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How many miles using conventional oil before needing rebuild

Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
edited March 2014 in Toyota
Okay, I'll start this to get it going.

I'd say it depends on the car or engine first of all (not all cars are created equal).

Then it depends on how often you change the oil.

So if it's an engine known for rugged dependability, and you change the oil and filter with meticulous frequency, I think any good quality oil will give you the same results.

Realistically, you can expect about 200-225K out of a gasoline engine, especially a 5-6-or 8 cylinder that isn't turning so fast, and perhaps 150K-275K from a good strong diesel.

Beyond that, yes, a few engines will go (no, that Volvo didn't go a million miles on ONE engine), but I think you'll find that the best kept, most lovingly maintained engines can't really go much further than that no matter what oil you put in them.

Just my opinion, but as proof I invite you to go to a wrecking yard, and either examine the odometers on all undamaged cars or ask the yard to take a guessimate for you. I think you will rarely find one over 200K, that's what I'm betting.

I have personally pushed two engines past 200K. A 1988 Saab turbo 4 cylinder to 235K before the cylinder head cracked, and a Mercedes Benz diesel, which is now at 226K, running great but starting to use some oil.

I have heard many claims of fantastically high mileages during my rounds as an appraiser, but I have never, ever seen proof to back those claims up. The receipts always seem to be missing or the odometer "broke way back" or there's "a new speedo in there now so it won't show", etc. etc.

I think the highest verified mileage I've seen myself was 310K on a Mercedes diesel. I'm sure there are legitimately higher ones somewhere, but not many.


  • alcanalcan Member Posts: 2,550
    196,000 miles with no loss of compression or oil pressure so far on a '93 YamaTaurus with 3,000 mile oil changes.
  • jamesbass1jamesbass1 Member Posts: 75
    I have a 1995 Toyota 4Runner with 248,000 miles on the odometer (working). I have never broken down on the highway with this rig. Other than replacement of battery, tires, reg. tuneups, and oil changes there has been only one problem...the drive shaft...about $475.

    Yesterday, I went to the dealership and had the following work performed for maintenance purposes: "30K Major Tuneup" ($265), Top Engine Flush ($99), Timing Belt ($148), Fan Belts ($45), Engine Detail ($49..the first time). The mechanic inspected all seals, gaskets, etc. and everything is as tight as a drum. The vehicle doesn't leak a drop of oil, but I have noticed it using about half a quart between the regular 4000mi. oil changes.

    I also was informed that I have about 20% left on the front brake pads before they need changing, and that new front brake rotors would be needed as turning them would bring the rotors "below specs". Does anyone have any info about front brakes on a 1995 4Runner?

    BTW, I purchased this vehicle new in August 1995.
  • q45manq45man Member Posts: 416
    One of my personal 90 Q45 has 231k with as new compression and leakdown but I have been using Mobil 1 since 60k. Plus another Q customer has 232k on conventional oil [changed every 3-4k/90 days since new]
    We service at least 3 LS 400 [90-91] each with just over 300,000 miles using conventional oil plus around 20 LS400 with over 200,000 miles.Most of the LS 400 still have the same transmission as Toyota uses synthetic fluids which get changed every 30k.
    The early V8 has some fantastic reliability before the decontenting in 94/98.
  • opera_house_wkopera_house_wk Member Posts: 326
    A 92 with over 220K and a 97 with 111K with out a hint of any oil problems. Also have a 89 Jeep 4L with the upside down filter. This knocks like crazy when you start it up and has very low oil pressure. I attribute this to the oil filter placement. Oil will drain out of the filter past the mounting threads even if it has a good check valve. I've tried every filter! I think this is an indication of how important startup lubrication is. Who knows what the next generation of cars with SL oils (and reduced anti-wear additives)will be like. Note: these were all high mileage repo cars when purchased, so care was probably below average.
  • xwrayxwray Member Posts: 60
    There is a guy in Georgia that delivers papers. I'm running from memory so I might not get the numbers exact...his truck was a 99. He had his oil changed every 3-4 days (3000 miles) at a local lube shop using pennzoil. A local station here in houston picked up on the story because it was so hard to believe...they actually interviewed the guy and one of the Pennzoil lab managers here at their local facility. I believe they actually bought the truck and also bought the paper carrier a brand new Chevy. What was interesting was that the radio station had contacted Chevrolet several times to see if they wouldn't like to give the guy a new truck and capitalize on the fact that a chevy had gone a million miles with no breakdowns on the same engine. Oddly enough they weren't interested. This was aired about 3 months ago. I believe Pennzoil was going to tear the engine down and analyze it for wear and then put it back together for display in than facility.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I think we did the math already on that Chevy truck and we are very suspicious.

    RE: High miles engines that seem in good shape. There are other factors here that will intervene, even if your engine has good compression, etc. at 300K. This is metal fatigue, fastener failure, etc. There are all kinds of calamaties that are unforeseen by engineers, since they did not design the engine to go 300K (that is, they did not design it to INSURE it would do this).

    I've research this quite a bit, and while I don't have the sources in front of me, I remember only picking very credible and credentialed ones.

    I also recall that I averaged out all the predictions and the consensus was that the realistic optimum life expectancy of the AVERAGE auto engine was 3000 hours of use. This means everybody's engine, all makes, no matter how good or bad your maintenance and presuming the car died a natural death, not a collision, vandalism, etc.

    So you can't made a deduction from the exception (not saying any of you ARE making that deduction), any more than one can point at Jack LaLaine (did I spell that right?) and say that this is what 80 years old do all day, swim for miles towing a rowboat with their teeth!
  • dshepherd3dshepherd3 Member Posts: 194
    I believe on of the largest contributing factors is the frequency of starts in very cold climates,and number of miles each trip. My experience says high mileage engines in fairly new cars ie: 300 k in 5-7 years is quite possible in year round mild climates, of course this is with a well designed engine to start out with.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Maybe so. We do know that fire truck engines are worn out pretty quickly, probably well under 50K.
    Short trips, dead cold starts at high rpm. Ouch!
  • fwatsonfwatson Member Posts: 639
    Quote xwray: "There is a guy in Georgia that delivers papers. I'm running from memory so I might not get the numbers exact...his truck was a 99."

    Let's do some simple math here. If he could average 50 mph, it would take 20000 hours to go a million miles. You say the truck is a '99. Lets give it four years on the road to be generous (not possible).

    That breaks down to 5000 hours per year at 50 mph. To break it down further, that is 100 hours a week (he took a two week vacation) at 50mph, or 7 hours per day, 7 days per week at 50mph.

    Are you getting my drift?

    While all that sounds theoretically possible, How could anyone possible average 50mph for one third of his entire existence in a pickup truck?
  • q45manq45man Member Posts: 416
    People who drive LS400/Q high mileage per year are usually salesmen on an expense account or own a business. If they drive 30,000 miles per year they receive $9,500 to $15,000 per year for car use they usually get the oil changed every 3,000 miles or once per month along with all the other fluids frequently twice per year.
    The car makes them SERIOUS money so any down time is costly.
    Take it from someone who use to drive 25,000 miles in 6 months 6 months and do it all over again the next year....3 years in a row...still have average 26,600 mile average [per year] over past 5 years.

    Currently I am subjecting the car to serious abuse by cranking it and only driving it 12 miles and then back once per day....have to take a 2 hour trip each weekend to blow the crud out!
    The first 55k took 5 years, 45k in the next 2 years, then some serious driving.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Q, you gonna be an old man before you hit a million at that rate. Better step it up :)
  • oldharryoldharry Member Posts: 413
    I put ball joints in a '98 E-350 about three weeks ago for Robertson Express. The truck had 246,000 miles showing on the odometer. Dave Robertson has three vans, and two drivers besides himself. He replaces one van every two years barring accidents, and usually runs 300 to 350 thousand miles on them. The 246 K unit was the longest ever on the original ball joints. I usually get his vans at about 120 to 140 K and Geaseable MOOG ball joints last till replacement of the truck. These express delivery van people drive an obscene number of miles a year.

    I am about a hundred miles west of Chicago, and there are people that live around here for low priced housing and commute to the suburbs. I see cars over 200 K every week. One of the trade magazines a few years ago attributed longer engine life to * unleaded gas ! *. They said it produces less acid and other engine destroying contaminants than leaded gas did.

    With good maintenance and not a lot of short trips, I think most vehicles (except the cheapest econoboxes) can go 300 K. The highest I personally saw was 361 K on an 89 LeSabre 3800. The customer claimed it was the original engine and trans, it smoked a little.

  • andre1969andre1969 Member Posts: 25,554
    ...was 13,000 in about 3 months on an '86 Monte. My Mom gave it to me in mid-March, '98, with about 179K on it. About 3 months later, while delivering pizzas, and with 3 hot-bags in the car, I got t-boned in the parking lot leaving the store. At that point, the odometer read around 192K and change.

    That's the highest mileage than anyone in my immediate family has run a car that was purchased brand-new. We also have an '85 LeSabre with a 307 that has 155K on it, purchased new. I used to have a '79 Newport that had 248K on it when I got rid of it and, as far as I can tell, the original engine. And I currently have a '68 Dart with a 318 that was rebuilt around the 242K mark, but mainly because the guy who had it wanted more performance out of it. I bought it at 253K, and currently have about 338K on it.

    Harry, funny you'd mention unleaded gas, because my stepdad and I got into a conversation about just that tonite. They have a '99 Altima right now, with about 76,000 miles on it. My Mom said she wants to drive it until she retires, which is about 7 years and a few months away. We got into one of those classic "they don't build 'em like they used to" debates. I think some of the main reasons cars last so long today are that the roads are better, the fluids that go in them are better, the unleaded fuel is less harmful on them, and people on average just drive longer. Of course, automakers have also learned a few things along the way. Technology has allowed them to learn new ways of building them better...but also new ways of building them cheaper and cutting corners to save a buck or two.
  • xwrayxwray Member Posts: 60
    I just run a search on google...came up with this blurb:

    It was actually a 95 (well, I did said I was running from memory) He drove about 800 miles per day.

    You'll have to ask him why he was willing to put that much time on the road...

  • acuraowneracuraowner Member Posts: 57
    I wouldnt necessarily say 200k is nearing the end of life for a gasoline engines.

    About 1 1/2 years ago my sisters 1993 Honda Civic EX had around 270k miles on the original transmission and engine. My stepbrother has inherited it and it still runs to this day and still starts right up in sub zero temperatures. Just oil changes religiously at 3k miles.

    Mind you this is no low revving V8. It is a high winding I-4 hooked up to an automatic transmission. The "normal" acceleration shift points are between 4 and 5k rpm.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Yes, but at 270K the end of life could be in the next ten seconds, was my point. The 270K has taken its toll, in other words. These are not perpetual motion machines after all, they wear out sooner or later. Something's gonna give in that engine, whether it tests out externally or not.

    I think if you rack up the miles quickly that seems to help somehow, since you don't have the destructive element of TIME working against you as well.
  • acuraowneracuraowner Member Posts: 57
    Oh I was not questioning what you said Mr_Shiftright. I was just stating what my sister has experienced.

    I think it has alot to do with where you live also. See my sister lives out in the sticks where on the 8 mile drive into town there is one stopsign and their idea of traffic is when there are 2 people waiting at the stopsign.

    Even so all my family up north does not fall under the severe service in the manual they still follow 3k mile oil changes which is even less then the 3750 severe schedule.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    She could also be an easy driver. That helps a lot.
  • jc1973jc1973 Member Posts: 63
    i have to say one of the most reliable vehicles has to be the 1997 ford e350 van with a powerstroke diesil this van has 280000 miles and still has its origanal engine tranny ball joints exhaust only problem with it was a computer module but it has never broken down once and still runs great
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Hey, that's 1,500 miles a day every day for 5 years! Airport shuttle? That would require 64 mph for 24 hours a day for 1,825 continuous days = 280,320 miles.'s posssssible, but I'd like to hear more!
  • mrwhipple311mrwhipple311 Member Posts: 52
    280,000 divided by 4 yrs = 70k per yr. 70 divided by 52 = about 1340 miles per week divided by 5 is under 300 per day. More than I drive but not out of reach
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    What the hell did I do there? DOH....

    Actually, I DO need a new calculator! I'm trying it out now and getting all kinds of crazy numbers. I think I lost a decimal point for sure!

    Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!

    PLUNK! (Sound of AARP gift calculator going into basket).
  • mikemw1mikemw1 Member Posts: 15
    just sold 90 civic 238k great shape.
    i see hondas every day 250/350k
    one paper delivery guy had 650k, 1986 civic wagon
    someone took it out one morning.
  • mhall02mhall02 Member Posts: 38
    I had a '91 Dodge Shadow with a 2.2 4 cylinder that we sold two years ago with 183,000 miles, and that individual took it to 205,000 + miles before she sold it. When we owned it changed the oil every 3,000 miles and it did'nt seem to burn any oil when we sold it (never needed to add any between changes). My '78 Ford F-100 has 214,000 miles on it, original eingine (300 inline six)no rebuild, but burns about a quart of oil every 800-1000 miles (3-4 weeks of driving), but I still change it at 3,000 miles. Mainly short distance driving on this vehicle, however ocassionally a 300-400 mile trip, still runs good. Used Quaker State only in the Dodge and 99% of the time Castrol in the Ford.
  • hengheng Member Posts: 411
    Father-in-law bought it new. NYC. chevy inline 250. Motor never opened. City bus did it in. He used Castrol GTX exclusively.

    2nd NYC cab was a Chevy Caprice with a V-6. Consistent with the rise of cyber age in the '90s, the computer did it in at ~400k miles. The rings were going too.
  • vidtechvidtech Member Posts: 212
    you can get that mileage from any oil if it's changed at 3000 miles.
  • jc1973jc1973 Member Posts: 63
    yes that 97 ford e350 van was used as a delivery vanfor 4 years and now makes a 150 mile every night to deliver donuts it now has 286000 miles but the front end is starting to go it should its all origanal wish my 1990 ford van was as relible it has 100000 miles and its a pos but its not a diesil thats why
  • fedforesterfedforester Member Posts: 16
    Have a 91 Ford Ranger 3.0 six, standard trans with 253,000 on the clock with no problems. Oil and filter change (Ford stuff) every 3K to 5K and every sort of use imaginable. No sign of trouble so far, so I suspect that 300,000 is not unreasonable.
  • caesarslegioncaesarslegion Member Posts: 109
    Mine has 143,000 miles. I use what ever oil is on sale. Every 3,000 miles she gets a oil change. Im hoping for 200k but i wonder on those long late night drives if ill make it or not.
  • losangelesemtlosangelesemt Member Posts: 279
    Have a 94 Ford Ranger with the little 4 cylinder and it just hit 100,000 with 3 total oil changes !!! lol. Those Ranger engines boy, they sure take a tickin. BTW this wasn't on synthetic oil, and no other maintenace has ever been performed, kudos to Ford.
  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    mercy, must have needed a jackhammer to get what was left of the oil out of the engine. I know my 90 ranger 2.3L 4-popper got oil changes at 2500, due to the OHC got mobil-1 below 0 degrees, and with the exception of an oil pump and screen about 85,000 due to gasket material eroded from the pan, no issues at all until the rear main started leaking about 132,000. started leaking real good around 135,000, and traded it at that point. I got almost 150,000 out of a 76 buick 231-V8 with no touching the motor other than those frequent oil changes, and your usual external maintenance stuff.

    had a used 63 dodge coronet with the slant-6 that I bought used at 42,000, and the cylinders were gouged almost a quarter-inch by wear. oil filter was black as pavement, and the oil barely flowed... the maintenance was not up to spec. put a Mustang Rebuilders short block in there, and by the time the steering gear was shot and my sister got rid of that vehicle, it had 168,000 on the clock. do the maintenance, and the rest takes care of itself... as it will if you DON'T.
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