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How often do you change your oil?

  • right at 3,000 miles

    Votes: 14 17.9%
  • 3,000 - 4,500 miles

    Votes: 25 32.1%
  • 4,500 - 6,000 miles

    Votes: 28 35.9%
  • 6,000 miles or greater

    Votes: 11 14.1%
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Will the 3,000 mile oil change ever die?

Seriously, I'm in marketing and there are some good examples of great marketing. DeBeers invented the concept that a diamond ring is good for an engagement ring ... then they bought up all the stock, hid them and now say that they're rare.

Oil companies and quick-lube places started pushing the 3,000 mile oil change, while watchdog groups doing tests suggest that even basic oil should only be changed every 7500 miles. What's it with synthetic? 10-15000?
 

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Will the 3,000 mile oil change ever die?

Seriously, I'm in marketing and there are some good examples of great marketing. DeBeers invented the concept that a diamond ring is good for an engagement ring ... then they bought up all the stock, hid them and now say that they're rare.

Oil companies and quick-lube places started pushing the 3,000 mile oil change, while watchdog groups doing tests suggest that even basic oil should only be changed every 7500 miles. What's it with synthetic? 10-15000?
stevio,,,i have been running mobil 1 for years and change at 6000 or a bit more,when changing its still golden colored,,,i think you can really go to 10000,,used mobil 1 in my 2002 tundra my 2004 avalanche,my 2006 avalanche now in my yukon xl, abuelito,. On a different note I wanted to ask if anyone here uses www.gmpartsclub.com to buy parts.
 

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A quick cost analysis.

I rebuilt the motor in my Explorer at 160K miles, doing 5k mile oil changes (after 130k miles, I don't know for sure what the previous owner did). Assuming the previous was similar: 160k/5k per change=52 oil changes. $10 per oil change (do it myself)=$520 over the life of the engine.

If I'd done 3k mile oil changes: 160k/5k*$10=$330. An additional $190 spent on oil changes over the life of the engine.

So the real question then is, would that additional $200 have bought me an addition 30-60K miles? I don't know. Maybe I've bought into the marketing, but it seems like a small price to pay for the chance at a longer lasting engine.

Do you have links/references for these studies? I expect these studies are based on chemical analysis rather than engine longevity.

Another aspect, I think, stems from the fact that those who pay for warranty work have "bought into it" in that they will use the 3k mile oil change (or lack thereof) as an excuse not to pay for warranty work. Someone who's just put $20k+ on a new car, or shelled out $1k+ for an extended warranty, doesn't want to jeopardize that warranty by not following the warrantor's maintenance schedule. It seems that a lot of the marketing for lube shops and the like is geared around, "don't void your car's warranty." As long as warrantors use the 3k mi oil change as an excuse not to perform warranty work, then there will be strong compulsion for consumers to change their oil that frequently.
 
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Do you have links/references for these studies? I expect these studies are based on chemical analysis rather than engine longevity.
This was a big study done in the 90's looking at Taxi cabs in NYC. They used a large sample of vehicles, some had oil changes at 3,000 miles, some at 12000 miles (something like that) and drove them for somethine like 100,000 miles. They tore down the engines and found no mechanical differences.

Consumer Reports: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/...geIndex=1&resultIndex=4&searchTerm=oil change
Myth: Engine oil should be changed every 3,000 miles.

Reality: Although oil companies and quick-lube shops like to promote this idea, it's usually not necessary. Go by the recommended oil-change schedule in your vehicle's owner's manual. Most vehicles driven under normal conditions can go 7,500 miles or more between oil changes. Some models now come with a monitoring system that alerts the driver when the oil needs changing. Depending on driving conditions, these can extend change intervals to 10,000 or 15,000 miles.
I've even read anecdotal evidence from folks that use full synthetics that go 50,000 miles + w/o changing oil, one diesel driver who goes 100,000 miles plus.

I'll do some more lookups later. Most vehicle manufacturers talk about 5,000-7,500. My TB is like 5 or 6 I think.
 

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I'm guilty! I change at 3000...
For $30 a change why fret. Mine is clean as a whip coming out.
 

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After I get an oil change, I add Lucas Oil Stabilizer. It helps the engine run better and I don't have to have oil changes as often.
 

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My wife has an 07 Suzuki SX-4 with a 7 year 100000 mile powertrain warranty. The book says to change the oil every 7500 miles. I think the 3000 mile oil change it is most definately a marketing ploy. The japs back up there engines with an outstanding warranty so I don't think they would recommend such a higher mileage oil change if they thought the engine could not handle it.
 

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I go by my Oil Life Monitor.

I drive %90 freeway and at 10% oil life remaining Im at about 7,000 miles and I'll change it the weekend it hits 10%
 

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My grandfather used to run a fleet of trucks, diffrent diesel engines and milage.

His rule of thumb he'd use.... change the oil as soon as he got the truck to synthetic..... keep the synthetic in it, change oil filter every 6,000 miles and add Xqts of synthetic to match what came out of the filter. He had some trucks pushing 800,000 miles using this method and never had one internal mechanical failure. There was a total of 14 trucks in his fleet ranging from 1992-2003.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
My grandfather used to run a fleet of trucks, diffrent diesel engines and milage.

His rule of thumb he'd use.... change the oil as soon as he got the truck to synthetic..... keep the synthetic in it, change oil filter every 6,000 miles and add Xqts of synthetic to match what came out of the filter. He had some trucks pushing 800,000 miles using this method and never had one internal mechanical failure. There was a total of 14 trucks in his fleet ranging from 1992-2003.
I've read that there are people that use this technique. Does it work better with diesels becuase they operate at lower RPMs? I assume (never owned a diesel) that a diesel runs at a cooler temp?
 

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If we are talking "Conventional Oils" then I have to claim guilty and I would be changing every 2500-3000. Before I started using Royal Purple I changed every 2500-3000 religiously. If I went even 10 miles over 3000 I freaked out. Don't feel comfortable running longer on it. I was brought up, and then trained while working in the auto field, on 3K OC's and frankly at that time the oils made, and filters made, were not good for longer. Oils and filters have come a LONG way in just a short time.

Today's "premium" conventional oils are certainly good for longer than 3K but I am just conditioned to believe 3k and change it. I don't think it is as much a case of current day marketing as in the very short past 3K was all the oil's & filters was good for. I think the 3K theory hangs around more because of dinosaurs like me that were brought up to believe 3K was when to do it because that was all the products we had at the time were good for. 15-20 years ago running more than 3000 miles on conventional oil was engine suicide.

I think a lot of places like Jiffy Lube are very happy that belief continues today because they make their money doing OC's. Really new car mfg's are going away from 3K OC's. Not uncommon to see 7500 for OCI's or as with GM OLM's now replace set mileage ranges to do them. I think if there is one group you can place the blame on for 3K OC's still being considered the way to go it is US! Enough info out there to tell us it is not needed that soon with today's oil and filter technology. Like me though too many folks are conditioned that 3K is when to do it. So it persists. Again, IMO, not marketing based. I actually don't see a lot of 3K OCI marketing going on these days. If anything you see oil companies claiming longer oil life even with conventional oils.

With all that said I am a full on synthetic convert for many years now and don't use dino oil anymore anyway. I run Royal Purple( all fluids not just oils )now in all my vehicles as I alluded to above. However, I do make sure it is changed per the new car mfg's requirements in the owners manual while under warranty. Regardless of what some fluid mfg's tell you( one in particular comes to mind that begins with an A and ends with an L :cool: ), or some people think based on their twisted interpretation of the Magnuson-Moss act, you absolutely DO have to change your oil when the new car mfg tells you or they have a legal right to void your warranty( if the failure in question is oil related such as sludge as one example ). They provide the warranty and they have every legal right to set terms we must follow to preserve that warranty.

Really the 3K argument is moot to those under warranty If the new car mfg wants it done then. You have no option if you value your warranty coverage. I have worked in service and parts at a dealer and have dealt with this issue a lot. So many misinformed people it is sad. Doesn't matter if the fluid mfg tells you the oil is good for 10K, 15K, 25K, 50K, whatever. If the new car mfg says change it at 3K that is what you have to do until your warranty expires or you risk parts of your coverage. Doesn't matter if you use $1.99 a qt conventional oil or $7.99 a qt synthetic oil. You change it when the new car mfg, that provides your warranty, requires it.

Now, if you are out of warranty then all this doesn't apply and do what you want. I do my OC's on my new vehicles with RP every 5K. I have yet to keep a vehicle past warranty experation. The 5K is within the OLM and/or manual requirements of the vehicles I have owned plus it makes it easy to remember( 5K, 10K, 15K, sell it...:lol: )and I can do the tire rotations then as well. In the past there was one vehicle that I had to swap the RP at 3K because that was the only option in the manual( not even a light duty/severe duty set of options ).

Now, if I ever do keep a vehicle past warranty I would probably still do my OC's, even with RP, at 5K. When running these extended OCI's you are supposed to do a filter swap and oil top off around 4500-5000 miles. It isn't use the synthetic for 10-20K and only change the filter when you do the oil. :neutral: You need to change that filter by 5K and then top off your oil. I figure while I am there( I actually have it done = bad back )changing the filter and adding a qt anyway I may as well spring for the extra 5qts and just do it all.

I am old school still at heart I guess and the thought of 15K or more on the oil just wouldn't work for me. Also, I could not go 7500 on the oil and filter either as many new car mfg's are now using as the standard. Again, it may be okay but I would freak. 5K is about as long as I would feel comfortable running a filter.
 

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I used to change the oil religiously in my '91 S-10 at 3000 miles, and it always came out black looking like it needed a change. When I bought my '97 Jimmy I changed it at 3000 miles for the first few oil changes and it always came out looking new so I went to 4000 miles, it was a little darker but not totally black, so I have been changing at about 4500 for the last few years and had no problems with the engine.
 

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It's a toss-up between what I think is wasteful and what I think is going to protect my engine better. 200 quarts of used oil is going to hurt the enviroment less than me getting a new engine built.
 

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I remember once reading a very interesting article entitled "Motor Oil Myths and Facts", in which a large portion of it dealt with this 3,000 mile oil change "myth". The article goes into much deeper areas of the entire oil industry, so it's actually worth reading through it all... http://www.nordicgroup.us/oil.htm
 

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I think I'm probably around 5000 miles between services, it just makes it easy. someone else said that, 5,000 - 10,000 - 15,000 - 20,000 ---- makes it easy and I don't have any problems and I plan on keeping this vehicle long term.
 

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I am a firm believer in clean oil. I have seen what not keeping your oil clean will do to your engine. I was a tech in a Subaru dealership and one of my friends here owns So Oregon Engine Supply so as I said I know what dirty oil can do to create sludge and crap in a motor.
Pete
 

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Oil Change Frequency

I'm on my 5th high-milage vehicle. We've always changed the oil & filter at around 3k. My Dad was an aircraft mechanic back in the pre-jet days. He taught me that it's the filter, not so much the oil that needs changing. The babbit (then) and bronze (now) bearings on the crank break loose and cause the scoring on the cylinders when loose. you also get all the loose chromium from the edges of the rings wearing off, not to mention all the carbon. The lead we had in fuel served as a lubricant to prevent sticking and fouling in the combustion chamber but would deposit on the plug (vaporized like an EB gun). I remember his old Packard going in for oil & grease every 1,500 miles!!

With the skirt-less pistons now there is much less contact area than in the old days so the wear surfaces are decreased. There is also better and alloyed iron in the blocks to decrease wear, the fuel is cleaner, the burn is cleaner, and oils don't break down as fast. But just do the cash flow - if we expect the life of a motor to be 250k, that would be 83.3 oil changes and at $50/ea, just under $4200 total. If you extend it out with synthetic and get 10,000 (@$125/change), the cost drops to $3125 over the life. A new LQ9 6.0L crate motor is $9k, 5.3L are less, but not less than$4k. I guess it just depends what you want to spend you money on (and when).
 

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I only change mine after so many miles because it always seems that when the 3000 mile point comes around I am usually broke or too busy to do it! If I could do it at the ideal time, I would still do it at 3000 miles...and I use Valvoline Max Life because I am never sure what kind of history my vehicles have had prior to me taking ownership of them.
 

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Wrong question?

I once heard an interesting conversation in a movie.

The young pupil asks the wise master "why do you not give me the right answers?"
The master replies "Why do you not ask the right questions?"

Silly movie wisdom this might be, but I've always considered it words to live by.


Why the philosophy? Well in thinking about this topic I realized that we are asking the wrong questions.

The question is "why does oil need changed at all?"

The answer to that question is for two reasons. 1 because it breaks down chemically and 2. because it picks up and becomes contaminated with pollutants and particulate matter.

So, the answer to the question "When does oil need changed?" becomes "as soon as it starts to break down or become contaminated."


The partial reason for the 3000 mile oil change is that by over doing it, you can most easily cater to the lowest common denominator and assure cars will at least last until their power train warranties expire. This is why it makes sense for manufacturers to recommend these intervals.

However, if you can take steps to eliminate both reasons for oil changes, you can decrease the frequency of oil changes in absolute safety for your engine.

The very simple way to do this is 1. Use synthetic oil 2. Use more/better filters.

Why synthetic? Simple, it eliminates reason 1 to change oil. It just does not break down like conventional oil. It is only susceptible to reason 2.

As for oil filters, simply using a quality brand can let you skip every other oil change completely. Personally, every 4000 miles, I change the filter, and top up the oil (Mobil One). The only oil filter I've found that both passes all industry tests and is readily available is the Purolator PureOne filters. Do not use store brand filters, dealer brand filters, or Pfram filters.

Even better you could have a second, bypassing filter installed in your car and never change your oil. Just use a good, real full synthetic and change filters and top up oil. There are a few million mile vehicles out there using this method.

I plan to convert all my vehicles to use additional bypass paper filter systems like those at Gulf Coast Filters.
http://www.gulfcoastfilters.com/

I don't plan to stop changing oil. I think I'll continue the new filter/top up method and do an oil change yearly.

Given what cars cost, and how long they could last, it amazes me how cheap people are about maintenance. Simple, scheduled maintenance can easily double your cars lifespan.

Note: I don't have in interest in, or work for any companies I mentioned. I just also don't have any problem recommending products that have worked for me.
 
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