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*VMBB Senior Chief Of Staff*
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This was a very lengthy article and I've posted only a portion of it..Chief

Oil chemistry and engine technology have evolved tremendously in recent years, but you'd never know it from the quick-change behavior of American car owners. Driven by an outdated 3,000-mile oil change commandment, they are unnecessarily spending millions of dollars and spilling an ocean of contaminated waste oil.

Although the average car's oil change interval is around 7,800 miles - and as high as 20,000 miles in some cars - this wasteful cycle continues largely because the automotive service industry, while fully aware of the technological advances, continues to preach the 3,000-mile gospel as a way to keep the service bays busy. As a result, even the most cautious owners are dumping their engine oil twice as often as their service manuals recommend.

After interviews with oil experts, mechanics and automakers, one thing is clear: The 3,000-mile oil change is a myth that should be laid to rest. Failing to heed the service interval in your owner's manual wastes oil and money, while compounding the environmental impact of illicit waste-oil dumping.

Scared Into Needless Service
Part of the blame for this over-servicing lies in our insecurities about increasingly complicated engines that are all but inaccessible to the average driver. Pop open the hood of a modern car, and a mass of plastic covers wall off the engine. On some vehicles, the only thing an owner can easily access is the oil cap.

"Vehicles are so sophisticated that oil is one of the last things that customers can have a direct influence over," said Matt Snider, project engineer in GM's Fuels and Lubricants Group. "There's maybe some feeling that they're taking care of their vehicle if they change their oil more often."

The 3,000-mile myth is also promoted by the quick lube industry's "convenient reminder" windshield sticker. It is a surprisingly effective tool that prompts us to continue following a dictate that our fathers (or grandfathers) drummed into our heads: It's your duty to change your oil every 3,000 miles - or your car will pay the price. But as former service advisor David Langness put it, the 3,000-mile oil change is "a marketing tactic that dealers use to get you into the service bay on a regular basis. Unless you go to the drag strip on weekends, you don't need it."

Because busy car owners seldom read their owner's manuals, most have no idea of the actual oil change interval for their cars. And so they blindly follow the windshield reminder sticker, whether it's an accurate indicator of the need for an oil change or not. "I just go by the sticker in the windshield," one well-to-do, educated Denver Lexus owner said. "Otherwise, how would I know when to change it?"

A career Navy mechanic who bought an Edmunds.com long-term car just shrugged when he was told that the vehicle had safely gone 13,000 miles between oil changes. "I'll just keep changing the oil every 5,000 miles," he said. "It's worked well for me in the past."

Our oil change addiction also comes from the erroneous argument that nearly all cars should be serviced under the "severe" schedule found in the owner's manual. In fact, a quiz on the Web site maintained by Jiffy Lube International Inc. (owned by petrochemical giant Shell Oil Company) recommends the severe maintenance schedule for virtually every kind of driving pattern.

The argument that most people drive under severe conditions is losing its footing, however. A number of automakers, including Ford and GM, have contacted Edmunds data editors to request that the maintenance section of Edmunds' site substitute the normal maintenance schedule for the severe schedule that had been displayed.

About the only ones that really need a 3,000-mile oil change are the quick-lube outlets and dealership service departments. In their internal industry communications, they're frank about how oil changes bring in customers. "Many people...know when to have their oil changed but don't pay that much attention to it," said an article in the National Oil and Lube News online newsletter. "Take advantage of that by using a window sticker system [and] customers will be making their way back to you in a few short months."

Another National Oil and Lube News article tied the frequency of oil changes to success in pushing related products and services. For a midsize SUV, the stepped-up oil change intervals will bring in $1,800 over the life of the car, the article says. "A few extra services [or oil changes] can go a long way toward increasing the amount of money a customer will spend during the lifespan we estimated here," the article concludes.

Today's Oil Goes the Distance
 

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I change mine every 10000. I switched to Royal Purple. They recommend 12500. I do it at 10000 to make remembering my oil changes easier. My wife's car will soon get switched so that I dont have to get under it as often. I can barely fit. I didnt do it with her old car because it leaks too much to waste expensive oil.

If you really want to stretch your oil you can send a sample to blackstone(I think that is the name) to have it tested and see how long you can run it. Costs about 25 for an analysis.
 

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I do a simple oil change every 6,000 miles. My dealership wants me in every 5,000, but I always stretch it a little, no problem with the warranty.
 

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The computer on my old cad analyzed driving habits and recommended oil changes based on that. It always said 7,500.
The shop says 3,000.
Owners manual says it depends on driving habits.
My brother changes every 3,000.

So I take all that into account, and change every 5,000 miles - easy to keep track of that way.

BUT if I put more miles on it, I would probably extend that out further; at this point in life, we put on less than 9,000 miles per year -
 

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I change every 2,000 in wifes van, by doin this I fully expect an ungodly amount of miles to accumulate on it. I did this with one of my trucks that had a 318 in it and drove it to 500,000. I reuse the oil out of wifes van for my truck since it uses a quart every 500. The cleaner your oil the better your gas miliage also. The van proves this. At about 2000 milage goes down by 1 mpg. I'll keep doin it that way just due to the fact of I like to drive my vehicles as long as I can and clean oil does this.
 

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I have a '96 Ranger pick up that doesn't get the miles piled on any more. I might drive it 5,000 miles a year, if that much. Oil, and filter, gets changed every year, no matter the miles driven. It now has about 250,000 miles on it, and it does not use any oil between changes.
 

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For at least a coupl of years, Hond's have an oil monitor that will tell you what the percentage of useable oil is.

I usually am at 8,000 miles when it gets down to 10%.
 

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I change mine every 10000. I switched to Royal Purple. They recommend 12500. I do it at 10000 to make remembering my oil changes easier. My wife's car will soon get switched so that I dont have to get under it as often. I can barely fit. I didnt do it with her old car because it leaks too much to waste expensive oil.

If you really want to stretch your oil you can send a sample to blackstone(I think that is the name) to have it tested and see how long you can run it. Costs about 25 for an analysis.
^^ I also usue Blackstone labs, highly recommend them! $25 is good peace of mind and can extend your intervals so much it will more than pay for itself. I use Lucas or Amsoil synthetic only anymore for all my Toyotas.

My truck just got a clean bill of health at 170k.

The first time or two, have them run a TBN test ($10 extra) which determines the amount of protection/anti-wear stuff is in your oil.

If I'm not testing the oil, it goes at 5k miles or soon thereafter. I also use Lucas Heavy Duty oil stabilizer and it has proven itself in my engines (and drivetrains) so I continue to use it. Found my last jug on Amazon delivered for $29/gal
 

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My wife put over 32,000 on her car the first year we had it. Hers gets changed every 7,500, though that's starting to get stretched out. It seems to be gentler on oil than it was when we first got it (brand new).

My work truck ticks up about 12,000 a year between the two of us. It gets serviced at varying intervals depending on what we've been doing (highway vs. towing vs. plowing, etc.). Usually 2 - 3 changes a year.

My personal truck doesn't do a lot of driving. It gets changed every year... which is around 2,800 this year. That thing spends more time as a radio than as a truck. :)
 

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I think changing your oil at regular intervals is the single most important thing you can do for your vehicle. It took me a long time to learn that. When i was younger i didn't change my oil until it was black and thick as molasses, i use to just add a quart when it was time for an oil change.
 

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The wifes Impala SS has the computer monitoring but I try to change it about every 3500, it gives her peace of mind. My old Ford truck gets a change when it gets so low that it's not on the dip-stick.
 

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Many newer vehicles have digital read-outs that monitor things like oil-life and in the case of my diesel truck, fuel-filter life. The data isn't actually generated from on-board testing, rather a function of things like: number of times the ignition switch is cycled, average speed, temperature, engine vacuum and throttle position. These things are pretty accurate indicator of engine load conditions that effect oil and filter life.

While many manufacturers have strayed from the 3K mile oil change interval, most all say,....or once a year, a guide I find myself using more and more. I also have been sending test samples for analysis on my diesel truck. After 5K miles the report shows the oil and its additives are still good, but it's hard to teach an old dog new tricks.

I also have been switching back to "dino"oil from the much more expensive synthetics I had been using. After reading extensively about the better quality of today's dino oil, I'm more tired of throwing money away than I am of wasting resources.
 

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Somethin else to think bout. If yer car has variable valve timing then dirty oil can get in there and really mess up the camshafts. I don't know how many we had that came in where some small piece of gunk had plugged the oil hole in the shaft and ran it dry. Then you have to replace the whole kit n caboodle. Also lifters have very small holes for oil to travel through so dirty oil don't get in there as well. That is the reason many garages still recommend 3000 for gas and 5000 for diesel even though most diesel manuals say 7500. Course when you change oil on a diesel you should also rotated the tires cuz it will be time. Regularity may be even more important that when do it at the same interval every time. That will save a lot of headaches down the road. But if you wait to long then change it sludge can and will move or clearances will be way to much and then you can loose the engine. The worst one I ever saw was a car that was 10 yrs old and had 50000 came in for service and still had the factory filter. The oil was tar. I noted it on the service sheet and changed it. Two weeks later the car was back for an oil leak that it didn't have before. So defiantly follow owners manual or sooner dependin on how you drive and what the vehicle is used for, more idlin means change at a lower mileage than highway drivin. Some of the newer computers take that into account the older ones just went by mileage. Like I said earlier I do 2000 cuz its easier to remember every even thousand and I rotate every other oil change. I like to make em last.
 

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I changed mine every 3k to start with and used dino oils. About 50-60k miles I switched to a synthetic from wally world. The next oil change I started using Royal Purple. Soon after I started getting intermittant check engine lights indicating my cam shaft was over retarded. Presumably from a clogged oil control valve. It would come on and go off by istelf within 100 miles or so, usually. It hasnt come on in a while, so I think it is cleared out now. I think the extra additives in the RP knocked some sludge loose. I'll cross my fingers that it is not going to keep happening.

And my Taco has VVT
 

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*VMBB Senior Chief Of Staff*
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Though I've learned a lot here from your various comments, I've never changed my own oil and at this stage of my life, it would be a big fib if I told you all I was planning to...I go to MIDAS or PEP BOYS here in the Valley for auto work...I prefer 'THE BOYS because there's a half-price Bikini car wash right next door and a HOOTERS across the street with the gals serving chow on roller skates...Do you believe that, troopers???? Chief
 

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Lucas HD oil stabilizer; it makes my fleet of Toyotas run like champs!

nobody believes me but it really helps the engine, especially when the mileage gets up there.

And nowadays, the oil the vehicle calls for is not what it really needs (at least in the few examples I have; for example, my '08 Sequoia (SUV version of the Tundra) w/5.7L calls for 5w-20 which is too thin at operating temp. It actually wants 5w-30 for longevity, 0w-30 is even better. But to meet EPA 'best mileage' award, the engine is like .0001% more efficient with the thinner oil. Won't protect the engine as well though. Look at what they're running in foreign countries that don't have deep pockets for engine repair.

I could go on and on but to say the least, I'm disgusted with the US regulation on vehicles. If I had my choice, I would be running nothing but turbo diesels!
 

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I am with LoneWolf. 2500 miles on all our stuff.[/QUOTE

My truck takes 11.5 qts. As long as the samples keep coming back good, I'm not about to lay out ten bucks a qt. for Amsoil.]
 

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I am with LoneWolf. 2500 miles on all our stuff.[/QUOTE

My truck takes 11.5 qts. As long as the samples keep coming back good, I'm not about to lay out ten bucks a qt. for Amsoil.]
Ya I understand that. My old 1972 460 takes 6 quarts. I use Castrol and do it myself. I am assuming you drive a diesel. The mfg recommends the oil changes go further on your truck then my old truck. Ten buck's a quart is spendy. that is why I drive my old war horse.

The one that breaks my wallet is my 1999 Mazda. It is so expensive. 40mpg, takes 2.4 quarts of oil, 130,000 miles, original clutch, motor, tranny, but the radio went out. I gotta say, that car saved me some bucks. Gotta love it.
 

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I have a '96 Ranger pick up that doesn't get the miles piled on any more. I might drive it 5,000 miles a year, if that much. Oil, and filter, gets changed every year, no matter the miles driven. It now has about 250,000 miles on it, and it does not use any oil between changes.
same here. I have an 02 with close to 200 thou and its once a year and no loss in between.
 
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