Oil change interval for low-mileage vehicles

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catdude
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Oil change interval for low-mileage vehicles

Post by catdude »

Hi Bogleheads,

I searched the archives and found that threads on this specific subject are five or six years old, so I thought I'd start a new thread. I have a 2017 Ford Escape, and I don't drive much. I put about 4000 miles a year on it. Most of that is from short trips, running errands around town. My mechanic says I should have the oil changed every three months (roughly 1300 - 1500 miles).

I decided to RTFM (Read The Fine Manual)... :P It says to change the oil every 5000 files or six months. I'm inclined to go with what the manual says, but if anyone thinks my mechanic is right about this, please let me know. Maybe because of all the short trips I take, I need to adhere to a shorter interval? What do y'all think?
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Momus
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Re: Oil change interval for low-mileage vehicles

Post by Momus »

7500-10,000 miles, I always use synthetic.

Regular oil 5000 miles.

No one needs 3k oil changes. It's a gimmick.
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vineviz
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Re: Oil change interval for low-mileage vehicles

Post by vineviz »

Follow the manual.
Always.
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TxAg
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Re: Oil change interval for low-mileage vehicles

Post by TxAg »

I've asked mechanics the same question and was told once per year. It has worked well for me.
inbox788
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Re: Oil change interval for low-mileage vehicles

Post by inbox788 »

Follow the owner manual. In your case, 10,000 miles or one year is sufficient, especially since you're not coming anywhere near 10,000 miles in a year.
Your vehicle is equipped with the
Intelligent Oil-Life Monitor system, which
displays a message in the information
display at the proper oil change interval.
This interval may be up to one year or
10000 miles (16000 kilometers).
http://www.fordservicecontent.com/Ford_ ... 2_2016.pdf
Should I change my oil if the change oil indicator light comes on before reaching one year or 20,000 miles?
Mobil 1™ Annual Protection motor oil has been tested and proven to protect for one full year or 20,000 miles between changes, whichever comes first. However, we recommend changing your oil based on your owner’s manual recommendation or when your change oil indicator light comes on:

If your vehicle is under a manufacturer’s warranty, follow the recommendation in the owner’s manual or oil life monitor.
If your vehicle is operated in severe service conditions: racing or commercial applications including taxis, limousines, etc.; frequent towing or hauling; extremely dusty or dirty conditions; or under excessive idling conditions.
https://mobiloil.com/en/faq/product-faqs

I'm also a synthetic convert, and I've pushed it beyond 10,000 at times (Mobil 1 and synthetic 20k filter) and over 1 year if low mileage, even up to 18 months or 24 months if less than 5000 miles total. One time I did notice the oil appeared to be thickening and I changed it for that reason. YMMV. BTW, if you're vehicle suffers from sludge problems, you may not want to push it to far. https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/car ... /index.htm

A bit technical, but nice explanation and demonstration:
https://youtu.be/tYkg0oDUXs8?t=330

If you're really into it, there's BobIsTheOilGuy.com, oil analysis and Amsoil you can look into that really deviates from the dealer recommendations.
lazydavid
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Re: Oil change interval for low-mileage vehicles

Post by lazydavid »

I would do it every six months with conventional, per the manual, or push it to annually with a good-quality synthetic. My father in law has a 2011 Nissan that he bought new that currently has 23k miles. I change his oil with a full synthetic every March.
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Smorgasbord
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Re: Oil change interval for low-mileage vehicles

Post by Smorgasbord »

Given the choice of following the instructions of the highly trained team of engineers that built your car, or the wrench monkey at your local garage, always go with the engineers. I change the oil in my famly's cars (full synthetic) every spring when the weather turns nice.
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Re: Oil change interval for low-mileage vehicles

Post by blaugranamd »

Smorgasbord wrote: Tue Sep 25, 2018 5:39 am Given the choice of following the instructions of the highly trained team of engineers that built your car, or the wrench monkey at your local garage, always go with the engineers. I change the oil in my famly's cars (full synthetic) every spring when the weather turns nice.
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Re: Oil change interval for low-mileage vehicles

Post by etherlinkage »

Oftentimes it is the filter that is the limiting factor. There are filters designed for longer service intervals. Bosch makes a good filter for longer service intervals, as does Mobil. Here's a link to the Bosch. As a side note, I haven't found a cheaper place to buy wiper blades, oil filters, or air filters.

https://www.rockauto.com/en/moreinfo.ph ... 0141&jsn=1
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Re: Oil change interval for low-mileage vehicles

Post by livesoft »

One of my cars has gone has long as 2 years without an oil change. Had that car over 14 years before I gave it away to my daughter. I think even every 6 months (unless the oil change is free) is probably overkill in a low mileage driven-at-least-once-a-week situation. You are not going to hurt your car unless the mechanic frequently changes the oil and causes iatrogenic problems.
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Fletch
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Re: Oil change interval for low-mileage vehicles

Post by Fletch »

vineviz wrote: Tue Sep 25, 2018 1:47 am Follow the manual.
Always.
+1 Especially if your vehicle is under warranty and keep the proof of maintenance.
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jehovasfitness
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Re: Oil change interval for low-mileage vehicles

Post by jehovasfitness »

Once a year regardless of miles driven
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bottlecap
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Re: Oil change interval for low-mileage vehicles

Post by bottlecap »

The manual is correct. Lightly used oil does not break down in three months.

You could push it more than 6months quite frankly. But just follow the manual.

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28fe6
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Re: Oil change interval for low-mileage vehicles

Post by 28fe6 »

My commuter gets less than 3000 miles per year. I change the oil every year, with whatever conventional oil that meets the SN spec is on sale. I use good filters though; my preference is Wix. The filter is part of your engine and if it fails your engine fails.
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Re: Oil change interval for low-mileage vehicles

Post by blastoff »

Definitely not every 3 mo.

Do manual rec time of 6mo at a min. (FYI: Manual may have to use cases with separate recommendations)

How you drive matters too. If a handful of 1 mile trips per day, I'd say stick close to 6 mo. Not a ton over.

If one 75 mile trip per week, stretching to 9mo or more probably no problem and not even close to bad (and likely a ton better for car than every 6 mo with a ton of short trips)

Filter can be limiting reagent for time, as previous person mentioned. Motorcraft filters aren't super fancy, but likely a lot better than whatever quicklube place.

If I were you, I'd go Ford quicklane if $30-$40 every 6-9 mo.
Last edited by blastoff on Tue Sep 25, 2018 10:16 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Oil change interval for low-mileage vehicles

Post by tennisplyr »

I do 5,000-7,000 miles and never had any issues.
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ZapRowsdower
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Re: Oil change interval for low-mileage vehicles

Post by ZapRowsdower »

I'm in the same boat as you, I'm a telecommuter and put about 4k per year on my vehicle. My service manual recommends once per year or every 10k with synthetic, bumping that up to once every 6 months or 5k if you have frequent short trips. A fair amount of my trips are short, so I stick with their recommendation and just do it every 6 months. Pretty cheap piece of mind in my opinion. It doesn't cost me very much to do it myself, once in the spring and once in the fall.

As others have said, this also could buy you some goodwill if you run into an unusual engine issue down the road, even out of warranty. The manufacturer will be quick to point out any deviation from the service manual recommendations before doing any goodwill work on your car.
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mmmodem
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Re: Oil change interval for low-mileage vehicles

Post by mmmodem »

My 2009 Ford Escape has a oil life monitor in the trip computer. I suggest you use that to determine when to do an oil change as that comes straight from the engineers that designed your vehicle. It will light up to tell you when you need a change.

The 3000 mile or 3 month oil change hasn't been relevant since the 80's with computer controlled engine design and tighter tolerance manufacturing. The 5000-7500 mile or 6 month oil change hasn't been relevant since the 2000's when most manufacturers recommend synthetic oil instead of conventional oil. Most manufacturers today recommend 7500-10000 miles or 1 year when running on synthetic oil which is what our Escape uses. Some vehicles like BMW's have even longer intervals.

Changing more often than recommended is not "cheap insurance" or "if you intend to keep your car a long time." It's a waste of a finite natural resource for zero benefit.
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Re: Oil change interval for low-mileage vehicles

Post by PFInterest »

catdude wrote: Tue Sep 25, 2018 1:20 am Hi Bogleheads,

I searched the archives and found that threads on this specific subject are five or six years old, so I thought I'd start a new thread. I have a 2017 Ford Escape, and I don't drive much. I put about 4000 miles a year on it. Most of that is from short trips, running errands around town. My mechanic says I should have the oil changed every three months (roughly 1300 - 1500 miles).

I decided to RTFM (Read The Fine Manual)... :P It says to change the oil every 5000 files or six months. I'm inclined to go with what the manual says, but if anyone thinks my mechanic is right about this, please let me know. Maybe because of all the short trips I take, I need to adhere to a shorter interval? What do y'all think?
6m is fine then (but probably excessive given such low mileage) or if using fully synthetic can do 1 year.

dont forget, your 4K miles while low, are the worst kind you can put on a car. so dont let it go past 1 year.
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fire5soon
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Re: Oil change interval for low-mileage vehicles

Post by fire5soon »

jehovasfitness wrote: Tue Sep 25, 2018 6:32 am Once a year regardless of miles driven
This is what I do with low mileage vehicles.
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jabberwockOG
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Re: Oil change interval for low-mileage vehicles

Post by jabberwockOG »

Mostly short trips on a car is pretty tough on the oil. But if you use a high quality full synthetic oil, something like Mobil 1 EP or Pennzoil Platinum, and also use a high quality synthetic material filter, something like Napa Platinum or Fram Ultra, you can easily go with a once a year oil change (if mileage is under 7.5k). btw - paying attention to yearly sales and rebates facilitates purchasing high end full syn oil for about $14 for a 5 quart jug (I order mine online with free shipping).
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Re: Oil change interval for low-mileage vehicles

Post by SquawkIdent »

mmmodem wrote: Tue Sep 25, 2018 7:14 am My 2009 Ford Escape has a oil life monitor in the trip computer. I suggest you use that to determine when to do an oil change as that comes straight from the engineers that designed your vehicle. It will light up to tell you when you need a change.

The 3000 mile or 3 month oil change hasn't been relevant since the 80's with computer controlled engine design and tighter tolerance manufacturing. The 5000-7500 mile or 6 month oil change hasn't been relevant since the 2000's when most manufacturers recommend synthetic oil instead of conventional oil. Most manufacturers today recommend 7500-10000 miles or 1 year when running on synthetic oil which is what our Escape uses. Some vehicles like BMW's have even longer intervals.

Changing more often than recommended is not "cheap insurance" or "if you intend to keep your car a long time." It's a waste of a finite natural resource for zero benefit.
Please correct me if I'm wrong but those oil life monitors are only suggestions in my book. They don't know what type of oil or filter you are using. Those numbers are based on mileage, trip length, temperature, etc. But they don't know whether I am putting conventional or synthetic oil in.
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Re: Oil change interval for low-mileage vehicles

Post by mrc »

SquawkIdent wrote: Tue Sep 25, 2018 7:37 am
mmmodem wrote: Tue Sep 25, 2018 7:14 am My 2009 Ford Escape has a oil life monitor in the trip computer. I suggest you use that to determine when to do an oil change as that comes straight from the engineers that designed your vehicle. It will light up to tell you when you need a change.

The 3000 mile or 3 month oil change hasn't been relevant since the 80's with computer controlled engine design and tighter tolerance manufacturing. The 5000-7500 mile or 6 month oil change hasn't been relevant since the 2000's when most manufacturers recommend synthetic oil instead of conventional oil. Most manufacturers today recommend 7500-10000 miles or 1 year when running on synthetic oil which is what our Escape uses. Some vehicles like BMW's have even longer intervals.

Changing more often than recommended is not "cheap insurance" or "if you intend to keep your car a long time." It's a waste of a finite natural resource for zero benefit.
Please correct me if I'm wrong but those oil life monitors are only suggestions in my book. They don't know what type of oil or filter you are using. Those numbers are based on mileage, trip length, temperature, etc. But they don't know whether I am putting conventional or synthetic oil in.
Oil life monitors: Should you trust them? link
First, what is an oil life monitoring system? Unlike the simple mileage/time dash displays of a few decades back, today’s oil life monitor (OLM) provides a recommendation based on a wide array of engine computer data. It takes into account distance, time, ambient and engine temperatures, number of starts and stops, trip durations, and calculated engine loads.
and
In the event of a lubrication-related failure on an engine requiring major repairs or complete replacement, all carmakers will require a maintenance-record review before authorizing repairs. If your vehicle’s maintenance history is spotty or is missing a few receipts, you may be in for an unpleasant surprise; the costs may not be covered.
So, another suggestion to go by the book (manual).
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Re: Oil change interval for low-mileage vehicles

Post by researcher »

catdude wrote: Tue Sep 25, 2018 1:20 am It says to change the oil every 5000 files or six months.
If the manual says to change the oil every six months, then you should change the oil every six months.

Ford spends huge sums of money on research & development, testing, quality assurance, ect.
They subject engines to all manner of testing over millions of miles.
They employ hundreds of engineers, specialists, subject matter experts, ect.

So why would you follow some anonymous internet poster's suggestion instead of the manufacturer's recommended maintenance schedule?
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Re: Oil change interval for low-mileage vehicles

Post by lazydavid »

SquawkIdent wrote: Tue Sep 25, 2018 7:37 am Please correct me if I'm wrong but those oil life monitors are only suggestions in my book. They don't know what type of oil or filter you are using. Those numbers are based on mileage, trip length, temperature, etc. But they don't know whether I am putting conventional or synthetic oil in.
You are mostly correct. They operate under the assumption that you are using an oil and filter combination that meets the manufacturer's requirements as stated in the owners manual or maintenance schedule, and then an algorithm adjusts the interval to some degree based on driving style and conditions. Assuming you actually are using an oil that meets those requirements, then the oil life monitor is a pretty darn good predictor of when the manufacturer thinks it should be changed.

For a vehicle like the Escape, this may result in an OCI recommendation that is earlier than absolutely necessary if the owner is using a good-quality synthetic vs. the conventional that Ford most likely recommends (I have not checked the service manual myself). For a BMW on the other hand, the assumption is that the oil being used is a full synthetic meeting the LL-04 spec. If it is not, the oil will most likely break down and lose its effectiveness long before the computer suggests a change.
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Re: Oil change interval for low-mileage vehicles

Post by Wellfleet »

mmmodem wrote: Tue Sep 25, 2018 7:14 am
The 5000-7500 mile or 6 month oil change hasn't been relevant since the 2000's when most manufacturers recommend synthetic oil instead of conventional oil. Most manufacturers today recommend 7500-10000 miles or 1 year when running on synthetic oil which is what our Escape uses. Some vehicles like BMW's have even longer intervals.

Changing more often than recommended is not "cheap insurance" or "if you intend to keep your car a long time." It's a waste of a finite natural resource for zero benefit.
I have 2 Toyotas (2012 and 2016) and both manuals recommend 5,000 mile intervals for frequent short trips. 10,000 mile intervals for longer trips.
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Re: Oil change interval for low-mileage vehicles

Post by blastoff »

Agree to follow manual while in warranty.

I don't dispute that Ford spends a lot on research. But if you changed your oil, then didn't drive for 6mo, would you change it? Ford says 6mo....

The UOAs also provide insight.

Sometimes the manufacturers that spend a lot on research say you should change it too little. Although it is rare, it is often associated with new engine designs.
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Re: Oil change interval for low-mileage vehicles

Post by TheOscarGuy »

catdude wrote: Tue Sep 25, 2018 1:20 am Hi Bogleheads,

I searched the archives and found that threads on this specific subject are five or six years old, so I thought I'd start a new thread. I have a 2017 Ford Escape, and I don't drive much. I put about 4000 miles a year on it. Most of that is from short trips, running errands around town. My mechanic says I should have the oil changed every three months (roughly 1300 - 1500 miles).

I decided to RTFM (Read The Fine Manual)... :P It says to change the oil every 5000 files or six months. I'm inclined to go with what the manual says, but if anyone thinks my mechanic is right about this, please let me know. Maybe because of all the short trips I take, I need to adhere to a shorter interval? What do y'all think?
If its synthetic that is too less frequency I think.
I would go shorter on the interval due to your usage (yes, using lesser, shorter trips). But I would probably go every 6 months in your case; that is what we do for my wife's car that doesn't see much mileage per year.
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goingup
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Re: Oil change interval for low-mileage vehicles

Post by goingup »

From the 2017 Ford Escape Owners Manual, page 441 http://www.fordservicecontent.com/Ford_ ... 2_2016.pdf

When to expect the message prompting you to change your oil

Interval
Vehicle use and example
7500-10000 miles (12000-16000 km)
Normal

Normal commuting with highway driving No, or moderate, load or towing
Flat to moderately hilly roads
No extended idling
5000-7499 miles (8000-11999 km)
Severe

Moderate to heavy load or towing Mountainous or off-road conditions Extended idling
Extended hot or cold operation
3000-4999 miles (4800-7999 km)
Extreme

Maximum load or towing Extreme hot or cold operation

I'd change it every 7500 miles if you have normal driving conditions.
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Re: Oil change interval for low-mileage vehicles

Post by researcher »

blastoff wrote: Tue Sep 25, 2018 8:22 am I don't dispute that Ford spends a lot on research. But if you changed your oil, then didn't drive for 6mo, would you change it? Ford says 6mo....
Here is the scenario we are discussing...
- I put about 4000 miles a year on it.
- Most of that is from short trips, running errands around town.
- Manual says to change the oil every 5000 files or six months.

Yes, I would change the oil every 6 months. I can't believe this has caused so much debate.
The simple/clear answer is... "follow the manufacturer's recommendation and change every 6 months."
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Re: Oil change interval for low-mileage vehicles

Post by blastoff »

researcher wrote: Tue Sep 25, 2018 8:58 am
blastoff wrote: Tue Sep 25, 2018 8:22 am I don't dispute that Ford spends a lot on research. But if you changed your oil, then didn't drive for 6mo, would you change it? Ford says 6mo....
Here is the scenario we are discussing...
- I put about 4000 miles a year on it.
- Most of that is from short trips, running errands around town.
- Manual says to change the oil every 5000 files or six months.

Yes, I would change the oil every 6 months. I can't believe this has caused so much debate.
The simple/clear answer is... "follow the manufacturer's recommendation and change every 6 months."
Believe it. People get excited about oil.

In any case, the OP got the correct answer. Don't do 3mo. 6mo is fine.


Manuals can say to never change ATF. And some recommend a different weight oil for the same exact engine sold in different countries with similar climates.
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goingup
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Re: Oil change interval for low-mileage vehicles

Post by goingup »

researcher wrote: Tue Sep 25, 2018 8:58 am
blastoff wrote: Tue Sep 25, 2018 8:22 am I don't dispute that Ford spends a lot on research. But if you changed your oil, then didn't drive for 6mo, would you change it? Ford says 6mo....
Here is the scenario we are discussing...
- I put about 4000 miles a year on it.
- Most of that is from short trips, running errands around town.
- Manual says to change the oil every 5000 files or six months.

Yes, I would change the oil every 6 months. I can't believe this has caused so much debate.
The simple/clear answer is... "follow the manufacturer's recommendation and change every 6 months."
The manual doesn't say that.
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Re: Oil change interval for low-mileage vehicles

Post by beastykato »

The defense that people use of just listening to the manufacturer is bogus. All their millions and blah blah blah spent on research.

Look up the engine you have. Now look up that very same engine being used in different parts of the world. They use different oil weights and often much thicker oil weights, even in colder climates.

Much of what you read in our manuals is due to CAFE regulations and lawyers and has very little to do with research that was actually done to benefit the longevity of the engine for the consumer.

To answer your question I'd change it every 6 months or 1 year depending on the mileage. In general I'd change a dino oil @5k and synthetics @ 7-10k. If you're not hitting the mileage limits at least do the 1 year change. Look it up for yourself to confirm, but I believe some of the additives do degrade over time even if the oil itself is still technically good.

If you really want to find out when to change it send your oil out for a oil analysis and find out how it's actually holding up.
Last edited by beastykato on Tue Sep 25, 2018 10:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Oil change interval for low-mileage vehicles

Post by beastykato »

SquawkIdent wrote: Tue Sep 25, 2018 7:37 am
Please correct me if I'm wrong but those oil life monitors are only suggestions in my book. They don't know what type of oil or filter you are using. Those numbers are based on mileage, trip length, temperature, etc. But they don't know whether I am putting conventional or synthetic oil in.
I'm pretty sure the oil life monitor simply measures the amount of fuel dilution in your oil. Fuel is not all slippy like oil and degrades the lubrication aspect of your oil. The monitor simply detects this and gives you a measurement. This is at least what I've read they measure in the past.

With that said, in regards to this thread and short trips, fuel dilution would occur at a much higher rate on short trips while the engine is dumping in fuel to warm up. So it is much hard on the engine than longer trips as previously mentioned.

EDIT: https://blog.amsoil.com/oil-life-monito ... d-to-know/

According that link they aren't even advanced enough to detect dilution, so what I read previously must have been incorrect.
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Re: Oil change interval for low-mileage vehicles

Post by FireFool »

There are a lot of variables that go into what a proper oil change interval (OCI) should be. How you drive is an important one. If your 4,000 miles are 4,000 1 mile local trips vs. 8 500 mile highway trips then the oil contamination from water vapor/sludge build up will be different (short trips are worse). Where you live and how you store your vehicle when not in use can also come into play. If you store your vehicle in a climate controlled garage there's less opportunities for condensation contaminating the oil then if you store it outside in a high humidity, snowy, rainy, large temperature variation environment. Because of these differences even the manufacturers recommendations are in effect just "rules of thumb". In most owners manuals you will find both a "normal" miles based OCI as well as a month time based one. If you're doing frequent short trips you will likely be guided to the time based one. Your mechanic's 3 month recommendation is MUCH earlier than any time based manufacture recommendation than I've ever seen - typically I've seen 6 month intervals, which is still a generalized rule of thumb recommendation from the manufacturer. If you want a more exact answer on an appropriate OCI you can send off samples of your oil to testing companies. If you want to see how varied both knowledgeable and non people can be on OCI's google "Bob is the oil guy" and you'll see all sorts of debates over OCI's, oil brands, synthetics vs. conventional oils, and filter manufacturers. You'll also get some references to the oil testing companies if you want to go that path. If I were you I would just pull out my owners manual and go by that.
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Re: Oil change interval for low-mileage vehicles

Post by Toons »

Low mileage
annual
:happy
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Re: Oil change interval for low-mileage vehicles

Post by neilpilot »

Oil testing, if done regularly, can give you important information on the health of your engine. However a single test isn't very useful, since you need to follow trending.

However, it makes absolutely no sense to pay for an oil test simply to justify reducing your oil change frequency. My cost of a quality synthetic DIY oil change is typically $35-$40, and an oil analysis is at a minimum $30.
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Re: Oil change interval for low-mileage vehicles

Post by Big Fish »

I'd recommend:

Once annually with full synthetic oil. You could also do once every two years with full synthetic if your goal is to minimize operating costs.

It's still important to check fluid levels and visually inspect the car more often than either of these intervals.

Synthetic is cheap and doesn't degrade like conventional in low temperatures (if car is sitting out in the winter). That way you won't be taking a risk by not changing the oil after winter. I don't think there's any reason to use conventional oil anyways .. but especially in this case.

Related:
- If you don't use the car very often consider a cheap but appropriate battery tender. Something line the 'battery tender junior' sold at Walmart.
- I wouldn't leave the car sitting in the same place for more than a month, good to drive around block and re-park so tires don't get flat spots.
- Same as above (and perhaps in lieu of battery tender): If not used for long periods of time consider once-monthly maintenance drives and allowing the car to get up to temperature and charge battery. Something like start, drive 10 miles, idle for 20 minutes back in the parking spot, check fluids/visually inspect, shut off.
- Consider flushing brake fluid every 3 years irrespective of mileage.

I did this stuff when watching a friend's car while he was out of the country for a long time. Worked out fine.
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TnGuy
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Re: Oil change interval for low-mileage vehicles

Post by TnGuy »

I change the oil in my Ford F-150 and my wife's Ford Edge every 7,500 miles w/ Pennzoil Platinum synthetic oil. I use a WIX oil filter (same as NAPA) in each, as well. I also take the opportunity to rotate the tires at this time.


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Frugal Al
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Re: Oil change interval for low-mileage vehicles

Post by Frugal Al »

I suspect your mechanic is recommending changing every few months because he's using conventional dino oil, not synthetic. We don't know if your 2017 Ford Escape is a turbo (Ford Ecoboost) or not--turbo??? Direct injected engines have their own set of issues. If it's a turbo model, I think less of your mechanic for recommending dino oil. If it was my vehicle, with many short trips, and it's turbo charged, I'd choose a full synthetic, SN Plus rated oil of the proper viscosity recommendation, 5w-20, along with a top tier filter and just follow your maintenance monitor.
123
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Re: Oil change interval for low-mileage vehicles

Post by 123 »

Follow the manufacturer's oil change intervel to maintain the warranty coverage. After warranty change once per year if low mileage use.
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aude
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Re: Oil change interval for low-mileage vehicles

Post by aude »

I see a couple of things missing here. With today's synthetic oils and the correct filter, you can substantially extend oil change intervals (OCI) IF you do two things. First, you need to check the oil level. Many engines will burn oil, and up to 1L per 1,000 miles is considered normal by the manufacturers. IF you go from a 5,000 mile to a 10,000+ mile OCI, you need to check and top off the oil. The second thing to do if you want to push the envelope is send used oil for analysis by Blackstone Labs (no affiliation) or a similar group. For $25 or so they can tell you how much life is left in your oil. With that data, I have been running 15,000 mile OCIs on an older BMW and a middle-aged Honda, since they indicated that at 13,000 miles each had a good margin of safety left (TBNs, lack of fuel dilution and lack of water). For the non-DIY crowd, the cost-effectiveness of this approach may vary, but as a DIYer I save time at the shop, money on unneeded oil, etc. with this regimen.

Edited to add that one of these vehicles is low-mileage, so 15k miles is three years / OCI, with no issues.
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Frugal Al
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Re: Oil change interval for low-mileage vehicles

Post by Frugal Al »

aude wrote: Tue Sep 25, 2018 10:54 amI see a couple of things missing here. With today's synthetic oils and the correct filter, you can substantially extend oil change intervals (OCI) IF you do two things.
Not if he wants to maintain warranty against oil/lubrication issues.
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FrugalInvestor
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Re: Oil change interval for low-mileage vehicles

Post by FrugalInvestor »

Follow the manufacturer's recommendation.

Most newer vehicles will calculate when the oil should be changed based upon actual driving conditions and display that recommendation on the instrument panel somewhere. Mine shows me % of oil life remaining. If yours has that, use it. It's more accurate than just 'X' number of miles because it takes actual driving conditions into account.

Also, use the oil the manufacturer recommends or better. Oil is the lifeblood of your vehicle and shouldn't be skimped on. For my current vehicle the manufacturer recommends petroleum based oil. I use the same weight synthetic (Mobil 1) along with a Mobil 1 filter and change it when the car tells me to (near 0% life remaining). The car can't tell I'm using a much better oil so this is very conservative. It's also convenient because I get the extra protection of the synthetic oil but can still use the vehicle's automatic calculation for oil change intervals.

Edit: FYI, the synthetic oil I use exceeds the manufacturer specification. Even if a specific oil is recommended a more general spec is almost always provided in the manual and as long as the oil used meets or exceeds that spec it maintains the vehicle warranty.
Last edited by FrugalInvestor on Tue Sep 25, 2018 11:23 am, edited 3 times in total.
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researcher
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Re: Oil change interval for low-mileage vehicles

Post by researcher »

beastykato wrote: Tue Sep 25, 2018 9:31 am The defense that people use of just listening to the manufacturer is bogus. All their millions and blah blah blah spent on research.
So you're suggesting people void their factory warranty by ignoring the manufacturer's suggested maintenance?

And instead they should use anonymous internet posters suggestions, which are better than what Ford says?
jharkin
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Re: Oil change interval for low-mileage vehicles

Post by jharkin »

+1000 to the chorus of recommendations to FOLLOW THE MANUAL.


Ford spent millions of dollars on thousands of college educated professionals engineering your car. You really thing the guy in blue coveralls on the corner knows better than they do?
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FrugalInvestor
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Re: Oil change interval for low-mileage vehicles

Post by FrugalInvestor »

jharkin wrote: Tue Sep 25, 2018 12:16 pm +1000 to the chorus of recommendations to FOLLOW THE MANUAL.


Ford spent millions of dollars on thousands of college educated professionals engineering your car. You really thing the guy in blue coveralls on the corner knows better than they do?
This applies to dealers too. Dealers are notorious for overselling maintenance, you can pretty much count on that. Go by the manual, not the dealer's recommendations.
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fsrph
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Re: Oil change interval for low-mileage vehicles

Post by fsrph »

TxAg wrote: Tue Sep 25, 2018 2:04 am I've asked mechanics the same question and was told once per year. It has worked well for me.
I have two cars and drive each one about 4500 miles a year. My independent repair shop also recommends once a year oil changes.

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munemaker
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Re: Oil change interval for low-mileage vehicles

Post by munemaker »

catdude wrote: Tue Sep 25, 2018 1:20 am I'm inclined to go with what the manual says
Following the owner's manual is the best practice, which amazingly a lot of Bolgeheads do not adhere to. For some reason, many people second guess the manufacturers' recommendations.

Your mechanic has a financial interest in more frequent oil changes. The manufacturer knows way more about the maintenance needs of your car.

The manual for both of our cars say with low mileage driving, oil should be change annually. One of ours is driven about 4,000 miles/year, and I change the oil once a year myself.
feh
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Re: Oil change interval for low-mileage vehicles

Post by feh »

TxAg wrote: Tue Sep 25, 2018 2:04 am I've asked mechanics the same question and was told once per year. It has worked well for me.
+1, for this specific situation.
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