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Old 06-28-2012, 03:34 PM   #1
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Angry My Oil Change Interval Debate Rant

Okay, here is my opinion on the whole oil change issue:

Despite what the manufactures tell you, and the internet, and magazines, etc. Get a good quality oil and change it often. Clean oil protects your engine. PERIOD.

If you are using a conventional oil or semi-synthetic why not use the age old 3000mi interval? The stuff is cheap! I hear all of this debate on the internet, in articles, etc. about using your oil longer, but we spend more on a tank of gas each week than on an oil change! Think about it. Why are people so desperate to extend their intervals when we go though gas like crazy (but that is okay [well, except for the price gouging])?

A freaking cartridge of printer ink costs more than an oil change!!!!

I use synthetic oil in everything. If the car has a decent oil capacity (like the Focus) for its engine size, use, and output then I change it every 5000mi and use a good quality filter (Motorcraft or Mobil-1). If the capacity is low (like my wife's Protege 5 at 3.7 quarts) I change it just like conventional oil (3000mi).

If it is a high performance vehicle that is driven often (like my old Lightning and MS3), I change the synthetic at 3000mi.

It is cheap insurance. We are not killing ourselves financially by doing so. Your car will last longer as well.

Even the "saving the environment" argument is silly...oil can be recycled!

I am not ranting at you, but just in general. I see this debate all the time, and I just don't understand it. I'm as poor as the next guy, but I have no problem spending money on oil. I see it as insurance against bigger repair bills down the road.


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Old 06-28-2012, 03:38 PM   #2
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But its was the quicky lube places that said to change it at 3k not the manufacture(s)

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Old 06-28-2012, 03:45 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ransil View Post
But its was the quicky lube places that said to change it at 3k not the manufacture(s)

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Maybe, but I remember that old adage back when shade-tree mechanics used to always change their own oil.

Most oil gets pretty dirty at 3000mi, some cars less [turbo cars for instance], and some more, but 3000mi is just an average (kind of a happy medium), that seemed to always work for most cases.

I am not saying you can't go longer, but why the obsession some people show with doing it? Like I said above, its cheap and think of your investment. You have paid huge bucks for that new high tech engine and it will take huge bucks to fix it if you have wear related repairs. Why not cheaply protect that investment instead of worrying about eeeking out a few extra miles before that oil change?

It is just my opinion of course, but I had to vent. Kind of came to a head today. Lol!
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Old 06-28-2012, 03:41 PM   #4
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I border on obsessive when it comes to oil. Mobil1 or Penzoil Platinum in everything, OEM filters for the warrantied cars, WIX for out-of-warranty. It took me YEARS to work up to the 5,000 mile interval. I kept my Mazdaspeed6 at 3000 because I was particularly hard on that car.

Because I don't have a life anymore and I have a short commute to work, my cars now most often require a change due to time vs. mileage. People think I'm crazy for dumping full-syn that has 2,000 miles on it..but it's what the owner's manual required in the Mazda and the Optima (6 months). The Focus will likely be the same. The Camaro is the only exception...it'll get oil changes when the computer says to, but since I'm running Mobil1 in it, I'm not concerned.

Since oil is being recycled these days, and (knock on wood) I remain gainfully employed, the cars are treated like the expensive machines they are. I just sleep better with fresh oil in the pans. I demand a lot from my cars, so they are treated very well with respect to maintenance.
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Old 06-28-2012, 03:47 PM   #5
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Well put! It took me a while to work up to that 5000 miles too. I only started that on my 2007 Edge because that 3.5 Duratec really kept the oil clean (wonderful engine).

Quote:
Originally Posted by cbdallas View Post
I border on obsessive when it comes to oil. Mobil1 or Penzoil Platinum in everything, OEM filters for the warrantied cars, WIX for out-of-warranty. It took me YEARS to work up to the 5,000 mile interval. I kept my Mazdaspeed6 at 3000 because I was particularly hard on that car.

Because I don't have a life anymore and I have a short commute to work, my cars now most often require a change due to time vs. mileage. People think I'm crazy for dumping full-syn that has 2,000 miles on it..but it's what the owner's manual required in the Mazda and the Optima (6 months). The Focus will likely be the same. The Camaro is the only exception...it'll get oil changes when the computer says to, but since I'm running Mobil1 in it, I'm not concerned.

Since oil is being recycled these days, and (knock on wood) I remain gainfully employed, the cars are treated like the expensive machines they are. I just sleep better with fresh oil in the pans. I demand a lot from my cars, so they are treated very well with respect to maintenance.
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Old 06-28-2012, 03:51 PM   #6
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3K OCIs are WAY overkill, regardless of what type of oil you're using these days. Those OCIs were mostly pushed by the oil companies themselves "back in the day".

You can do whatever you want, of course. I send a sample to Blackstone every once in a while and go by their recommendations based upon how the additive package is holding up with my use. The tested samples not only serve that use, but also to show the condition of the engine itself, so they're worth it to me.
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Old 06-28-2012, 03:55 PM   #7
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3,000 mile OCI on full synth is funny.
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Old 10-04-2013, 08:19 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bimmer-Bob View Post
3,000 mile OCI on full synth is funny.
For the record, most (not all) full synthetic oil manufacturers do not label, advertise, or suggest extended intervals. That's just another one of those things "people say". Now some do, Amsoil namely, but others don't. They intend for you to follow the manufacturers recommendation whether you use conventional or synthetic. Traditionally, you run synthetic for greater engine protection, for it's improved ability to 'cling' to parts to reduce the amount of un-lubed parts on startup after the car has not run for a few hours or days, etc. etc. While full synthetic does stay in grade longer, there's more than viscosity to oil.

The 3k mile OCI was pushed by quick-lube places and found it's way into all the old wives tales. It was also pushed in a time when engines were less tightly machined, and oil was far worse. (Remember finding tons of metal shavings in your oil and filter after the first couple of oil changed on a new car? That was just part of breaking it in! Now we barely have a break in).

That said; 3k mile OCI's won't hurt anything. They can only serve you better. Some of us put a LOT of miles on our cars and I can certainly understand it! Oil changes really are not that expensive. It amazes me sometimes that people are willing to put thousands of dollars on a body kit, but aren't willing to change the oil. If you run it hard, 3k miles, even with synthetic, isn't a bad idea. But I would definitely never exceed the manufacturers recommendation without a used oil analysis.

All that said; OCI's are a 'guesstimate' anyway based on how oil performs 'on average'. A lot of the big trucking companies use high grade synthetic oil and perform used oil analysis on the oil periodically. They sometimes go 50,000 miles between oil changes and yet will put a million miles on a motor before a rebuild. For them, it's all about money. Analysts have balanced the cost of oil changes coupled with the tremendous cost of engines or rebuilds (plus the cost of having the truck down for days/weeks). If those purely cost-driven folks think UOA's are the most cost-effective way to maintain their vehicles; then it's something we could consider on our cars too! UOA's are real simple. They'll give you a bunch of numbers you may or may not understand, but usually, it'll be along with "You better change it in the next 1,000 miles" or "You're good for another 5,000 miles easy! Send another sample in at 4,000 miles and we'll see how it's holding up". Then you're changing the oil only when it's actually needed.

BUT; UOA's are pricey when compared to the cost of changing oil in a small engine. When changing 15+ quarts in a big diesel of oil that costs $10 a quart? Sure; that's one thing. But it's a thought anyway. I do periodic UOA's to confirm my OCI's. I do 5,000 mile OCI's myself. I do occasional UOA's to A) Confirm that my OCI is still right for my car and my oil and my driving conditions, and B) having a lab examine your oil is a fantastic way to keep tabs on your engines condition.
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Old 10-04-2013, 09:23 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Romans5.8 View Post
For the record, most (not all) full synthetic oil manufacturers do not label, advertise, or suggest extended intervals. That's just another one of those things "people say". Now some do, Amsoil namely, but others don't. They intend for you to follow the manufacturers recommendation whether you use conventional or synthetic. Traditionally, you run synthetic for greater engine protection, for it's improved ability to 'cling' to parts to reduce the amount of un-lubed parts on startup after the car has not run for a few hours or days, etc. etc. While full synthetic does stay in grade longer, there's more than viscosity to oil.

The 3k mile OCI was pushed by quick-lube places and found it's way into all the old wives tales. It was also pushed in a time when engines were less tightly machined, and oil was far worse. (Remember finding tons of metal shavings in your oil and filter after the first couple of oil changed on a new car? That was just part of breaking it in! Now we barely have a break in).

That said; 3k mile OCI's won't hurt anything. They can only serve you better. Some of us put a LOT of miles on our cars and I can certainly understand it! Oil changes really are not that expensive. It amazes me sometimes that people are willing to put thousands of dollars on a body kit, but aren't willing to change the oil. If you run it hard, 3k miles, even with synthetic, isn't a bad idea. But I would definitely never exceed the manufacturers recommendation without a used oil analysis.

All that said; OCI's are a 'guesstimate' anyway based on how oil performs 'on average'. A lot of the big trucking companies use high grade synthetic oil and perform used oil analysis on the oil periodically. They sometimes go 50,000 miles between oil changes and yet will put a million miles on a motor before a rebuild. For them, it's all about money. Analysts have balanced the cost of oil changes coupled with the tremendous cost of engines or rebuilds (plus the cost of having the truck down for days/weeks). If those purely cost-driven folks think UOA's are the most cost-effective way to maintain their vehicles; then it's something we could consider on our cars too! UOA's are real simple. They'll give you a bunch of numbers you may or may not understand, but usually, it'll be along with "You better change it in the next 1,000 miles" or "You're good for another 5,000 miles easy! Send another sample in at 4,000 miles and we'll see how it's holding up". Then you're changing the oil only when it's actually needed.

BUT; UOA's are pricey when compared to the cost of changing oil in a small engine. When changing 15+ quarts in a big diesel of oil that costs $10 a quart? Sure; that's one thing. But it's a thought anyway. I do periodic UOA's to confirm my OCI's. I do 5,000 mile OCI's myself. I do occasional UOA's to A) Confirm that my OCI is still right for my car and my oil and my driving conditions, and B) having a lab examine your oil is a fantastic way to keep tabs on your engines condition.
I agree with most of what you say, but synthetics do allow a longer oil change interval than conventional oils.

For example, Toyota's current recommendation for oil change intervals is 5,000 miles if using conventional and 10,000 miles if using synthetic. Similarly, Mobil says its conventional oil (Mobil Super 5,000) is guaranteed for 5,000 miles while Mobil1 synthetic is good for 10,000. So there's more to synthetics than simply better protection.

Fwiw, I too use a full synthetic and change it every 5,000 miles. This may be overkill but in the scheme of car ownership costs it seems like really cheap insurance. And when the cost differential between conventional and synthetics is so modest, why not use a syn?

Of course if Ford allowed the the Focus intelligent oil life monitor to share its thinking with its owner (i.e. % oil life remaining) instead of withholding this information until panic time, maybe I'd follow that instead.
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Old 10-04-2013, 09:30 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dan50 View Post
I agree with most of what you say, but synthetics do allow a longer oil change interval than conventional oils.

For example, Toyota's current recommendation for oil change intervals is 5,000 miles if using conventional and 10,000 miles if using synthetic. Similarly, Mobil says its conventional oil (Mobil Super 5,000) is guaranteed for 5,000 miles while Mobil1 synthetic is good for 10,000. So there's more to synthetics than simply better protection.

Fwiw, I too use a full synthetic and change it every 5,000 miles. This may be overkill but in the scheme of car ownership costs it seems like really cheap insurance. And when the cost differential between conventional and synthetics is so modest, why not use a syn?

Of course if Ford allowed the the Focus intelligent oil life monitor to share its thinking with its owner (i.e. % oil life remaining) instead of withholding this information until panic time, maybe I'd follow that instead.
Well that's why I said not all. Some oil manufacturers say you can run longer, and some car manufacturers say you can run longer; but not ALL. It's not an 'automatic' thing. Synthetic oil is still oil mined from the ground just much better refined (It's a myth that synthetic oil is somehow 'made in a lab', if we had that technology we wouldn't be worrying about drilling for oil for fuel would we?). It's USUALLY coupled more and better additives, which is where the longer change intervals come from. But it's not 'always'. That's why it's important to check with the car manufacturer and/or the oil manufacturer to see if your combination is intended to have longer intervals or not.

Also not all synthetics are created equal. Marketing is gimmicky. When synthetic oil caught on, people started labeling lots of other things synthetic. Brake fluid, gear oil, etc. They didn't change anything about the product; they just slapped a 'synthetic' label on it. The manufacturers don't even agree on what synthetic is. One calls a Base III stock conventional while another calls it synthetic! Synthetic oil is a crazy and varied world!

That said; I wouldn't worry too much about what the ford oil life monitor says. It's still just guessing. It's not measuring the oils viscosity, nor is it determining it's remaining additives or it's effectiveness. It's just guessing how long you can go on an average oil (semi-syn likely since that's what they use at the dealer), based on RPM's, engine heat, speeds, shift points, etc. It's probably a better 'guesstimate' than a fixed OCI; but oil can break down slower or faster. That's why OCI's are usually 'well within' the usable life of oil, unless you're doing UOA's every time, then you want to make sure you're not overrunning your oil because it just happens to be that one time it got a little hotter or sheared out of grade a little quicker. So you change it for a 'worst case scenario' for your vehicle. Given the way you drive and how the car is operated, what is the shortest amount of time that oil should remain completely within spec every single time? That should be your OCI!
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