Stop Changing Your Oil! | Edmunds.com

Edmunds.comEdmunds.com Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 10,237
edited May 2019 in General

Stop Changing Your Oil! | Edmunds.com

Outdated oil change advice is foisted on car owners to keep them coming back.

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Comments

  • jaudijaudi Member Posts: 1
    Thanks for this helpful article. One question though: What about length of time since last oil change? My 2015 Audi S5 supposedly needs to be serviced every 10,000 miles OR once per year, "whichever comes first". I'm nowhere near 10,000miles but it has been 1 year since my last service. Can I wait for 10,000miles or should I take it in? Thanks for the advice!!
  • texasestexases Member Posts: 10,056
    I'd follow the guidelines, do it once a year. The fact that you're not driving a lot is often tied to short trips, which are hard on oil (water condensation, gas condensation). That's why they have the 'or once a year' in the guidelines.
  • NiteowlNiteowl Member Posts: 1
    This guide is going to leave you astray and possible damage your car, yes you don't need to change SYNTHETIC oil every 3 thousand miles. For correct information don't go to sites like these, always read your manual. They designed it and they know what's best for it. Most are 7 thousand miles or 1 year which ever is first, never leave it to 15 unless your manual says to, which as far as i know none do.
  • AllanH1776AllanH1776 DowningtownMember Posts: 1
    The general public doesn't know how to,(for the most part) or want to check their engine oil. They put gas in it and drive. Give me an example of a vehicle that (across an entire engine platform ie Toyota 2.4l, Subaru 2.5l sohc etc.) burns zero oil, that you can trust to make it 10-15k miles without consuming itself dry. You can't because it doesn't exist. If people follow this awful advise, best case scenario, the car realizes what is happening and kills the engine before catastrophic failure. Worst case it starts to make a "funny noise" on the way home from work and the customer keeps driving until the car stops. We have a policy that uses the individual vehicle's oil consumption as a guide to what service interval we recommend. Unless people start paying attention to what is going on with their vehicles, I'd say 3-5k mile service intervals should be the norm for 85% of the people and vehicles on the road. I'm no reporter/journalist or whatever the person was that wrote the article. Just a subject matter expert. 25yrs in the automotive service industry. 7/10 engine failures I've seen are from lack of engine oil caused by consumption, or other oil related maladies. 2/10 lack of coolant, and the last 10 percent vary from lack of maintenance (timing belts), to driving through flood water, etc.
  • reality_bitesreality_bites Member Posts: 1
    Every engine is different. Even within the same family of engines the oil consumption differs to the point it needs to be addressed. Maybe not changed, but at the very least the level checked. The writer is obviously not informed of the "whole picture" and is clearly focusing only on the quality only of todays oils. It is the vehicle in which the focus needs spotlighted. Call any KIA dealer and ask them if the 2.4L has any oil system concerns. Call any Ford dealer and ask them if the 5.4L has any oil system concerns. Specifically with oil control solenoids in the cylinder heads failing due to dirty oil. "not oil that isn't still lubricating, but dirty or contaminated and blocking the oil passages!" Both of the examples given here could have had the failures likely non existent had there been shorter mileage or idle hours on the engine oil. I could happily show you what happens when you drive 15,000 mile on your oil. Simply pulling a valve cover to look at the condition and varnishing and even sometimes sludging is self evident. In the end, the investment put into todays vehicle purchase is not worth risking a $50 bill in comparison to the obvious downside of going too long in-between services. "services means service, checking and topping off oil as well as other fluids, tire pressures and other aspects of the visit". So I would likely rethink what you are telling people here. Most oil change locations do exactly that with every service. Stop focusing on only the oil quality and focus on the overall needs of a vehicles service schedule.
  • Vbp1Vbp1 Member Posts: 9
    Totally agree with posters here rebuffing the OP. 10-15 k interval is totally not realistic for most , if not all, cars.
    At very most , an acceptable interval should be 5k to 7k even for synthetic. Yes the oil it self can go the distance but the dirt it picks up along the way will make it unsafe and destructive to the engine.

  • RoverrayRoverray Member Posts: 1
    I completely agree with the earlier posts here. As an automotive service advisor and service manager with 20 years experience, I can tell you first hand that when you run your oil to 10-15k miles, you run the risk of serious engine damage. Yes, todays oils offer much more lubrosity than when we were kids, (I'm an 60's and 70's kid) but they still get just as dirty. If you pull off a valve cover from a 100k mile engine that has had 3000 mile oil changes on regular oil, or 5000 miles on synthetic oil, you'll see the valvetrain with light-to-medium brown staining but you'll see the entire valvetrain. Compare that with a car that has gone 7,000-10,000-15,000 miles between oil changes and you'll see progressively worse carbon and sludge buildup. Not to mention what that dirt is doing to the friction surfaces that you can't see. This dirt doesn't just affect wear surfaces, it also affects engine cooling. The extra buildup holds heat which is another enemy of an engine and will accelerate component failure as well as making the cooling system work that much harder. To the point about waste oil being "dumped", it costs a service facility much less money to recycle their oil than it does to just have it disposed of, so I disagree with the idea that only 59% of oil is being recycled. The last point I want to make is that the chemical composition of oil changes over time and with use. It picks up moisture and it also becomes more acidic which will eventually corrode internal engine components. Now, this isn't like leaving a car sitting in a field for decades but these components are under serious mechanical and thermal stresses and sometimes, a little bit goes a long way. So blindly saying that oils are better and the dealership is ripping you off is a very short, convenient answer and is, at best, uninformed, and at worst very misleading and can cost the vehicle owner much more money than a couple of extra oil changes per year.
  • AnonieMouseAnonieMouse Member Posts: 1
    edited April 2021
    For those who don't drive much, how often should they change their oil?

    "Conventional wisdom" says once or twice a year. I've read that over and over. But does that make sense with today's 100% synthetic oil? My 10-year-old vehicle has only 12,000 miles on it, so obviously I don't drive much. Do I really need to change my oil once or twice a year? I've heard many logical sounding reasons for doing this: Condensation causes moisture to get into the oil. Oil degrades when it's just sitting there. Short trips are extra hard on oil, so it needs to be changed more frequently.

    The trouble is, all of these are only opinions. I've never found one single comment backed up by actual evidence. So I decided to send my oil in for a chemical analysis. It's been about three years since I last changed it. According to common wisdom, my oil is likely high in moisture and metals caused by corrosion from not changing it more frequently.

    The results of the oil analysis were enlightening. Moisture content was barely detectable. There was nothing unusual suggesting any issues with the engine, or that the oil needed to be changed, even after three years.

    So as far as I'm concerned, conventional wisdom is about as useful as the opinions of Cliff Clavin, fictitious postal worker character on the old TV show Cheers.

    Every man has a right to his opinion, but no man has a right to be wrong in his facts.
    And that's the truth!
  • kyfdxkyfdx Moderator Posts: 207,889
    @AnonieMouse

    That's interesting. Of course, 1200 miles/year is extremely low miles.

    You are one in a million! ;)

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  • beafrankbeafrank Member Posts: 1
    I have used NEO Oil full synthetic in my BMWs and other vehicles for 35 years since the 80s. I prefer Hastings Filters but have used Mann and K&N. My oil intervals are 15,000 miles/one year with excellent results. Have gone to 20,000 occasionally..
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