not only you, voluntarily shortened recommended oil drain interval for 500 miles. Let’s try to turn it into numbers! If million North American drivers is doing similar four times per year two billion miles of oil use is wasted, not mentioning energy for distillation, fuel for transportation and 12 million quarts of oil waste more per year. Do you really like to be part of it or you just do not care for others?

Isn’t it strange to you that average North American driver still is not familiar with synthetic lubricants? Germans successfully used them long time ago in WWII but, on the other side of Ocean, average driver still wonders about 10.000, 15.000, 25.000 or even 35.000 mile oil change! It is not important for him that at all these oil drain recommendations are established for 35 years now and that numerous UOA confirmed them (read as: there is no risk). Simultaneously the same driver never heard about (decades old) Moss-Magnusson Act because car dealers (and manufacturers with them) by all available ways push him to make frequent oil changes and generate money for them and their protégés (read lubricant manufacturers).

If you found at least one good reason to use all 3.000 miles of your oil or, even better, to use synthetic in the future I definitely haven’t been wasting my time by writing this.
Last edited by djordan

It is very sad that you don't know how to make an argument, and respect opinions of others, but instead patronizing them. You, as disrespectful AMSOIL dealer as they can get, is the sole reason I will NEVER buy and use oil that you're peddling. I also change my Castrol Sintec in my little TDI around every 2500 miles. If manufacturer says that this oil is good for 5000 miles, then even better. However, they don’t require this mileage but rather only recommend it. As far as environment is concerned, stop patronizing people and trying to make them guilty of some your BS. Nobody is throwing used motor oil into rivers (maybe in Canada folks do, so that’s why you are getting hardon on everyone that doesn’t think like you, but I doubt it). There are numerous facilities in US, which only business is recycling of used oils and putting them back in service. How such practices justify you calling someone being negligent towards environment? My advice to you: stop patronizing, chill out, and yes breed, and let folks do with their money and equipment whatever they want.
Originally posted by John Micetic:
...I also change my Castrol Sintec in my little TDI around every 2500 miles. If manufacturer says that this oil is good for 5000 miles, then even better...

My dear John,

As of me you are free to change your oil each 10 miles! (How about idea of constant flow through engine?) That’ll be probably much better than changing at 2500 miles? When you switch to more frequent changes please do not change your favorite Castrol Syntec, “full synthetic brand" because you already are get used to be deceived and you obviously like it. In case that you do not know what I am talking about read Castrol Syntec MSDS where is stated: Chemical Family/Classification: Synthetic hydrocarbon ! Explore for yourself meaning of word hydrocarbon and compare it with "full synthetic" label of your favorite oil. That'll be your homework since I can’t do everything for you!
BTW What is advantage of your favorite synthetic oil if you change it sooner than OEM recommendation? Explain us, please, what benefits you have by more frequent changes. I am always ready to learn something new and you, definitely, have some knowledge to share with others. (I am referring to “stupid European engineers and design teams”)

If you read (again) my post carefully you won’t be able to find that I am recommending Amsoil. As mechanical engineer and as caring citizen of planet Earth I AM RECOMMENDING SYNTHETICS, SYNTHETICS AND SYNTHETICS! In spite of that ANY BRAND of synthetic oil (full, 100%), except Syntec, will work. Why not Syntec – refer to previous paragraph!

Your words about Canada are telling more about your cultural level and “making an democratic argument and respecting opinions of others” than about Canadian ways of solving a problems. Moreover, for your info, there is what Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection says: "Our Do-It-Yourselfers dispose of 11 million gallons of used oil a year. The authors of this website state that only 14 percent is re-cycled and the rest, 9.5 million gallons, is dumped, either into sewers, on the ground, into the trash or 'into rivers like they are doing it in Canada'." And that is what happens in just one US state! Extrapolate this data out and all of us are going to be surprised by awesomely large numbers nationally.
It is sad that your degradation of your country's first neighbor is rather based on your personal behavior (highly influenced by Balkan roots) than by facts about accepted protocols saying that Canada is much deeper in environment protection than US. Further discussion would put you into very unstable position!

Your attempts to negate environmental problems caused by draining still good motor oil are not successful. Considering that you can "do with your money and equipment whatever you want" as a good technological basis for doing it just is telling us how negligent toward environment you actually are. Therefore, I’ll repeat calculation with one million drivers (if it weren't millions of them, actually!) like you - John Micetic. Your group is taking from mother Earth earlier than it is needed 60 million quarts of oil per year, almost 6 Exxon Valdez oil spils, and that is considered as environmental damage too! Top all of that with required energy for production of oil and bottles and associated transportation costs! If that is your (personal) goal – do it! Do the same with your bread, turkey, fruit… Let your bathroom faucet open and do not care about (world's) scarce for drinking water! Use ethylene glycol instead of polyethylene glycol as your favorite antifreeze! Why not to do similar with your salary; take just a half of it? You live in free country and you can do "whatever you want".

Being different of you, long time ago I have decided not to be part of that game! Since that point I’ve been turned toward future, not past and “believe it or not” my car perfectly works with 25.000 miles motor oil. Several UOA’s confirmed it! Therefore, do not count on me in your group!
Last edited by djordan
What risk?

I try to extend because my significant other's budget control allows either oil or beer or cigarettes or other entertainment.....

I do believe that you can not overly maintain a vehicle. But, if budget is an issue, then you can definitely waste too much money on maintenance.

I find that an odometer is a poor tool for measuring oil change interval. I find that an engine timer is more consistent.

Each driving style and platform would require a used oil analysis to determine an effective and budget smart OCI. A UOA actually cost as much as 3 or 4 budget do-it-yourself oil changes. So, its up to you to decide whether you should just change the oil, or UOA and push the oil to the limit.

IMO, it doesn't make a difference what oil type or brand you use if the UOA is good. Mineral, synth, blend, is for you to choose. But, under engineered engines should take the best you can afford.

My oil also goes to the local recycler to be turned into re-refined oil or dropped off at the local powerplant to produce that electricity that I'm using to type this. So, I don't care for the enviro crowd argument. I also maintain my vehicles to last as long as possible. Which is worse, my 2 extra gallons of oil a year? or the enviro impact of purchasing a new vehicle every 3-5 years and salvaging the old one?

Engines cost more then oil changes. Degradation to neglected engines, IMO, is worse then a few extra oil changes a year.

I prefer optimum long term performance, power, and MPG, from preventive maintenance which has allowed several of my 250k+ mileage vehicles to run without ANY oil consumption and pass strict chassis dyno emissions testing in Ma and RI with flying colors.
I have seen "charts" reflecting UOA's that clearly show wear metals leveling out at 3K miles. In other words wear metals "peaked" at 3K and then leveled off up to 10K. So a well tuned...properly filtered (air/oil) engine will show no less/more wear going 10K OCI's than 3K OCI's. Given the TBN is still active I assume Smile
2ndly....Fuel dilution is an issue for me.....however I now see "charts" reflecting that fuel dilution do not equate to wear metals from the fuel shearing the viscosity. Actually the chart I saw reflected the oil rebounding....
3rdly...oil temps and filtering seem to play a large role in being able to take any oil out to 10K and above. Too hot and it breaks down...too cold and it doesn't burn off fuel/condensation.
So I appears there are several contributing factors to anybody considering a 10K OCI....seems to me that there is a smaller group of people who fit into the "box" that would allow all the above factors to fall into place that would allow a 10K OCI. Short trips/dusty conditions/excessive heat from towing etc./large cam, excessive idling in town and fuel dilution/ etc. etc. would appear to eliminate many from even considering a 10K OCI....or would shorten the engines life by doing so.....curious of thoughts here....
IMO, it doesn't make a difference what oil type or brand you use if the UOA is good. Mineral, synth, blend, is for you to choose. But, under engineered engines should take the best you can afford.

I agree completely. That is a great point. I bought the Toyota 1.8L engine when I knew I was going to be putting 50k miles per year on it. A good engine is a good engine and should last regardless of oil type.
Not to throw another wrench or angle into this, but also for those who are so equipped with one, why not just follow your OLM?

We have a Honda Pilot, and it is the first vehilce that I've had that has one. I didn't want to believe them at first, but after doing some research, it turns out that the programming for them is more sophisticated than any of us could hope to be on the mileage/hours/use of oil measurement, save for doing an actual ananylsis of the lubricant. I also I've read that they are trying to come up with a device that will do an analysis while driving.

So, does it make sense to follow a set mileage pattern anymore? Not really. At the same time, however, I wouldn't want to make a blanket statement and change it strictly at 10 or 15K miles either.

What makes it difficult is the fact of all of the variables that come into play, as mentioned before. Highway driving is far easier on oil than city, longer trips are easier than shorter ones. Summer trips are easier than winter ones.

Set mileage oil changes are becoming extinct, too slow for my taste, but extinct nonetheless.
my 2005 truck - Walmart Synthetic (likely Group 3)- change every 5000 km (about twice yearly)
1976 motor home - conventional oil, change every year or two (use about 500 km yearly)
13 year old lawn mover - top up with the cheapest oil I can find, never change oil, hoping this is the year that it stops running like a top so that I can buy a new shiny lawn mower at Walmart for $150

I am not recommending these OCIs, just reporting what I do

*how often should you change oil in a seldom used vehicle?

p.s. - we Canadians do not dump oil in our rivers and over 50% of us don't live in igloos anymore
Last edited by badnewsbare
Hmm. The seldom used vehicle is always the one scenario that throws all mileage based programs awry.

Usually, I would do it in 6 month intervals, regardless of oil used. In fact, I have a Dodge Ram 2500 with the Cummins diesel that I do precisely that with, as it doesn't see 5K miles/year at this point due to the fact that the fuel is over $4 per gallon these days.

That lawn mower of yours probably will keep on running like a top, as I knew of someone that NEVER changed the oil in theirs, and it lasted for 15+ years!! Good luck with getting a new mower.
If you want to get rid of the mower, there was a You Tube video once on some guys hooked up nitrous to their mower. Just have something to stand behind as a shield before you remotely give it the nitrous shot.

Or you could refill the crankcase with some totally outrageous substance, like Chlorox or prune juice, and see how long is runs WOT. If you do, post the video for us.
In 1992, after reading through the owners' manual for my new Grand Am with the HO Quad 4, I decided to go with 5W-30 dino Pennzoil every 3 months whether it needed it or not, and to extend the same thing to my old 77 LUV. The only real change since then was in 02 when replaced the GA with a Cavalier with the Ecotec. Both have about 140K on them and warrenties are long gone. My wife drives the Cavalier 30 miles each way to work, mostly open 2 lanes. Some quarters the car see over 6000 miles. The truck gets mostly in town use seldom going more than 1/2 mile without a stop with occasional longer trips. This can't be too bad, the truck still holds good oil pressure, and the GA was doing fine at 180K and 10 years.

In 1992 the Pennz was less than a buck a quart and I could buy AC filters for $2.

Could I do better? If I get my AAP rebate, my last oil change would be about $24 for 10 quarts of oil and 2 Purolator filters including the L15436 cartridge for the Ecotec. I could live without the the thrill of the quarterly pouring in new oil. My goal is long engine life for only time and money needed.

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